Cocktail Time

Aspen's Best Decks for Après Spring Skiing

End your ski day with the mountain version of a sunset cruise: a slopeside deck and a well-earned cocktail.

By Brook Sutton March 7, 2018 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2018 issue of Aspen Sojourner


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Nothing says spring skiing like a perfect patio party. 

Aspen Mountain

Vibe: Classic Aspen; the chalet-style restaurant that looks toward Bell Mountain has been rocking it since the mid-1960s.
Order: A spiked coffee to go with a serving of the renowned apple strudel—with whipped cream, of course.
Location: Bottom of Tourtelotte Park

Vibe: Euro inspired, with lounge chairs (Adirondack style, in this case), an awesome vista of the Elk Mountains, and a relaxed ambience
Order: Are We There Yet? IPA from IdylWilde Brewing
Location: Top of the mountain, adjacent to the gondola

Ajax Tavern
Vibe: See and be seen, preferably in Bogner
Order: Colorado-made Glider cider, because it pairs so well with the Tavern’s much-touted truffle fries
Location: Base of the gondola

Vibe: Casual (but not too casual—this is prime real estate at the base of Aspen Mountain, after all); kids and dogs welcome
Order: Espresso martini (double espresso, chocolate vodka, and Bailey’s over ice)
Location: Base of the gondola


Gwyn’s High Alpine
Vibe: Last winter’s renovation included larger decks for more sun-soaked, high-mountain lounging until the patrol’s last sweep.
Order: The Fancy Ryan (Champagne, Grey Goose vodka, blood orange San Pellegrino)
Location: Top of the Alpine Springs lift

Elk Camp
Vibe: Everyone’s here—thrill-seekers pausing between laps on the new Breathtaker Mountain Coaster just steps away, imbibers celebrating a successful first day on skis at the adjacent learning center, families sipping hot chocolate with gobs of whipped cream before last run.
Order: hot chocolate, natch
Location: Top of the Elk Camp gondola

Lynn Britt Cabin
Vibe: The music’s pumping and the drinks are flowing outside this rustic log cabin at LBC Après, which runs Friday to Sunday afternoons through March 31 (with a free pig roast the final day).
Order: Woody Creek Distillers’ Gin and Juice cocktail
Location: Mid-mountain, near the Spider Sabich race area

Base Camp Bar and Grill
Vibe: Yin yang—bust a move to the DJ upstairs, or kick back with the family around the fire pit downstairs.
Order: Raspberry mojito
Location: Base Village

Venga Venga
Vibe: Slopeside fiesta, with fire pits, live music daily, and more than 75 tequilas at the ready
Order: Prickly pear margarita with house-infused tequila
Location: Snowmass Mall


Vibe: Mellow—many deck dwellers strip skins off skis and catch their breath after hiking up the mountain—but breathtakingly scenic (those are the Maroon Bells you’re looking at)
Order: Freshly pressed apple/carrot/ginger juice after a skin up from Tiehack
Location: Top of the Summit Express lift

Home Team BBQ
Vibe: Beach at the base of Buttermilk, with cornhole and live music some Saturdays
Order: The signature Frozen Game Changer (two kinds of rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, dash of fresh nutmeg)
Location: At the Inn at Aspen

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Two words: Cloud Nine. 

Aspen Highlands

Cloud Nine
Vibe: Thumping hip-hop, tabletop dancing, bubbly flying—not for the meek
Order: Champagne, duh—just drink it, don’t spray it.
Location: Near the top of the Cloud Nine lift 

Highlands Ale House
Vibe: Chill and unaffected, as locals galore commune over shared pitchers and tales of hiking and skiing the Bowl
Order: Locally brewed Independence Pass Ale on tap or one of the 63 other beers available
Location: Base of the mountain 

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