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Nothing pairs better with a day of spring skiing than a little apres and Breckenridge has an almost endless amount of bars and restaurants to provide it. The word après is French and it literally translates to “after ski.” However, in our neck of the woods, it’s more expansive and is meant to encompass all social activities and entertainment following a day’s skiing. It used to crack me up to hear my American born-and-raised friends throw this French word around Breckenridge until I figured out that while the French invented this concept, the Breckenridge apres scene is hard to top.
Traditional spring and spring skiing in Breckenridge starts the first day of March and goes until the ski resort closes, usually mid-to-late April. It’s all about skiing and riding and being outside, but the days are longer and warmer, and powder days can pile up along with the snow. The spring deck scene is spot on and easy to join, live music and DJ’s abound, and oh that sunshine is plentiful. Here’s how to make the most of spring après in Breckenridge!
Location, Location, Location
The good thing about Breckenridge is there are a views and sunshine at nearly every restaurant and bar on the mountain and in town. To begin your après in the spirit of the French founders of this tradition, start at the ski area. I love the deck and scene at the TBAR (named after Breckenridge’s famed T-bar lift to Horseshoe Bowl) located in the Peak 8 base area of Breckenridge Ski Resort. In the spring, they usually have live music or a DJ every weekend with bar games, specials, and plenty of outdoor seating. At 10,000 feet above sea level, it’s not just one of the liveliest bars in ski country, it’s also one of the highest spots to après in the world and is often recognized as one of the top spots by media outlets around the globe.
If you are looking for cheap drinks and appetizers, skip the base area bars and head to town. There is no need to guess where to go: Main Street offers the perfect Breckenridge après scene. There are sun-filled decks on every block, from the fire pit and pints of Guinness at Burke & Riley’s Irish pub on the south side, to the huge deck and horseshoes pit at Kenosha Steakhouse near the middle of Main, and finally the quaint but not quiet deck at RMU Tavern in the historic 100 block. If a wine bar is more your style, beanies are welcome at Blue River Bistro (and their apps are 2-for-1 during happy hour!) and the bar at Relish. If you are looking for the best deals around, pick up the local paper, The Summit Daily, to scan local ads or visit BreckInsider for happy hour specials, live music, and special events.
Historically Speaking (or Drinking)
Of course, while après is specific to a ski community, drinking beer and whiskey is nothing new to this town. In fact, during Breckenridge’s gold boom, it is said many miners trusted their pay lode to the local bartenders instead of the bankers. Enter the Gold Pan, Breckenridge’s oldest bar and the oldest continuously operated bar west of the Mississippi where gold, grub, and a gulp of Old Overholt were the standard business of the day. While you probably don’t want to leave any gold there today, it is worth a stop on your Breckenridge après tour for a sip after skiing. A few other great spots with historic roots are Après Handcrafted Libations, the Hearthstone, the Dredge and, with more recent history, the Breckenridge Brewery (the third micro-brewery to open in Colorado) and the new Breckenridge Distillery, the world’s highest distillery.
What to Wear for Breckenridge Apres
In Breckenridge, (almost) anything goes from wearing your ski/snowboard pants right up to the bar to sporting a beanie all night to cover your helmet hair. That’s one of the reasons Breckenridge apres is so fun here: You can mix and mingle in your ski wear, streetwear, thermal gear or formal wear (okay, maybe not formal, but mountain chic), and we’ll sit down and join you for a good story from your day on the mountain. In the spring, remember to dress in layers because while you may be sitting in a t-shirt in the afternoon, it will still cool off once the sun goes down.
Finally, the one spring accessory that is necessary for everyone – sunscreen! The one thing I can tell you not to wear is a goggle tan; your 40-year-old self will thank you.