Social activity (as at a ski lodge) after a day’s skiing
When you’ve finished the last run on the hill or trail and you’re pleasantly exhausted from going going going beneath the bright winter sun, you’ll want to meet up with friends and congratulate yourself on a day well spent. This is the time to unzip your snowpants, make a toast, and fill up with something warm and delicious.
Après-ski can mean different things to different people, ranging from indulging in heart-warming food and drink to enjoying a cozy cuddle in front of the fire. Typically beginning when the sun starts to go down and lasting until dinner, and beyond, après-ski is an opportunity to party hard before hitting the slopes or trails the next day.
You won’t need to travel far to find the best après-ski hotspots – many are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the ski hill or snowy trail in Ontario’s Highlands. Read on for the best spots to party on where yummy comfort food, cold brews, and live music pair well with good company.
Cold Crisp Beer
After spending all day digging your poles into the soft snow and propelling yourself forward (often at breakneck speeds) you’ll have worked up a thirst that won’t be quenched by anything other than a cold, crisp pint of beer. This is the time to head to the local craft brewery or watering hole and mosey on up to the bar to order a brew that will have you licking the froth off your frozen upper lip.
- Whitewater Brewing Company (Cobden)
Pair a frothy mug of Whistling Paddler English style ale with the Whitewater Burger (with caramelized onion, old cheddar, smoky bacon aioli, on a local brioche bun) and cap it off with a Midnight Stout Brownie.
- Calabogie Brewing Company (Calabogie)
This brewery doesn’t believe patio weather is only for summer! Warm up in front of an outdoor fire, waterside, while you sip a cold brew. A long pull on Calabogie Brewing Co.’s delicious K&P Ale 1883 will go down smooth and easy, just like you tackled each run on the hill or trail.
- Black Donald’s Pub (Calabogie)
You don’t need to travel far from the hill in Calabogie – cozy up right at Black Donald’s Pub at the ‘Peaks, and order the Bee’s Skis, a crisp and light brew made in collaboration with Whitewater Brewing Company using honey produced by bees from Calabogie Peaks.
- Cartwright Springs (Pakenham)
The pure spring water used to make their beer will refresh you as it quenches your thirst. Stop by the Pakenham brewery to chat with the owner and sample all their brews – the Honey Lager is made with locally sourced honey and is crisp and refreshing after a long day outdoors.
Yummy Comfort Food
Is the growling of your stomach loud enough to be heard by everyone around you? By the end of the day you’ll be looking for some hard-earned, old-fashioned comfort food (and plenty of it). When your face is bright red from cold and it feels like your nose will never stop running, what hits the spot best are old favourites like cheesy poutine, gooey pizza, salty nachos, or a delicious, juicy burger.
- Centennial Restaurant (Pakenham)
You’ll love how close this local favourite is to Mount Pakenham’s downhill and cross-country trails. Order their gooey, cheesy pizza – delicious comfort food! While you munch, reminisce about a day well spent on the hill or trails.
- Heartwood Restaurant (Combermere)
After snowshoeing or cross-country skiing the day away, you’ll find the heartwarming family favourites at Heartwood Restaurant will perk you up fast. Poutine lovers will be in cheese-curd-and-gravy heaven here – try their pulled pork or bacon and onion poutine.
- Neat Coffee Shop (Burnstown)
This is a great place to stop on your way home from Calabogie Peaks! This local favourite is known for their wood-fired pizzas with fun names like Weird Al and Ziggy Stardust. If you’re lucky you visit may include live performances from local and not so local artists.
- The Granary – Schnitzel Haus (Eganville)
Is there anything that says ‘comfort food’ more than rich German dishes? This European-styled restaurant is located in an area rife with snowy trails to explore on snowshoe or ski. Be sure to order their signature Schnitzel – try the Lescho Schnitzel, topped with tomato sauce thick with mushrooms and green peppers. Yum!
Foot Tapping Fun
You would think by the end of the day you’d be too tired to do anything more than collapse by the fire, but you’d be wrong. Live music is the ultimate après-ski experience, best enjoyed with a mug full of frothy beer, good friends, and something gooey and delicious in hand. You might just find that your feet have enough energy left to tap to the beat (and then some).
- Dominion Hotel (Minden)
Drink, rest, and be merry! This is the place to go if you’re out in the great outdoors near the small town of Minden. The Dominion Hotel is where the locals go to grab a pint or two and sit back to listen to live bands every Saturday night.
- Janna & Kerry’s Over Easy Bar & Grill
You’ll fall in love with this cute little café’s comfortable atmosphere. Cozy up with a cuppa something warm and delicious (like a hot toddy!) and listen to live music Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights.
- Nelson Street Pub (Pembroke)
After cross country skiing or snowshoeing on Pembroke’s many trails, the Nelson Street Pub will warm you up fast. Be there Wednesday night for the Nelson Street Jam.
- Pub House by Milano (Pembroke)
Our house is your house – pair Milano’s delicious pizzas with Big Rig Brewery and live music at this lively venue in the heart of the Ottawa Valley.