Welcome to Canada. Land of maple syrup, hockey, and a whole lotta snow. The Great White North does not mess around when it comes to snow sports, offering world-class terrain and some of the best après-ski scenes to match.
So, grab your toques and gather up your Toonies, because after a big day of shredding, what’s better than going out for a rip with your buds, eh?
Being in Banff is literally like walking around inside a postcard. The perfectly picturesque town is located in the heart of the Rockies, and acts as the hub for three different ski resorts – Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, and Mt Norquay.
With a large outdoor patio area and live bands on-stage throughout the season, Kokanee Kabin at Lake Louise is the perfect place to unclip for the day and kick back with a cold one. Shuttle buses run from Lake Louise back to Banff quite regularly after last chair, so you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy the slope side après vibes before heading back into town.
At Sunshine Village, it’s Mad Trappers Saloon Bar – an après-ski institution where the jugs of Canadian overfloweth and the Caesars are a-plenty. Refuel after your day with Trappers’ tasty bar food menu of burgers, nachos, poutine, or the local fave, deep fried pickles with chipotle mayo. Catch the last gondy down the mountain and head back into Banff to keep the après-party going into the early hours.
In town, The Elk and Oarsman is a lively sports bar where you can always catch the hockey and a good feed.
The Rose and Crown is Banff’s oldest pub, and one of the most popular for pre-drinks – especially on Wine Wednesdays with half price bottles of wine all night.
Keen to hit the d-floor? Head around the corner to The Devil’s Gap, or hit up Banff’s most famous nightclubs, Dancing Sasquatch or Hoodoos, both within an easy stumbling distance of each other.
It just wouldn’t be the ‘Ultimate Après-Ski Guide to Canada’ without our good bud, Whistler on the list. Where do we even begin? The après scene in Whistler is legendary, and the bar options seem almost endless. Prepare your livers, guys, ‘cos it’s about to get real…
For those who want to eject from their skis and immediately land in a bar, Longhorn Saloon & Grill at the base of Whistler Mountain is arguably the most popular après spot in town. Come 4pm, Longhorn will be jam-packed with revellers, so if you can’t snag a seat here, don’t worry – you’ve got a veritable bounty of bars to choose from at the base alone. Check out Garibaldi Lift Co. (or GLC as the locals call it), Black’s Pub, or Dubh Linn the classic Irish Pub.
If you head inside the Hilton, you’ll find the cosy Cinnamon Bear where local live band favourite, Red Chair, play on the reg, and every Tuesday from 3pm they hold their famous ‘Swedish Après Ski’ – sip on some Swedish glögg, chow down on some Swedish meatballs, and if you are actually a Swede, you get free entry PLUS a free t-shirt! Ja!
If your last run happens to land you in the Upper Village – never fear, Merlins is here! Satisfying all your post-piste cravings, Merlins is home to seriously the biggest mountain of nachos you’ve ever seen in your life, as well as a ridiculous ‘Jester’ Caesar cocktail with all the trimmings, including wings, onion rings AND bacon. Live music and DJs kick off the night right, and tabletop dancing is pretty much inevitable.
If you end up in Creekside, Dusty’s is a Whistler après staple. Ski right up to Dusty’s patio for some finger-lickin’ good BBQ, quench your hard-earned thirst with drink or two (or ten), and catch live bands well into the night.
For an après that never seems to end, kick on to one of Whistler’s many nightclubs where it’s not uncommon to see people on the dance floor still in their ski gear. Each club has its own “local’s night” when the party goes off, head to Moe Joe’s on Sundays, Tommy’s on Tuesdays, Bill’s on Wednesdays, and the king of all clubs, Garf’s on Thursdays.
As far as BC resorts go, Big White is like the more charming and humbler little cousin of Whistler. But what Big White lacks in quantity of après bars, it more than makes up for in quality!
On your last run of the day, stop in at the slope side Sessions Taphouse for a couple of bevvies on their sunny patio before heading back down to the village. If you find yourself at the base of the gondola, head into the Moose Lounge to warm up by the fire under the giant moose head, sipping on a selection of delicious hot cocktails.
When it comes to the ultimate après-ski spot in Big White, Snowshoe Sam’s is THE place to be! Frequently gracing the top of many ‘Best Ski Bars in Canada’ lists, Sam’s is a guaranteed good time with DJs, live music, games, great food and an all-round awesome pub atmosphere.
Sun Peaks is a resort that has certainly come of age over the last few years, and the après scene here epitomises Canada’s laidback, taken’er easy attitude.
While Sun Peaks has a much more chilled-out vibe than other resorts, it still offers some fun après options – there’s Masa’s at the base of the mountain for the obligatory home run drink stop.
Morrissey’s Public House is a great spot to play some pool over a few craft beers.
Hit up Bottom’s for happy hour and arguably the most lively après-ski in the resort, or if you’re feeling a little more classy, go to Mantle’s Lounge for cocktails and incredible food.
Blue Mountain is Ontario’s favourite place to hit the slopes in winter, and with great numbers of thirsty skiers and snowboarders after a hard day on the mountain, comes great après responsibility. Luckily, Blue’s après scene is one of the best in the east!
The longstanding local’s favourite, Jozo’s, is home to an awesome vibe with cheap jugs all afternoon and live music most nights. Another cornerstone of Blue’s après-ski is Rusty’s, where you can soak up the sun on the patio then move onto the dance floor after dark.
For a classic Irish pub atmosphere, head to MJ Byrne’s in the centre of the village for a pint or two.
Once you’re feeling full of liquid courage, you could try your hand in an epic ping-pong tournament at Smash.
Mont Tremblant certainly seems to embrace the classically Quebecois’ joie de vivre and puts on quite the soirée each day after last chair. First order of business? Warming up with a mulled wine on the sunny terrace at Le Shack.
No trip to Mont Tremblant is complete without an evening at the famous Le P’tit Caribou. Rated by Ski Canada Magazine and Forbes as one of the best bars in North America, Le P’tit Caribou comes alive after sunset and has that whole ‘ski-boots-on-til-midnight’ party vibe.
Après kick on into the night at Café d’Epoque, a wild nightclub that is known and loved for its themed parties, drink specials and dancing – mostly on the tabletops.
While they may not be the biggest or best après-ski scenes in Canada, both Fernie and Revelstoke in BC deserve some kind of kudos on this list!
After an epic pow day in Fernie, Griz Bar is a must. Powder just seems to bring out the best in people, which is probably why Griz Bar (and basically, Fernie in generally) is such a fun, happy-go-lucky place that lets the good times well and truly roll.
Revelstoke is infamous for its seriously steep, leg-burning, heart-pumping terrain. Once you’ve spent a day conquering the mountain, you definitely deserve to get a bit silly, and Revy’s Village Idiot Bar is just the place to do so. The Village Idiot is as Canadian as a Tim Horton’s double-double, and boasts a real rough-and-tumble, rollicking good time.
Ready to take on Canada’s après-ski scene? Oh for sure, bud!Last updated on Oct 10, 2019
Have you subscribed to our Newsletter or Podcast? Listen to us on Apple Podcast and Spotify and follow us on Facebook, Instagram Twitter and YouTube.
Rad Season's top 5 action sports, adventure, culture events and festivals in 2023
One thought on “The Ultimate Après-Ski Guide to Canada”
No article about Canadian apre-ski bars is complete without mentioning Rafters at Red Mountain.