In addition to the deepest days and lightest snow imaginable, a sense of community is something that keeps diehard skiers sliding on snow until their knees can no longer take it. And après ski — where skiers and riders alike gather at their favorite watering hole, sharing stories from the slopes like fishermen share stories of their record-breaking catches — lends itself to this communal experience.
In addition to the ski town bars themselves, where the beer flows freely and ski attire is encouraged, there is something else that often brings people together in ski communities — open mic nights. Open mic, and karaoke nights, for that matter, provide a break from listening to stories about that waist-deep stash your friend found in the woods (that, in reality, was likely not much more than a 3-inch wind drift) to instead sing and laugh with friends as they perform their favorite ’90s rock songs, which usually become more daring as the night progresses.
Unfortunately for the out-of-towners, open mic and karaoke nights often fall on weeknights, resulting in a turn-out of “townies.” But for those who do have the flexibility to make it out during a weeknight, it is a great opportunity to make friends with local skiers, and maybe even score yourself a free place to stay next time you’re on a weekend ski trip.
— Woodstock Station Inn and Brewery, North Woodstock, N.H. | The Woodstock Inn and Brewery, located minutes from Loon Mountain Resort, is a New Hampshire après staple known for its craft beers and lively night scene. The venue hosts a karaoke night every Tuesday at 8:30, and an open mic night on Sundays from 8:30 until 11.
— Liquid Art, Killington, Vt. | Located just off Killington’s access road, Liquid Art is a coffee shop/restaurant/cocktail bar combination. The venue also hosts a variety of creative events, like a weekly art jam, held on Tuesdays at 5. On Sundays, Killington locals head over for Liquid Art open mic nights.
— The Clear, Pittsfield, Vt. | The Clear River Inn and Tavern is a classic New England-style inn and bar. And in typical Vermont fashion, The Clear serves up some of the state’s finest microbrews. The venue hosts an open mic night every Thursday at 9, lasting until 1 in the morning.
— Red Parka Pub, Glen, N.H. | The Red Parka Pub, centrally located between Attitash, Wildcat and Cranmore mountains, is about as traditional an après-ski bar as you can find. All the locals know it’s the place to be on Monday nights at 9 when the Parka hosts its open mic. If you can extend your weekend vacation to the Mount Washington Valley by one more night, you won’t be disappointed.
— The Rack, Sugarloaf, Maine | Sugarloaf might be known for its size, above-treeline terrain and inbounds hike-to tree skiing more than its party scene, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer skiers after the lifts stop spinning. The Rack, which continues to be a locals’ favorite due to the laid-back vibe, cheap beer and vibrant scene, offers a variety of events — live bands, trivia night and weekly brunch — and hosts an open mic night on Wednesdays at 7.
— The Rendezvous, Turner Falls, Mass. | While it is a half-hour from Berkshire East Mountain Resort, The Rendezvous almost always has something going on. In addition to karaoke every Sunday night at 9, “The Voo” also hosts occasional open mic nights, regular live music and a variety of events and parties.
— The Localfolk Smokehouse, Waitsfield, Vt. | For such a sleepy area, the Mad River Valley always is bustling with something to do. The Localfolk Smokehouse is a classic barbecue restaurant with all the Vermont beers you can drink. The establishment’s open mic night entertains guests on Thursday nights at 8:30.
— Suds Pub, Bethel, Maine | The Suds Pub, located in the Sudbury Inn, is just minutes from Sunday River. And while many head to the Foggy Goggle or Matterhorn after a day of shredding, Suds Pub’s laid-back vibe is worth a stop when you just want to kick back for a beer. The venue has been hosting an open mic night on Thursdays for the past 33 years, and this year is no exception.
— Tenney Mountain, N.H. | After an eight-year hiatus, Tenney Mountain, located in Plymouth, resumed operations in March 2018. The mountain, which has 60 years of history behind it, has 110 acres of skiable terrain on its 2,349-foot summit. On Sundays, from 4-8 p.m., Tenney hosts an open mic night.