Some people plan their ski day around powder stashes and double black runs. Others plot the most direct path from chairlift to bar. These days, the two strategies are hardly mutually exclusive.
The best apres-ski bars used to be concentrated in Europe, but the universally appealing phenomenon of drinking on a mountainside, eating local food and letting your inner terrible dancer out has found a home in every high-altitude corner of the globe. And unlike skiing, a good time at these bars doesn't depend on increasingly unpredictable weather.
With that in mind, here's the best place for post-piste revelry in Colorado:
Cloud Nine, in Aspen. Revelers at this converted ski patrol hut consume (and spray) enough Champagne each season to make it Veuve Cliquot's biggest American account. Set at 11,000 feet on Aspen's Highlands Mountain, it's the best U.S.-based approximation to a Euro-style apres-ski scene. Twice-daily seatings, at noon and 2 p.m., start with bubbling raclette and end with diners dancing atop tables to Justin Bieber. On bluebird days, the party spills onto the wraparound deck. Pro tip: Book a week in advance - two if you're in town during peak holiday weekends.