Racing down freshly covered pistes, spending quality time with family and friends, and getting great exercise are just some of the reasons to go on a skiing holiday this winter. But what is there to do when you’re not skiing? Lifts tend to close around 4pm, so if you’re a first-time skier, you may be wondering how you can make the most of your time off the slopes.
Luckily, some of the best fun can be had at ‘après-ski’, and we’re here to tell you what there is to do, where to go, and some of our top tips. Read on to find out more…
What is Après-Ski?
Quite literally, après-ski is the French phrase meaning ‘after ski’. It refers to the more social time spent doing non-skiing activities in the mountains – of which there are plenty!
Different resorts offer different kinds of après-ski, depending on the typical type of guest that visits. Areas such as the Aravis appeal to families keen to try mountain-based activities, whereas somewhere like the 3 Valleys appeals to groups of friends who are keen to explore the lively bar scene.
Take a look at what you can get up to after you’re finished skiing for the day…
Here are our top picks of some of the best après-ski bars in the French Alps…
The Rond Point, Méribel
Lovingly known to locals and seasonnaires as the ‘Ronnie’, this is a must-visit spot for après-ski in France. Live music, great views, and a buzzing atmosphere are guaranteed. See their website here.
La Folie Douce, (see resorts below)
La Folie Douce, established in 1980, has a longstanding reputation for attracting fun-seekers from all over the world. Stop off and enjoy lunch with a stunning mountain backdrop, or head there late afternoon for table-top dancing, champagne showers, and live DJ sets.
You’ll be able to enjoy La Folie Douce from our following resorts…
Bar 360, Val Thorens
Bar 360 is another great option when visiting Val Thorens, with a chilled atmosphere that transforms into ‘Europe’s highest party’ once you’re done for the day!
Chalet des Praz, La Clusaz
Those who enjoy La Folie Douce, will no doubt have a great time at Chalet des Praz in La Clusaz. Choose from a menu of pizza and alpine food, accompanied by a cocktail and live DJ sets from 11am to 5pm. As the day goes on, the atmosphere becomes more lively and it’s a great spot if you’re looking for a party!
Happy Hours, Morzine/ Avoriaz
Despite Avoriaz being one of the latest spots to open a new branch of a famous La Folie Douce, we can’t forget to mention Happy Hours – the small but mighty hidden gem located in Ardent.
Those looking for a bit more of a local spot with slightly cheaper drinks should pay them a visit. Just make sure you’re aware of the bus times so you can get back to Morzine or Avoriaz before all the bubble lifts close.
Moo Bar, Chamonix
Run by three Swedish owners, Moo Bar offers a great selection of dishes by day and by night, as well as a casual atmosphere to enjoy a few drinks with friends. Although not as party-centric as our previously mentioned bars, this is a great option if you’re looking for a more relaxed après-ski experience.
Dog sledding is a must-try family activity in the French Alps. If you’re a dog lover, then there’s even more reason to explore your chosen resort being towed by a specially bred working dog. You can expect this activity to cost between 50-100€ per person, depending on your age and chosen length of tour.
Night sledging is a great option for fun-seeking families who want to make the most of their time once they’ve finished skiing. Depending on the resort, there may be an age restriction, and prices will vary. Ask your local tourist office for more information.
If you finish your day on the slopes but still want more, then exploring the pistes on a skidoo is a brilliant way to get your mountain fix. Again, there may be stricter age restrictions for this activity.
Most ski resorts in France will have a local ice skating rink, which is an easy, low-cost activity for families with children of all ages. Bear in mind that peak weeks will be busier, but usually pre-booking shouldn’t be necessary.
Activities in your chalet
At Home Spa
Staying in a self-catered chalet with great facilities means you don’t have to do as much planning when it comes to your non-ski time. If your property has a hot-tub, sauna, or steam room, you’ll be able to create your own spa experience from the comfort of your home!
Book a property with a hot tub
Cool for Kids
If you’re travelling with kids, consider booking a child-friendly property, which have been designed with younger guests in mind. Our Cool for Kids Extra properties include facilities such as trampolines, game consoles or table tennis equipment, depending on the chalet, so they’re perfect for keeping the whole family entertained!
Cheese and Wine Night
All of our partner properties come equipped with both a Raclette and Fondue machine, so if you fancy a night-in, you can sample the local cheese without leaving your doorstep! There are many wine-tasting services available in resorts, such as Le Verre Gourmand, who will come to your chalet and run a tasting course with your group.
If you fancy an evening-off cooking but don’t fancy going out, then a private chef may be a good option for you. One of our recommended partners EJP Chef Privé can offer you a restaurant experience from the comfort of your own dining table!
A holiday isn’t a holiday without a bit of retail therapy and souvenir shopping! The French Alps have some great independent shops where you can find ski wear, fashion, local foods, gifts, and more.
To find out more about the best places to shop per resort, browse our destinations here, select a resort and then click on the button to view the destination guide at the top of the page.
Our Top Tips
- Always have spare layers, as well as a hat, gloves and sunglasses
- Don’t drink too much
- Always make sure you know how to get back to your accomodation
- Ensure you know what time buses and lifts stop operating if you are relying on one
- If you have a ski / snowboard lock then make sure you use it when leaving your kit unattended
If you want to discover more of what’s on offer in the resort you’re visiting, head to the destinations section of our blog, we have articles about top activities to try in both winter and summer, to help you plan your holiday itinerary.