For many, music festival season comes with the warm temperatures of spring. Many of the largest music events happen throughout the year, save for winter. Winter is left for hibernating at home, listening to bands and artists from the comfort of a blanket.
But as skiers, we know that winter brings the perfect combination of powder days, endless partying and live entertainment. Show up to a ski town for the weekend, and you’ll have to go out of your way to avoid a lively and music-focused party — or at the very least, an aprés bar with a local band cranking out your favorite tunes.
In the Northeast, we might argue the icy conditions spawn the greatest skiers in the world, while those out West — the ones who need 10 inches or more to get them to the hill in the morning — may scoff at our misfortune. Regardless, there’s one thing that can’t be argued: New Englanders know how to do aprés-music right. So put on your dancing shoes, and check out one of these recurring events at your favorite ski hill.
Attitash |Located just north of North Conway, N.H., Attitash hosts weekly aprés music every Saturday at Ptarmigan’s Pub. On Dec. 31, Jan. 18, Feb. 15 and March 21, Attitash also will be hosting the Attitash After Dark concert series, which will feature family-friendly fireworks displays followed by performances by Boston-area tribute bands. After the fireworks, the bands will perform at Ptarmigan’s for ages 21 and older.
Cranmore | Cranmore’s location in downtown North Conway makes it a local favorite for aprés, regardless of where you skied that day. Every Saturday afternoon (with additional days during vacation weeks and weekends) the mountain hosts Cranapalooza — a family-friendly celebration filled with s’mores, a DJ, dancing, fireworks and other activities and entertainment. Adults can head into Zip’s Pub for live music and a vibrant aprés scene.
Mount Snow | Skiers and riders usually head to Mount Snow for its renowned Carinthia Terrain Parks, or because of its proximity to Boston and New York. But they stay for the events, music and parties. Every Friday and Saturday night at the Snow Barn — one of Vermont’s premiere live music venues in the winter — locals and out-of-towners alike gather to enjoy live music, DJs, dance parties and some of the best pizza around.
Stowe | Every Wednesday at the Cork Wine Bar and Market, located in downtown Stowe, jazz musician George Petit performs from 6-9 p.m. Petit is a Vermont-based sound engineer, producer, composer and musician who spent nearly two decades running a recording studio in New York City and has performed with renowned musicians from around the world. And while it might not be the party scene of some of the other spots mentioned here, it’s a great environment to relax, unwind, grab a glass of wine and listen to some terrific music at the end of the day.
Sunday River | Sunday River’s on-hill bar, the Foggy Goggle, is known for one of the best aprés scenes in New England — and according to some, the country. The Goggle usually host live bands every Friday and Saturday, making it a great stop as soon as you finish your last run of the day.
Sugarloaf | Even though Sugarloaf’s biggest music event — Reggaefest — happens only once a year, there are still plenty of tunes to be heard weekly. The Widowmaker, located at the top of the Base Lodge, features live music on Saturday nights. This past summer, the bar underwent renovations that relocated the bar and stage to provide even more space for guests and performers.
Red Parka Pub | While the Red Parka Pub, located in Glen, N.H., does have live music on Friday and Saturday nights, Monday nights are really when you want to be there. After the out-of-towners filter out and the work week begins, “The Parka” hosts an open mic night, where local bands and performers take the stage. It’s a great place to check out local talent and mingle with some Mount Washington Valley townies.
Killington | At the center of one of New England’s rowdiest aprés scenes lies the Wobbly Barn, a steakhouse and nightclub in Killington that has been open for 57 years. On weekends, head to the Wobbly Barn to enjoy live music, dancing and late-night partying.
Stratton | Grizzly’s, located at the base of Stratton, is another on-mountain aprés bar that features live music and specials on weekends. The resort itself has a variety of small and large stages, hosting events throughout the year, from big names like the Wailers to local talent.
Woodstock Inn and Brewery | A trip to Loon Mountain isn’t complete without heading down the street to the Woodstock Inn and Brewery. On Sunday nights from 8:30 to 11:00, the brewery hosts an open mic night. Even if you’re not looking to get on stage, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy some house-brewed craft beers and meet locals while enjoying live music (and maybe even a little standup).