Hard to reach but this will be the most earned drink you will find. The Refuge L'Espace is atop the glacier of Les Diablerets, around 3000m. Clad in sheet aluminium to stormproof it, it is equipped with wood burner, well stocked bar, food such as Baked Thom cheese with basil leaves and truffle oil, and barbecues built into tables over which to braise your plates of raw goat and vegetables. Leftovers are fed to a resident Lammergeir - its enormous - a 3m wingspan cruising low over the terrace is truly spectacular. Also known to fly around here, though a little smaller, are humans in wingsuits. Then ski down powder fields to the Combe d'Audon for over a kilometre of vertical drop red run to make any thighs burn. Oh, and it's open already for the winter season!
Between Aigle and Gstaad. Then up the cablecars from Pillon.
The last stop on the way back from the Klein Matterhorn, and a great place to be after a hard day on the slopes. There's always a fantastic atmosphere, with live music, and a lively crowd, and a great mix of ages and nationalities. Skiing in is relatively easy, but skiing out again may prove more tricky, especially if you've sampled one of their skis laden with toffee vodka shots!
On Run 50 from Klein Matterhorn
tel. 027 966 35 10
If you like to drink, sing and dance on your chairs at the end of a day's skiing, find your way to the bottom of the World Cup Piste to kick start the night. It can get busy so make your way down early to bag a table, hang your coat and get ready for the music to begin. Don't worry if you don't know the tunes, you'll be singing along in no time! There's good food and beer and if you've had a few too many, when you leave take the slide. Great fun all round!
It was one of the best moments of the week the first time I was able to ski all the way down without stopping from our practice slope to the bar/restaurant that had adopted us. We went skiing for the very first time in January this year and it didn’t get off to the best of starts thanks to the ineptitude of our tour operator (Crystal). We were dumped on the side of a snowy road and the very friendly staff at Le Brasero fed and watered us and stored our cases while we waited and waited and waited for the rep. The Crystal service got worse all week, but Le Brasero got better and better: it has great beer, vin chaud and hot chocolate; happy hours, sky sports, decent food and excellent low key live music which we even managed to get involved with (one of our party helped out on guitar). The atmosphere was great and we happily stopped there every evening to refuel with a jug (or two) of Hoegarden. And we could ski out (wobbling for a different reason!) home to our apartment too.
On a bright sunny day after a fresh fall of powder you cannot beat the Haeuslbar on Kaprun's Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. Sun loungers fill the flat, wide plateau surrounding the circular bar area - which becomes one of winter sports' finest sun traps from midday onwards. But even better is the fact that any ability of skier can easily access the bar and enjoy watching the display of skills (or not, as the case may be) of people attempting the off-piste "Langweid" run on the lower slopes of the Kitzsteinhorn area. Grab a glass of Weizen (wheat-beer), recline and be entertained.
Top Station of Gletscherjet 1 gondola / base of Langweidbahn chairlift, Kitzsteinhorn Glacier.
Google map: tinyurl.com/y8vgdvw
Fjall Garden is an amazing bar just 500m above the main cable car station in Are. It's done out as a hunting lodge, with open fires and a sundeck with reindeer skins on the south terrace. It has amazing apres-ski with live bands from 4pm. Best of all, you can get up to it from town on the little funicular railway, or ski down from the chairlifts. It's only a 500m slide if you have to ski back to the main village well refreshed and wobbly of leg.
Top of the funicular from beside the Are ski shop.
Google map: tinyurl.com/y88sv4k
Take the Gornegrat ski train up fom Zermatt (sit on the right for the best views on the way up) and head over to the right towards the village of Findeln. The village is made up of traditionally built huts and has several small restaurants, only accessible on foot or skis which are great for a lunchtime ski bar stop. My favourite is El Paradies which serves excellent, reasonably priced (cheaper than in town) food and drink and has I think the best view of the Matterhorn in the whole of the Zermatt area.
Findeln village, accessible by ski lifts form Zermatt (can get there on foot) The village and restaurant are signposted on the piste.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yjcbk6v
At this bar you can not only ski-in, but here you can also hit the dance floor still wearing your ski-shoes. Hotel Laanihovi, in the Finnish ski resort of Saariselka, lies 160 miles north of the Arctic Circle and is famous for its afternoon ski boot dancing. Most people here are Nordic skiers whose boots are somewhat more flexible than those of the downhill skiers, but I have also seen people sliding across the dance floor in their clunky slalom boots. This rather amusing event takes place every afternoon starting at 2pm and, during peak season from February to April, there is a live band to get everyone into the swing. A couple of encouraging local drinks before dancing might be in order in here though, as by dancing they don’t mean some half hearted disco movements on the dance floor but proper ballroom dancing with waltzes, tangos and fox-trots.
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