Photo credit: Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
The 7 Best Ski-to-Pub Pairings in the U.S.
January 29, 2019
The only thing better than spending a day ripping through waist-high powder? Après beers, burgers, and other tasty pub grub that refuels like nothing else after a day on skis. Whether you’re a cross-country enthusiast or a downhill junkie, a post-adventure pint-and-nosh is certainly in order, since any kind of skiing burns mega calories. We put together this list of seven recommended spots at some of the country’s most beloved ski areas that are hands-down winners to kick back, dig in, and raise a glass.
1. The Tetons in Wyoming & Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
Jackson Hole is a must-visit destination on its own: a hybrid of Western culture, thriving arts scene, and outdoor playground framed by the jagged silhouette of the Tetons. Add in world-class skiing, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to pack your bags for a winter trip to Wyoming. Known for its challenging terrain, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boasts an aerial tram with killer views of the Tetons and plenty of options for beginner and intermediate skiers. The most harcore of the downhill bunch can test their mettle on the lengendary Corbet’s Couloir—a knee-buckling, expert-only run that starts with a sphincter-puckering 10- to 20-foot drop. For a mellower outing, there are plenty of groomers and blues, too.
But no trip to Jackson Hole is complete without bellying up on a saddle bar stool at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. This beloved watering hole was the first in Wyoming to get a liquor license back after Prohibition was repealed, and thirsty locals and visitors have kept it buzzing ever since. We’ll drink to that.
2. Heli-Skiing Tordrillo Range in Alaska & Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
Accessible only by a 40-minute plane ride from Anchorage, heli-skiing with Tordrillo Mountain Lodge offers more than one million acres—that’s a lot, even in Alaska—of skiable terrain. Whether you’re craving steep, narrow chutes, epic drops off summits, or waist-deep powder turns, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy here.
After spending a day in the pristine backcountry, the lodge is a well-deserved spot for savoring some downtime over incredible food like fresh fish and crab in a place that combines backcountry adventures with world-class amenities. You can’t plan a trip long enough to enjoy everything this terrain has to offer, so do your research beforehand to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
3. Backcountry Touring Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah & Porcupine Pub and Grille
Earn your turns in Utah’s Big Cottonwood Canyon, which is home to some of the best backcountry tours in the state—and the West, for that matter. While there are several options for in-bounds skiing, touring up here is on a whole other level. Test your lung capacity by skinning up Bonkers, where you can get in more than 100 sweeping turns if you plan your descent right. If you’re looking for something a bit tamer, check out Beartrap Fork for a lower angle, treed-in experience.
After a long day of skinning and sliding, hit up the Porcupine Pub and Grille for a local pint (there’s a dizzying array on draft) or a mug of hot chocolate the size of your face, accompanied by a platter of nachos big enough to feed the whole table. Or, you know, just you.
4. Bear Mountain, California & Big Bear Mountain Brewing
Nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains just a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, Bear Mountain is one of SoCal’s most popular year-round playgrounds—but it really hits its stride during ski season. With 748 permitted acres, halfpipes, and a tube park, Big Bear guarantees winter fun for everyone, whether you’re an adrenaline-craving pow chaser or a more mellow cruiser who loves to kick back on the groomers.
When the lifts shut down, everyone gathers at Big Bear Mountain Brewing to knock back a few pints in this locals’ favorite watering hole.
5. Whiteface Mountain, New York & R.F. McDougall's Pub
While the Western ski destinations seem to get all the love, the East deserves some props, too: Especially New York’s Whiteface Mountain. This beloved spot in the Lake Placid region delivers with more than 4,000 feet in elevation at its peak, 87 trails, and a respectable 3,430 feet of vertical drop—the biggest of any resort east of the Rockies. If snow cover is adequate, experienced skiers can explore the Slides, which are double-black diamond runs that’ll offer up a delicious taste of the rugged backcountry.
After you’ve maxed yourself out on the slopes, it’s time for brews and comfort food at R.F. McDougall’s Pub in the Hungry Trout Resort, just a few minutes from Whiteface Mountain. Try the Adirondack burger or the chipotle mac and cheese. (Or both. You’ve earned them.)
6. Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Montana & Bridger Brewing
Bridger Bowl near downtown Bozeman is known for epic powder days and steep ridge hikes out of bounds. Offering up world-class skiing with zero attitude, Bridger gets an average of 350 inches of snow per year, and is famous for the light, fluffy “cold smoke.” The terrain is varied, with four open bowls, numerous chutes and gullies, and glade terrain.
After plowing through the powder all day, head into town for all the pizza and local brews you can handle at Bridger Brewing in Bozeman. Regulars will tell you the bison and pepperoni pie is the best in the state, and if beer isn’t your thing, try a Big Mike’s Root Beer instead. Time it right and you can catch live music to round out a killer day on, literally, a great note.
7. Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes, California & The Clocktower Cellar
Mammoth Mountain certainly lives up to its name, with 3,500 acres of skiable terrain that span 150 named trails and 11 terrain parks, all at 11,053 feet—the highest chairlift-accessible ski resort in Cali. The superlatives don’t end there, with average snowfall of 400 inches that allows one of the longest ski seasons in the country, not to mention one of the sunniest, with some 300 days of cheery sunshine. No surprise, then, why Mammoth is such a popular spot for so many winter sports lovers from SoCal and beyond.
And of course, the party doesn’t stop once the lift. Once you’ve snapped out of your skis or board for the day, raise a glass with the locals at the Clocktower Cellar, located just across from the Village Gondola underneath the Alpenhof Lodge’s clock tower (where else?). This cozy subterranean space offers more than two dozen beers on tap, not to mention some 160 whiskeys—which means you’ll have more than enough reasons to come back again (and again).
Written by Matcha for Knockaround.