"Après-ski (French: after skiing) refers to any form of entertainment, nightlife, or social event that occurs specifically at ski resorts" - Wikipedia definition.
My memories of après-skiing are many and varied from fondue and pool parties to consuming vast quantities of food and beverages - depending greatly on the ski resort at which I was après-skiing. Many of our historic local après-ski establishments are long gone, but have been replaced with some pretty darn good ones. I've visited some of the Whiteface Region's in recent weeks. Depending on whether you turn right or left leaving Whiteface Mountain, we've got you covered. Here are my two favorites.
RF MCDOUGALL'S - A civilized saloon
Located in the lower level of The Hungry Trout Restaurant, RF McDougall's Pub is laid back, cozy and welcoming. There's quite a long bar with a TV for watching all those must-see winter sports, as well as lots of tables in the dining area. Jim, the bartender, is a super guy who will make you feel right at home any day of the week. With an ever changing draft beer menu you're likely to find a variety of our local craft brews on tap at any given time. A full bar also features drink specials. Especially nice after a long day of outdoor activity are the hot drinks. Do make sure you try one!
The pub menu at RF McDougall's is perfect for late afternoon and into the evening, since they don't open til 4 pm. Spend the day on the mountain, turn left when you leave the ski center and poof!, you'll see RF McDougall's on the left in about 1 minute - seriously. With one of my all time favorite winter noshes, french fries and gravy topped with cheddar cheese, how can you go wrong? The rest of the menu is just as tempting, with an awesome baked Chipotle Bacon Macaroni & Cheese that's to die for (throw your calorie counter out for this one!). They also feature a few soups that are always on the menu - French Onion, Hot Sausage Soup, and Wild Forest Mushroom Bisque. The appetizer menu is filled with enticing winter items anyone would love and the salads, burgers and sandwiches, and pastas and entrees are unique and mouth-watering. At RF McDougall's you can feast on a full dinner or just snack on apps.
McDougall's is open from 4 pm til late evening, so party on!
RIVER VIEW CAFE at High Falls Gorge
The newest addition to the après-ski options in the Whiteface Region is the River View Cafe at High Falls Gorge. A group of us visited this past week and were amazed at the food and views from this awesome little hideaway. On your way back to Lake Placid from Whiteface Mountain you'll find High Falls Gorge with its magnificent ancient waterfalls and trails. Spend some time snowshoeing or trekking on the trails around the Gorge and then sit down to enjoy some wonderful food and drink at their River View Cafe.
The River View Cafe has a cozy bar with local craft brews as well as domestic beers and wines and a great selection of non-alcoholic and hot beverages
There's also a breakfast "bar" with coffees and grab-and-go baked goods for morning fare if you're on your way to the mountain and get a hunger pang or need some caffeine.
Our hosts at River View wanted to show us what they have on the menu so they surprised us with a constant stream of samplings. First to arrive was a beautifully presented baked French Onion Soup made with Lake Placid Brewery IPA. It's one of the best onion soups I've ever tasted with a very unique flavor. Following that we were treated to Seafood Scampi, with shrimp and steamed clams, a platter of Maple Chipotle Chicken Wings paired with Jalapeño Pepper halves stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. The jalapeños were not killer hot, so don't fear this dish, it was amazing! Then came a really inventive wrap consisting of turkey & pancetta with a tasty mayo sauce, served with a side of homemade coleslaw and homemade French fries. Super combination!
If that wasn't enough (we were stuffed!), the pièce de resistance was the dessert - a maple pumpkin cheesecake with graham cracker crust and swirled chocolate sauce and real maple syrup on the side. Oh My God! This dessert was a special that day, so don't expect to find it on the menu every single day, but the rest of the desserts must be just as awesome - and hey, maybe you'll get lucky and they'll be serving it when you go!
The atmosphere at the River View was really inviting and there's also a cozy corner with fireplace and comfy chairs looking out at the Gorge. I can just imagine putting my feet up after a day at Whiteface, sipping a nice hot toddy!
High Falls Gorge is also a destination in itself for outdoor recreation! You don't have to be an alpine skier or rider to enjoy everything the Gorge has to offer - snowshoeing, hiking, and exploring the incredible waterfalls in winter as well as summer. Mother Nature makes some magnificent artwork out of ice in the winter months in the Gorge. For all the hours and activities available visit the High Falls Gorge Website. You can also view the menu and get your mouths watering!
Since I spend a lot of time at Whiteface in the winter, perhaps I'll run into you one day at either RF McDougall's or The River View Cafe. And since you're in the neighborhood for après-ski, why not stay in The Whiteface Region and also check out the events for the upcoming months.
This week in related Adirondack skiing news: