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Best Après-Ski Bets for 2009

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I've already hit the slopes twice this season and have at least three more trips planned for 2009. Here are the newest après-ski hangouts I'll be visiting after spending a day in the snowboard park.

*The Hourglass, the laid-back bar in the spectacular new Stowe Mountain Resort at the base of Mt. Mansfield in Vermont, has an awesome selection of regional microwbrews (the signature Hourglass Ale is made exclusively for the resort by Rock Art Brewery) and an überlocal bar menu from chef Sean Buchanan, which includes dishes like dry-rubbed Misty Knoll chicken wings with mint-yogurt sauce and flatbread topped with delicious artisanal ingredients like Grafton aged cheddar and Maple Brook Farm mozzarella.

*The new $1 billion Snowmass Base Village in Aspen, Colorado, has a handful of hot new post-ski spots, including Liquid Sky at the base of the new gondola, plus two new restaurants in the pipes from Jeffrey Klein, founder of Aspen’s Matsuhisa.
   
*The 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill in the new Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Colorado is conveniently located at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain. Its 20-seat bar has a small-plates menu featuring local ingredients (buffalo from Great Range Buffalo Farms in Colorado; salmon and halibut flown in daily from Seattle’s Pikes Place Fish Market), as well as local Colorado wines, microbrews and local organic spirits. Chef Reese Hay is gong to be making marshmallows in flavors like Grand Marnier for toasting during s’mores happy hour at the outdoor fire pit.

*I fell in love with Moody’s in Truckee, California, a few years back and am thrilled to learn that its supertalented chef, Mark Estee, is opening a second restaurant, Baxter’s, at the Village at Northstar in Tahoe, California. Expect the same selection of exceptional house-made charcuterie and salumi, as well as an extensive list of eaux-de-vie, a wine list heavy on Pinot Noirs and dangerously good cocktails like Baxter’s Naughty Cider–a concoction of unfiltered organic apple juice, Charbay Tahitian vanilla rum and brown sugar topped with spiced-rum whipped cream.

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