Five Killer Ski Resort With Breathtaking Sun Decks

Nothing elevates a day of skiing or snowboarding better, faster, or more completely than an après beverage enjoyed outside while the winter sun beams down and warms your skin. It’s a scene as quintessential to the experience as snow, a communal activity where everyone involved is sharing the same not-so-secret truth: snow-covered mountains reign supreme.

Here are five spots (plus an honorable mention) that deliver that experience in spades.

The High Camp, Squaw Valley (California)

Sitting at 8,200 feet, this outdoor pool, hot tub, and Umbrella Bar complex resides at the top of Squaw Valley’s famed runs, offering panoramic views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe.

The hot tub opens each spring, and the pool opens in the summer; join the locals for a few pints, and then ski down in your bathing suit to close out the ski season in style.

The Beach, Arapahoe Basin (Colorado)

Less a formal sun deck than a daily tradition born out of spontaneous group celebration, the Beach is really just the parking lot of Arapahoe Basin—only it’s not just a parking lot.

Locals get there early to stake their claim (or reserve a spot) for prime real estate in an open-air party that includes grilling, signing, gaming, and drinking. And since this high-elevation Colorado resort is typically the first to open and the last to close each season, the party typically stretches from early November through late April.

Bon Vivant, Telluride (Colorado)

Colorado’s Telluride Resort boasts a variety of killer open-air dining and drinking options, and while the mid-mountain Gorrono Ranch earn points for being an actual historical Basque sheep herding ranch (and for serving the aptly named Chuck’s Famous Chili), Bon Vivant wins out.

Located at the top of the Polar Queen Express, the open-air spot offers a mix of classic French country cuisine and contemporary fare, along with an all-French wine list and a robust roster of beers that include a handful of lambics.

Cloud Nine, Aspen Highlands (Colorado)

The porch on this cozy, Euro-style cabin isn’t the largest on this list—not by a longshot. But it offers some much-needed refuge from the scene that typically unfolds inside the cabin, which the resort proudly describes as “the most boisterous après ski scene on any mountain in North America.”

Think ski boot dance parties complete with Champaign spraying over the crowd from $100 bottles and more than a few folks stripped down to their base layers. Outside? Enjoy the fresh air, the same Swiss menu of fondue and raclette, as well as steak tartare and caviar (naturally), and the safe distance from the chaos within.

Lookout Cabin, Park City Mountain Resort (Utah)

Once one of Utah’s best-kept secrets, the Lookout Cabin is now part of the high-profile offerings at the new Park City Mountain Resort, which acquired The Canyons Resort a few seasons back. But the restaurant is still tops, especially on a sunny day.

It boasts 360-degree views of the Wasatch, with an impressive deck and solid Rocky Mountain fare. Better still, with 7,300 acres of skiable terrain on offer at this expansive resort, you still might be able to snag a seat without a reservation.

Honorable Mention: Tio Bob’s, Portillo

Snow won’t start to fall at Chile’s Portillo Ski Resort until sometime in June (snow gods willing), but we’d be remiss to not mention this wonderful spot, positioned at the top of the Plateau Lift. It serves simple, sumptuous bbq meats and fish as well as salads, soups, beer, and wine, along with gob-smacking views of the ice-covered Lake Inca and a wide, above-tree line panorama of the Andes.

Winter Sun Decks