Craft Beers for Your Next Powder Day

By Anthony Orig

It’s no secret, most everyone knows that the winter of 2011-2012 has been brutal for many. Small businesses are hurting from the poor ski conditions over the holidays and ski resorts are scrambling to attract tourists. But last weekend, the powder gods arrived and the snow was falling. Some lucky resorts saw feet of fresh snow and some ski areas couldn’t even completely open because of the historic storm.

There’s just something about the combination of craft beer and skiing towns. Don’t believe me? Even Skiing Magazine is paying attention to the trend. This year they’ve introduced an interactive Ski Country Brew Finder to help all the ski bums out there find great craft beer while enjoying the slopes.

Skiing Beer Finder

Powder Day Craft Beer Destinations

With many powder days on the horizon for locals and tourists alike, there’s nothing like a craft beer at the end of an epic day on the mountain. If you ever find yourself looking for a place to grab a local craft beer after a day of skiing, look no further than one of these breweries close to the lifts.

Deschutes Brewery

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort | Bend, Oregon

Just outside of Bend, a mecca for outdoor and craft beer enthusiasts, lies Mt. Bachelor in the Central Cascade Mountains. As one of the largest ski areas in North America, guests can ski in any direction off of the summit in a variety of terrain.

Afterwards, enjoy a Red Chair NWPA at Deschutes Brewery, named after the oldest operating chairlift at Mt. Bachelor. Right now, you can even win a trip for two for a VIP tour of the brewery, three days of riding, and much more with their Red Chair Sweepstakes. Considering they just received 35” in a single day, I’d say your odds of a powder day are pretty good.

FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Northstar at Tahoe™ | Truckee, California

After some laps at the renowned terrain parks, rated some of the best in the world, slide into FiftyFifty Brewing Co. for some post-ski beers and food. Although foggy goggles can be a huge inconvenience on the slopes, in the taproom it’s a different story, as you enjoy a pint of their Foggy Goggle Belgian Wit. FiftyFifty is also dedicated to sustainability by reducing their carbon footprint and subsequently protecting our winters for years to come.

Great Northern Brewing Company

Whitefish Mountain Resort | Whitefish, Montana

About an hour south of the Canadian border in the upper reaches of Montana, lies the Whitefish Mountain Resort and the nearby Great Northern Brewing Company. More than 3,000 acres of terrain are covered by an average annual snowfall of 300”. Combine that with the lack of lift lines, and you’ll be sure to find some fresh Rocky Mountain powder.

Sawtooth Brewery

Sun Valley Resort | Sun Valley, Idaho

A little over a month ago, Sawtooth Brewery in Ketchum, Idaho, opened its doors to the public, giving Sun Valley skiers and riders something to look forward to after the lifts stop spinning. Be sure to try their First Chair Coffee Stout or visit them as they host their first annual Homebrew Day on February 11, where they’ll teach you the ins and outs of homebrewing, while having a great time with others.

Telluride Brewing Co.

Telluride Ski Resort | Telluride, Colorado

Located in the San Juan Mountains in Southern Colorado, Telluride boasts a wide variety of terrain for beginners and experts alike. Experts have plenty of hike-to terrain to keep them happy, while families can enjoy skiing together on some of the groomed runs with majestic views.

Back in town, Chris Fish and Tommy Thacher were brought together by their love for skiing and their quest for the perfect beer. For years they talked about opening their own brewery and just last May, their dream became a reality with Telluride Brewing Co. After a long day hiking the Gold Hill Chutes or Palmyra Peak, head back into town to the newly-opened brewery to see what they’re all about.

Thai Me Up & Snake River Brewery

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort | Jackson Hole, Wyoming

“The Village” boasts some of the most challenging in-bounds terrain in the U.S. and the surrounding backcountry holds classic ski-mountaineering routes such as the Ford/Stettner on the Grand Teton or the Glacier Route on the Middle Teton. But whichever route you choose, be sure to head back to downtown Jackson’s craft beer choices.

Thai Me Up Restaurant & Brewery, founded by Jeremy Tofte in 2000 as Jackson’s first Thai restaurant, doesn’t cut corners on making authentic Thai food or placing his handcrafted beers beside it. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while kicking back with one of their signature beers or a brew from their impressive guest tap list.

Just around the corner, Snake River Brewery’s Zonker Stout has won gold medals at both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. This intensely roasted, but well-balanced Foreign-Style Stout is one of my personal favorites after a day of skiing in Jackson Hole

Trapp Family Lodge and Brewery

Stowe Mountain Resort | Stowe, Vermont

Not only is the Trapp Family Lodge and Brewery close to the historic Stowe Ski Area in the Green Mountains of Vermont, but there’s also some great backcountry skiing on the family property. They are one of the few ‘Bed and Brews’ of America, meaning they brew their own craft beer on the hotel grounds. A ski-in-ski-out doesn’t get much better than this.

These are only a few of the ski-town brews, what other breweries do you visit after a day of playing in the snow?


Anthony OrigAnthony Orig is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with degrees in Environmental Studies and Geography. As an avid outdoor enthusiast, he enjoys craft brews the most after long days of exploring in the mountains. Still new to the craft beer brewing world, he looks forward to learning more about the industry and meeting the people behind the beer. Follow his daily beer and mountain adventures on Twitter.