10 Restaurants for Après-Ski Wine Bliss

After hitting the slopes, chill out with a glass at these restaurants

10 Restaurants for Après-Ski Wine Bliss
In the skiing mecca of Aspen, warm up with the world-class wine program at the Little Nell. (The Little Nell)
Feb 9, 2022

Updated: Feb. 9, 2022

Ski season is in full swing, and whether you favor Nordic or Alpine, an essential component of the wintry pastime is the post-ski meal—the big respite after a long day in the snow. For those with a passion for wining and dining, this moment is not complete without a glass—or bottle—of something special to cap off the evening.

We've selected 10 restaurants from top ski regions across the United States and Canada whose wine lists provide plenty of tipples for a cozy cool-down after a day hitting the slopes. These Wine Spectator Grand Award– and Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurants offer wine lists with excellent breadth and depth across many regions, styles and vintages. For more options in all kinds of climes, search all of Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Award–winning restaurants, including all our Grand Award recipients.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!

Note: Opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations.

Element 47

The Little Nell, 675 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, Colo.
Telephone (970) 920-6330
Website www.thelittlenell.com
Grand Award

 The Element 47 dining room
Element 47 has helped make the Little Nell hotel a leading wine and food destination. (Courtesy of Little Nell)

Tucked high in the Rocky Mountains at the luxurious Little Nell hotel is flagship restaurant Element 47, whose name is a reference to silver’s number on the periodic table and Aspen’s founding as a mining town. The real riches, though, are found in the restaurant’s 22,025-bottle cellar. The Colorado institution has earned a Grand Award every year since 1997. Today, wine director Chris Dunaway’s list offers 2,915 selections, with strengths in Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, Rhône and Italy. These are served alongside dishes like wagyu tartare, sea bass with winter squash, venison and much more from chef Matt Zubrod’s menu.

Flagstaff House Restaurant

1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder, Colo.
Telephone (303) 442-4640
Website www.flagstaffhouse.com
Grand Award

 The Flagstaff House dining room
With its floor-to-ceiling picture windows, Flagstaff House offers panoramic views of Boulder from an elevation of 6,000 feet. (Nick Cahill)

Skiers passing through Boulder, just a morning’s drive from Keystone and Breckenridge and roughly 20 miles from Eldora Mountain Resort, will find both mountainside views and a Grand Award–winning wine list at Flagstaff House Restaurant. Wine director Ali Yakich’s 2,900-label list features depth in Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, Italy, Champagne and Rhône, with several vintages of Dom Pérignon going back to 1970, more than 20 of Penfolds Grange and a vast collection of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Alongside these bottles, chef Chris Royster serves a variety of dishes from the restaurants’ four-course prix-fixe menu and the tasting menu. This includes humpback shrimp aguachile, Parmesan ricotta, Rohan duck and a soup of lobster and celery. Several canapés are also available, such as Israeli ossetra caviar and prime steak tartare.

Post Hotel Dining Room

Post Hotel & Spa, 200 Pipestone Road, Lake Louise, Alberta
Telephone (800) 661-1586
Website www.posthotel.com
Grand Award

 A bottle of red wine, glasses and mountains in the background
With an inventory of more than 20,000 bottles, Post Hotel Dining Room's wine program is truly grand. (Michael Soroka)

Boasting one of the very best wine lists in all of Canada, Post Hotel Dining Room makes its home in the hamlet of Lake Louise in the Rockies. After a long day on the slopes, skiers can stretch out with wine director and owner George Schwarz’ 2,855-selection list, which showcases wines from California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhône, Tuscany, Piedmont and Australia, with plenty of values and Canadian selections in the mix as well. Chef Hans Sauter’s hearty fare spotlights Canadian meats and fish in dishes such as British Columbia salmon sashimi, duck spring rolls, Alberta beef tenderloin and mushroom strudel. For those with a sweet tooth, the dessert wine list highlights nearly three dozen choices of Vintage Port, as well as a substantial vertical of Château d’Yquem.

Allred’s Restaurant

Telluride Ski & Golf Resort, 565 Mountain Village Blvd., Telluride, Colo.
Telephone (970) 728-7474
Website www.allredsrestaurant.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The Allred's Restaurant dining room
Enjoy picturesque views of the San Juan mountains while sipping wine at Allred's Restaurant. (Telluride Ski Resort/Ben Eng)

If it’s mountaintop dining you’re after, head up to Allred’s Restaurant at the top of the Telluride Gondola for sweeping Rocky Mountain views. There, wine director Andrew Shaffner’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning 1,100-selection list excels in choices from California, Burgundy and Italy. In addition to its robust by-the-glass list, those who prefer a smaller sample can opt for one of the handful of selections available in 2-ounce Coravin pours. Sustainably sourced lamb, steak and seafood are the focus of chef Michael Gorman’s seasonal menu, which includes dishes such as cider-brined Berkshire pork chop, British Columbia king salmon with roasted beets, elk loin and porcini mushroom risotto.

Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar

4222 Village Square, Whistler, British Columbia
Telephone (604) 932-4540
Website www.araxi.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The wine room at Araxi with a set table
Araxi showcases its 6,200-bottle inventory in its private wine room. (Steve Li)

Less than a mile from Whistler’s Blackcomb ski resort, in the picturesque main square of the village, is Best of Award of Excellence–winning Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar. Wine director Jason Kawaguchi has sourced a collection of more than 750 labels from regions both local and global, with extensive selections from California, Burgundy, Italy and Canada to pair with chef James Walt’s Pacific Northwestern cuisine. Those dining in the restaurant’s heated outdoor bar can people-watch the goings-on of the town plaza below. Whether inside or outdoors, guests can enjoy dishes like a lobster and Matane shrimp sushi roll, red deer venison loin, Alberta beef tenderloin and seared duck breast, as well as a range of oysters.

Frasca Food & Wine

1738 Pearl St., Boulder, Colo.
Telephone (303) 442-6966
Website www.frascafoodandwine.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The dining room at Frasca Food & Wine
On downtown Boulder's Pearl Street, Frasca Food & Wine captures northern Italian comfort in both its cuisine and wine list. (Frasca Food & Wine)

Inspired by northeastern Italy’s Friuli–Venezia-Giulia region, Boulder’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning Frasca Food & Wine presents a 600-selection list created by co-owner Bobby Stuckey and maintained by wine director Carlin Karr. True to its theme, Frasca’s list showcases Italian picks, along with wines from Burgundy, Champagne and California. Chefs Eduardo Valle Lobo and Kelly Jeun offer a variety of pastas, meats and seafood dishes in a northern Italian style, including Hamachi crudo risotto with white-truffle butter, braised short rib and black seabass with trumpet mushrooms.

Havana Restaurant

318 Main St., Bar Harbor, Maine
Telephone (207) 288-2822
Website www.havanamaine.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Havana Restaurant with guests dining outside.
Guests can dine outdoors at Havana Restaurant's grill and tapas bar. (Christopher Aaron Schwartz)

Just a short drive from cross-country skiing destination Acadia National Park is Best of Award of Excellence–winning Havana Restaurant on Maine’s picturesque Mount Desert Island. Wine director Alexander Turner’s 1,125 list offers a wealth of options from Italy, Spain, Germany, France, California, Washington and Oregon to pair with chef Cassady Pappas’ Latin-influenced American cuisine, including dishes like seafood paella, lobster moqueca, spicy tuna salad and chicken with a Peruvian-style marinade. Value-seekers will find an abundance of wines to fit the budget, including a list of picks priced $49 or less, as well as a robust by-the-glass selection.

Ranch House Restaurant & Saloon

Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa, 3530 County Road 83, Tabernash, Colo.
Telephone (970) 728-4046
Website www.devilsthumbranch.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Ranch House's dining room
Diners can explore local Colorado ingredients at Ranch House Restaurant & Saloon. (Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa)

Colorado skiers have been able to enjoy the slopes at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa since 1938. And since 2021, wine fans have been able to experience a Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list at the resort’s Ranch House Restaurant & Saloon, where wine director Alex Hill has assembled a 500-label list focused most heavily on regions in California and France. Among the 2,960-bottle inventory, fans will recognize acclaimed names like Jordan and Schrader Cellars. There’s plenty from Oregon, Italy and Spain too, with many bottles priced under $100. Chef Ryan McKenzie’s menu showcases locally raised Wagyu beef alongside "mountain cuisine" dishes such as grilled elk loin, Rocky Mountain trout and a cauliflower steak. (A tasting menu, a wagyu omakase menu and a caviar tasting are available as well.)

Rustico Ristorante

114 E. Colorado Ave., Telluride, Colo.
Telephone (970) 728-4046
Website www.rusticoristorante.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Outdoor tables at Rustico Ristorante, with a mountain slope in the background, and flowers in the foreground
Rustico Ristorante mixes Italian wine and cuisine with a scenic mountainside landscape. (Courtesy of Rustico Ristorante, Telluride, Colorado)

Ski buffs with a taste for Italian wines will find no shortage of choices at Rustico Ristorante. Wine director and chef Paolo Canclini’s wine list has won the restaurant a Best of Award of Excellence since 2003, with 1,525 selections that span the length of the boot and cover both classic and obscure regions. Canclini’s menu includes classics like caprese salad and calamari, as well as a wide range of pastas, pizzas and grilled cuts.

Swiss Chalet

Sonnenalp Hotel, 20 Vail Road, Vail, Colo.
Telephone (866) 284-4411
Website www.sonnenalp.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Swiss Chalet's dining room
Swiss Chalet lives up to its name with a warm, wood-lined dining room.

Old-World Alpine charm comes to Colorado at Swiss Chalet, Sonnenalp Hotel’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurant. Much of the experience lies with wine director Zachary Lewison’s 900-label wine list, which concentrates on picks from California, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The diverse, 5,300-bottle list is packed with pairing options for chef Joshua Marshall’s Swiss and European menu of dishes like baked escargot with herb-garlic butter (schnecken pastetli), homemade dumplings, Scottish salmon with pappardelle and wiener schnitzel with potato salad. Fans of fondue and raclette will find plenty to enjoy on the menu as well.

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