When winter descends upon Europe, the restaurant industry's top palates hit the slopes to pair incredible skiing with phenomenal food and wine experiences. Herewith, their top alpine dining outposts and après ski scenes.
Robert Grant, Wine Director and Partner of New York City's Charlie Bird: Rosa Alpina, San Cassiano, Alta Badia, Italy
Rosa Alpina is a Relais & Chateau hotel in Italy’s Alta Badia region— part of the largest interlocking ski area in the world. Rosa Alpina has a two-Michelin Star restaurant, Hubertus, which has the best international wines from around the world, according to Grant. “They also have their grill, for more casual fare and an extensive Italian and French wine list,” he adds. You can book their small private room for Fonduta.
Alto Sohm, Wine Director of New York City's acclaimed Le Bernardin Restaurant and Aldo Sohm Wine Bar: The Arlberg Hospiz Hotel, St Christoph, Austria
This place used to serve as a hospice for people going over the Arlberg pass and now boasts one of the largest, big-format Bordeaux bottle collections in the world. These are very special bottles, some as large as 18 liters, from the top chateaux in Bordeaux. And, you can ride a slide down to the cellar.
Michelin-starred chef Eduard Frauneder of Edi and the Wolf and Freud, and Schilling in New York City: Le Rouge, Verbier, Switzerland
On a bluebird day, head to the big outdoor deck of Le Rouge. Frauneder said this is his favorite late afternoon spot to watch the sunset. “Grab a crepe and a glass of Burgundy on the deck, or, if the weather isn’t great, sit in the wine cellar and indulge in fondue,” says Frauneder.
John Winterman, Managing Partner of New York City Hotspot, Batard: Die Krone Von Lech, Lech, Austria
“The premier après-ski experience,” says Winterman. Located in the heart of Lech at the foot of the ski runs, the bar is outdoors, sheltered from the wind by plexiglass, and overlooks the icy river that snakes through the village. “About once a ski trip I am moved emotionally to see European quasi-royalty dripping in furs and moon boots drinking mulled wine and beer and singing over the vast display of candle-wax tombed champagne bottles,” he says.
Winemaker Austin Hope of Hope Family Wines in Paso Robles: The Alpina Lounge and Bar, Gstaad, Switzerland
When staying in the small, rustic ski town of Gstaad, Switzerland, Hope’s go-to après-ski spot is the Alpina Lounge & Bar. After along day on the mountain, he and his wife indulge in champagne and truffle fondue. They pair the fondue with one of the small-production champagnes often featured on the exclusive wine list, or a bottle of Les Ruinettes Amigne de Vétroz from the local Serge Roh winery.
Robert Bohr, Sommelier and Partner of New York City's Charlie Bird: Almhof Schneider, Lech, Austria
"My friends and I absolutely adore Almhof Schneider for the incredible combination of authentic, local charm with the finest and most sophisticated design and aesthetic. The genuine and sincere hospitality of the Schneider family, along with the overall level of quality, makes it more than a five-star hotel," says Bohr. The hotel has a serious wine program and a very talented sommelier, plus a discreet and well-stocked wine shop in the basement.