A “ski vacation”, for most folks, is not merely the act of skiing while on vacation, but rather, a theraputic delve into the romantics of the “skiing lifestyle”. 

Consequently, it behooves the visiting skier to explore every aspect of the typical routine amongst the town’s locals.  Do so, and soon you will find that “Après Skiing” is just as important as skiing itself.  

Après is a post skiing-celebration of having a great day on the hill…or even a not so great day on the hill.

Après is a post skiing-celebration of having a great day on the hill…or even a not so great day on the hill.  Either way, the town of Ketchum and the Sun Valley Ski Resort have your bases covered for the opportunity to rest your legs, quench your thirst, quell your hunger, and compare notes with your fellow ski bums.  It is imperative to note, however, that a proper après session maintains a casual atmosphere, not to be burdened with formal attire.  Dance in your ski pants, and socialize in your sweatshirts.  This is your transitional period between playing on the mountain and having a fancy meal in town, and you don’t have time to go home and get all done up.  Just make sure you have a change of shoes—alcohol and ski boots never mix, and the ski patrol won’t be making any laps through the bar with a stretcher. Here are some of our favorite après ski in Ketchum. 


Grumpys Bar & Grill

Image courtesy of Grumpy’s Facebook Page

For a bit of local flavor, there are two staple venues that truly cater to the apres scene in Ketchum itself.  The first is Grumpy’s Bar and Grill, on Warm Springs Road. Cozy quarters, the timbered walls are lined with eclectic items singing praise to the history of the establishment. There is no mistaking that you are, indeed, in an iconic local bar when you’re at Grumpy’s. The prescription for tired legs here is a 32 oz schooner of ice-cold beer, paired well with shoe-string style french fries.  

If you’re looking for a little more space, Lefty’s Bar and Grill, on 6th Street, will suit you just right.  The friendly staff keeps the beer and wine flowing with zeal, and a lengthy list of fried appetizers will recover those calories you burned through on the hill. A pool table and ample seating sprawl throughout the room and a number of televisions will keep you up to speed with the scores of the day’s games.  


Apple bar

Image courtesy of Tom Owens

While getting into town is always a splendid endeavor, it’s hardly a necessity.  There are three main locales right at the base of the mountain that know how to do apres right, to say the least.  The first is Apple’s, a local favorite found at the base of the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain, on Picabo Street.  A staple of the community, the bar covers its walls with memorabilia paying homage to the local heroes and heroines of Sun Valley’s skiing legacy.  This is a place you should definitely check out on your visit to Ketchum.  Oh, and the tater-tots are awesome.

The Sun Valley Ski resort offers two main venues for your apres endeavors, right at the base of the mountain.  If you’re ending your day on the Warm Springs side of the mountain, the lodge at the base has a full bar and ample outdoor seating.  This is the place to be on warm, spring days, as you’ll get ample sun exposure well after the lifts have closed.  

The main event, however, is River Run Lodge, on the “town side” of Bald Mountain.  The Bar, often referred to as “Mahogany Ridge” is “the best run on the mountain”.  Ski right down to the base, walk in, pull off your boots, and revel in the energy of live music, extraordinary cocktails, and general merriment.  With abundant space, a large, wrap around bar, and exceptional appetizers, you’ll likely find that this feels like home after a long day on the hill.

And after all, feeling at home is pivotal to indulging in the “skiing lifestyle”.

For more apres ski, come down to the Lounge at Limelight Hotel. Get a seasonal beer, hot pizza, and relax by the fire– steps away from town (or your room).

About Brett Wilson