Now I’m not going to lie, I am a sucker for the finer things in life but that doesn’t detract me from being a Dive Bar Aficionado. The quintessential, ski-town watering hole has an intangible character that attracts everyone from the quirky locals to the posh, fur-lined tourists. The typical dive is dirt cheap, may or may not smell of sour beer and is most likely ran by a well-worn bartender who couldn’t care less about your impression. Dives aren’t for everyone. Yet you have to agree that there’s something about that grungy atmosphere and gritty charm that really breeds local camaraderie.
Whether you skied your ass off or dragged ass down the hill, there’s nothing sweeter than a cold brew (or 8) to cap off your day. With that being said, you aren’t going to find authentic ski culture in your swanky hotel lobby bar. The local dive is a ski-town staple- where the stoke-level is high and the care-level is low. Head to one of these hidden gems where the drinks are stiff and the company is loose!
While there are hundreds of great ski-town dives, I have compiled a list of my favorites for you to enjoy! Get in there and soak it up – play your favorite classics on the jukebox, stick to the floors, devour a $3 burger and fraternize with the eccentric clientele!
O’SHUCKS BAR AND GRILL
Park City, Utah
As for ski-town dives, it doesn’t get much better than O’Shucks Bar and Grill! Park City locals flock to this peanut joint on Tuesdays where you can enjoy a 32-ounce schooner and burger for $3 each! This ill-lighted bar will keep you occupied with pool, shuffleboard and the classic Big Buck Hunter. In an age where Park City is getting more pretentious by the day, O’Shucks continues to stay as grungy as ever!
The Bird in Jackson Hole is a hidden gem! It is located 3 miles outside of town which is just enough to keep it off the radar and cheaper than anything you will find in the village. They even have a free shuttle that will drive you home after you’ve had one too many! It’s all about the deals here- The Bird’s Sunday Funday makes it the “best f’n day of the week” with bottomless mimosas and bloodies for $15. Also, don’t miss Thursdays where you can snack on half off Schnitzel! But let it be known that “if you’re a fun-sucker: uptight, unhappy or demanding, maybe try somewhere else that’s a little more geared to your sort”.
THE CORNICE CANTINA
Squaw Valley, California
If you have ever skied Squaw Valley you know an Apres beer is part of the experience. Tahoe locals are known to ski hard and drink harder- so if you aren’t keeping up on the mountain you better keep up at the bar! The Cantina is located right at the base of Squaw Valley giving it an awesome atmosphere and great view! After a day on the mountain, locals come in for the “Shifter” which gives you your first PBR for $1! This dive also keeps the party going into the night with live music and DJs!
THE PERUVIAN LODGE
Even with all the turmoil and debate surrounding one of the last “skier only” resorts in North America, Alta’s Peruvian Lodge welcomes everyone no matter what you get down the mountain on (or how bad you smell). Located in Little Cottonwood between Snowbird and Alta, The Peruvian Lodge (or P-Dog if you’re a local) is a preferred venue for snow video viewing and of course apres boozing! This place tends to get packed in pretty tight and since everyone is coming directly from skiing and riding, the air can get stale pretty quick. This never bothers the patrons though because at the Peruvian the post-shred stoke is always high and the libations fit the budget of the customers! On any given day the P-Dog is filled with the who’s who of pro skiers and local legends, so if you’re looking to fill your autograph book or get that coveted “selfie with a pro” you might want to make this a stop on your list. Live music on Sundays and second to none views of the Wasatch make the Peruvian an excellent place to share your stories from the day and make your claims for title of “Best Skier on the Mountain”!
CHARLIE’S MOUNTAIN VIEW
Mt. Hood, Oregon
Atmosphere, Divey. That’s the best way to describe Charlies. Divey in a good way, of course! Great drinks, great atmosphere and no pressure. And don’t let the ambiance detour you from ordering food. This place puts it down! Good portions and great grub! This is typically where you’ll find everyone at after riding Hood all day. Stop by, have a drink and reminisce about the day on the hill with your crew.
If you find yourself in Ketchum, Idaho make sure to stop by Grumpy’s! This dive started in the late 70’s as a place where the working man & local could come, have a beer & burger and not be bothered. Now, this Sun Valley staple is a classic dive that is known to serve “everyone from Tom Hanks to the Town Drunk”! Grumpy’s facade is that of vintage beer cans and old license plates which gives it a gritty charm. Come get a 32-ounce schooner and enjoy one of their famous burgers!
As you probably know, you can’t find a more bougie scene than Vail. If you need an escape from the pretentious crowds, head over to The George! This ultimate ski town dive bar is furnished from the 80’s and gives you a great vibe to enjoy your stiff cocktail! The George hooks you up with Happy Hour- 4 dollar you call it, all the way up the shelf! Don’t be taken back by the semi-unfriendly bartenders – they aren’t going to kiss ass like the servers at the martini bar next door!
On powder days locals ski the Bruce Trail (the oldest trail on Mt Mansfield) down from the top of the Four Runner quad on their last run of the day. Building up a sweat as they skate out through the resorts touring center, skiers are met with sweet salvation – The Matterhorn. Sure, it looks like an old roadhouse just off the Mountain Road but don’t be fooled, this is where all the apres action happens in Stowe! Once inside you’re greeted by a huge wraparound bar, 2 pool tables, riverside dining, sushi bar, and a game room offering a family friendly appeal. The eccentric menu boasts everything from pub fare to fresh sushi! “The Horn” has more than 20 local drafts and no shortage of Jameson to keep the stories flowing and embellishment high. At some point without fail you’ll hear some Jerry ask – ‘so what do I have to do to get one of those mugs ?’ (hanging behind the bar) which are clearly reserved for ski patrol, mountain employees, and other infamous local ski bums. Live music blasts every Friday and Saturday all winter for apres and late night sets. Don’t worry though there’s no shame in staying for both!
TOM’S LOFT TAVERN
If you have ever found your self heading to Okemo, you have most likely passed by a somewhat dilapidated, red barn deemed “Tom’s Loft Tavern”. The sign on the side states “Home of Lousy Food, Warm Beer and Grumpy Owner.”, yet it is a classic form of false advertising. The Loft exudes New England ski-town charm and is the perfect spot to let loose after an epic ski day! Grab yourself a Vermont craft beer and don’t miss their famous wings!