After the slopes, now what?

There's a lot to see and do in Taos après ski

By Lynne Robinson
Posted 1/30/20

Après ski - that much-loved pastime, after a long day on the slopes when you finally get to relax and unwind with your friends -- is one of the perks of a ski vacation. The tradition itself, comes from a time-honored practice of ending a long, cold day on the mountain, with a hot drink, gathering with friends to stretch out before turning in for the night.

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After the slopes, now what?

There's a lot to see and do in Taos après ski

Posted

Après ski - that much-loved pastime, after a long day on the slopes when you finally get to relax and unwind with your friends -- is one of the perks of a ski vacation. The tradition itself, comes from a time-honored practice of ending a long, cold day on the mountain, with a hot drink, gathering with friends to stretch out before turning in for the night.

Relaxing with some drinks and light bites after a day on the hill has its roots in the refined old ski resorts in the Swiss and Austrian Alps, who brought their beloved tradition to the slopes of American ski resorts, including those in Taos County.

But what many who come to Taos Ski Valley to ski may not be aware of is that the town of Taos itself has a lively après-ski scene as well - one worth coming down the mountain for at day's end.

It's a well-known fact that the best way to find the most happening spots on a ski getaway (or any vacation, for that matter) is to simply follow the locals, and that is certainly true here, where best après ski parties are the ones with live music, and Taos offers live music every night at several locations.

Here are some suggestions for places in Taos to check out.

• The Burger Stand at the Ale House draws a hip young crowd with its burgers and brews, and live music. Locals love its Irish nights and open mic, known to attract some of the best musicians from near and far. House-brewed craft beers and widescreen TVs are part of the draw.

• The Adobe Bar at the historic Taos Inn is a longtime favorite happy hour destination for locals and visitors alike, who swear by its margaritas (try the Baby Buddha) and award-winning green chile stew.

• Across the street, the newest hot spot in town, The Lounge at the Rolling Still Distillery, has DJs spinning vinyl in the sexy laid-back, yet luxurious space where you can enjoy a selection of flatbreads and small plates with your craft cocktail made with the distillery's own infused spirits, including red and green chile vodkas.

• For a more gritty, down-home vibe, head across the plaza to the Alley Cantina on Teresina Lane, where you can dance to live music until the wee hours while you enjoy the libations of your choice with classic, American bar food, albeit with a Southwest accent.

• The Taos Mesa Brewing Tap Room is the other place to go if it's a cold beer you're after. Try their mind-boggling assortment of locally crafted beers on tap, while sharing a pizza with your friends in their hip, industrial modern space. Live music is always on their menu as well.

• If shooting back shots of Jäger or trying out the local brews isn't your scene, head to a luxury hotel lounge for crafty cocktails, dim lighting and comfy couches. But whether it's a favorite local band rocking out at the Alley or a solo pianist in the El Monte Sagrado Resort's Anaconda Bar, there's nothing like live music to set the stage for good après times.

Wherever you are, resist the urge to order your usual happy hour choice, and opt for the bar's specialty cocktail. It's the best way to get a taste of the local culture, and if you ask, there's no doubt a story behind the drink as well.

Après ski is all about connecting with friends after a great day on the slopes, while reliving the good moments and laughing about the mishaps you may have experienced while attempting a particularly challenging run, but mostly it is the time to let go, to recognize that the day on the slopes was good enough, no matter how good or bad your form; a time to enjoy good music, food and drinks along with stories and great company.

But wherever you choose to celebrate, make sure that you have a safe plan for getting home. Remember the altitude. Taos is almost as high as the resort and the attitude is going to affect how fast and hard the alcohol hits. Drink less and make sure you drink plenty of water.

If you're wondering what to wear on your foray into town, well, it's totally cool to wear your ski gear, but even though Taos is pretty relaxed and casual, you might find yourself surprised by the stylish locals. So think smart casual for our nightlife, but be sure to wear boots and shoes with decent tread. Icy sidewalks can be treacherous.

Finally, be friendly. Chat with the locals, don't be afraid to ask for their opinions on everything from the best drinks to order to where to go to enjoy the night's best live music. Chances are you'll head back down the mountain with plans for the following night as well.

Be sure to check out the weekly Tempo magazine in the Taos News for music and entertainment listings in Taos and Taos County. It's also online at taosnews.com.

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