With ski-tan smiles and serious gear propped in the racks, Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows) is clearly the place for elite skiers. But there’s an easy, relaxed feel at the end of the day, with live music, a beer garden, a bungee-jump trampoline, and countless tail-wagging dogs.
Après ski finds a perfect place to unfold on the outside deck at the Village at the KT Base Bar, with tilt-your-head-back views of legendary KT-22. Another option—if you remember to pack a bathing suit—is to take a hot-tub soak surrounded by Palisades' High Camp complex (if you don’t ski, just ride the 10-minute aerial tram to access High Camp). And High Camp itself has its own relaxation quarters: Grab a drink at the Terrace Bar with dramatic views of Lake Tahoe or the Granite Bistro Café, which looks out over the slopes.
The après party is always buzzing at Le Chamois, home to one of the most popular outdoor drinking scenes in all of Lake Tahoe. The loft-like vibe of The Chammy, as it’s called, means there’s plenty of room for all kind of skiing memorabilia, from old lift chairs to loads of artfully displayed vintage skis and framed Olympic ski jerseys (the town hosted the 1960 Winter Olympic Games). And three-foot tall beer glasses. Also paying tribute to Palisades' Olympic heritage is the Olympic House, a mid-century complex that encloses several staples of the après scene: Bar One, on the first floor, The Pocket, on the lower level, and The Plaza Bar, on the second.
Pint-size racers can keep the fun meter in the red even after the lifts close at the SnoVentures Activity Zone at Palisades. Kids ages 6 to 12 steer mini-snowmobiles on a groomed, oval track. There’s also snowtubing on site. And though it’s only open until 4 p.m. daily, the Olympic Museum is well worth a visit, if only to marvel at how far skiing technology has come in almost 60 years.
On the Alpine Meadows side, another great après-ski destination is The Chalet, a Bavarian-style beer garden that specializes in not just delicious brews but that ultimate of winter dishes, raclette (melted Swiss cheese). Gourmet pressed sandwiches are also on the menu.