Who says sledding is just for kids? In Europe, rodeling (their term for sledding) is almost more fun when you’re an adult. No matter how good the powder, a highlight of my annual European ski trip is always our dinner rodel adventures. One of the best we’ve experienced is in St. Anton at Rodel-Alm. A snowcat or gondola ride takes diners up to the Rodel-Alm restaurant where you’ll dine on hearty dishes of spaetzle and the signature schweinshaxe (a Flinstone-sized pork knuckle). Meals end with shots of Williams and Heisse Witwe to give diners liquid courage for their journey home. Old-school toboggans are handed out, along with headlamps (if you’re lucky) and you toboggan under the starry night sky down a windy, icy trail. The journey ends at the Rodel-Hütte, where a crowd awaits to cheer you on and tempts daredevils to gain speed and launch off of snowy jumps. The reward: another shot.
2 Unterer Mooserweg
You’ll never truly understand the joy of après ski until you’ve partied in Europe—especially at MooserWirt in St. Anton. Rumored to sell more beer per square foot than any other bar in Austria, MooserWirt epitomizes the après scene, blaring Euro pop tunes and all. Head to the two-floor indoor bar for a DJ-fueled dance party, hit the enclosed tent for shots poured off of skis, or find a spot on the enormous outdoor terrace, where skiers of all ages dance on tables and sing along to cheesy German music. Just be aware that, when the bar shuts its doors around 8 p.m., the tipsy crowed must pour out onto the slopes and ski back down to the base of the mountain.
Tannberg 629, 6764 Lech, Austria
I’ve heard of drinking games that involve cards, dice, and quarters. But a hammer and nails? Now that didn’t seem safe. Yet here I was in the back corner of Lech’s buzzy apres ski bar, Schneggarei, learning a game the locals call Nails or Hammerschlagen. A group gathers around a waist-high log and everyone takes a nail. The goal is to use one hand and hammer your nail all the way into the log using the small, thin edge of the hammer. The loser buys the group a round of drinks. Let’s just say, I still need some practice!
18 Sankt Christoph
Located in St. Anton, Hospiz Alm appeals to those with a penchant for sumptuous steaks and the world’s finest wines. The internationally lauded restaurant offers an authentic Austrian dining experience (the wait staff dons traditional dress) alongside exceptionally cooked classics like schnitzel, spare ribs, and Tiroler grösti (a dish of fried potatoes, pork, onion, and eggs). The pièce de résistance, however, is the wine cellar, which is so extensive it’ll make any connoisseur’s knees weak. Tip: head here in the winter to cozy up next to the blazing open fire.