Laughter and larger than life grins surround me, adding to the welcoming warmth of the room. Ski boots are undone. Jackets, mitts and toques hang on the backs of chairs. Pitchers of beer and a pile of nachos are passed around the table. In between the embellished stories and telling of jokes, plans for the night are made.
Whether you are on a ski holiday in Jasper or just out for the day to ski one of the Banff resorts, you’ll find plenty of après ski activities to keep the alpine spirit alive.
After Slopes, Soak
We never go skiing without packing our swimsuits. After a stellar day on slopes in Banff National Park, the promise of a soak in the thermal mineral waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs soothes the body and the soul. Booking accommodation with an outdoor pool or hot tub is also a must. I just love a winter pool party. The only thing I can’t decide is which is better – floating beneath softly falling snow or under a clear night sky with billions of twinkling stars?
Après Ski, Dining at its Peak
Traversing big powder works up an appetite. When we look for a lingering meal to marvel about our epic day in Banff-Lake Louise, we’ll usually head straight to Lake Louise Station for an Alberta AAA steak. But sometimes it’s a coin toss. Will it be the Maple Leaf Grill in Banff for juicy bison tenderloin? Or perhaps Crazyweed in Canmore for their famous Sticky Five Spice Spare Ribs? The decision in Jasper is just as difficult. Alberta bison and wild boar bacon meatloaf at Evil Dave’s, rack of lamb and tableside Caesar salad at The Moose’s Nook or fresh seafood at Fiddle River?
Most days we are looking to whet our appetite with easy pub food, cool drinks and room to exaggerate the day’s exploits. A stroll down main street Banff will find us many favourites. Wild Bill’s is a great saloon packed with friendly faces. Somehow we find energy to kick up our heels to the live music well into the night. Down the block and upstairs is the Banff Ave Brewing Company where I love trying their latest ale with an order of poutine – piping hot golden chips and fresh cheese curds, topped with a light gravy. If we’re spring skiing in Jasper, we’ll delay leaving Marmot Basin. Look for us on the Kokanee Glacier Deck soaking in the sun.
Pizza Party Family Fun
If the kids are with us, pizza is always on the menu. We love the traditional Neapolitan hand tossed pies at Famosa in Jasper. When we’re in Banff, we’ll head to Bear Street Tavern for their Wheeler Hut with wild forest mushrooms and truffle oil. Or we’ll drive to Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company in Canmore. The pizza is so healthy here – but don’t tell the kids or they’ll expect extra goodies at the Old Time Candy Shoppe.