After a long day on the slopes, as the chill in the air stings your cheeks during the last few moments of daylight, you probably can’t wait to reward yourself for après-ski. What could be better than visiting a cozy distillery in a charming ski town, where you can warm up, unwind, and savor some of the finest spirits and craft cocktails? What’s more, a number of distilleries have their own restaurants. So we’ve curated a list of some of the top distilleries nestled in or near some of America’s most charming ski towns.
Whether you’re a whiskey enthusiast, craft cocktail connoisseur, or you simply love seeking out unique après-ski experiences, these distilleries offer a blend of adventure, delicious drinks, and chill après-ski vibes. Let’s embark on a spirited journey to discover the best ski town distilleries to visit on a ski vacation.
The Best Ski Town Distilleries
High West Distillery, Park City, Utah
We lead off with the world’s first and only ski-in, ski-out distillery, High West Saloon. Located just off Main Street in the heart of Old Town Park City, High West sits at the bottom of Park City Mountain’s aptly named run, ‘Quittin’ Time.’ Founded in 2006, High West began as a small saloon in a historic livery stable and garage with a 250-gallon still. Over the years, it’s grown into a globally recognized brand, most known for its award-winning whiskey.
Skiers and après enthusiasts can enjoy a bite and a craft cocktail, or taste through High West’s line of spirits; fan favorites include High West’s double rye and bourbon. Whiskey enthusiasts are invited to tour the distillery, which has expanded to Wanship, Utah. High West staff walk guests through the distillation process, from blending to aging to bottling operations. Tours start every hour on the hour and generally take about 45 minutes. Visitors looking for a more upscale experience can book a dinner reservation at The Nelson Cottage (just up the street from the Saloon) for fine dining with whiskey pairings to complement each course. Dinner starts at $95 per guest, with optional whiskey pairings starting at $50 per guest.
Jackson Hole Still Works, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Located on the edge of Jackson Town Square in downtown Jackson is the local staple, Jackson Hole Still Works. Known for its “grain to glass” distilling approach, Jackson Hole Still Works sources grains for its spirits from regional and local farms. Jackson Hole Still Works does the rest in-house, milling the grain, mashing, fermenting, distilling, aging, and bottling. No part of the distilling process is outsourced, which Jackson Hole Still Works argues yields an overall better product.
Even Jackson Hole Still Works’ bottles have a personal touch. Their signature vodka features different artwork annually by a local artist as part of a fundraiser for the Art Association of Jackson Hole. Artists are invited to submit their work from around the state of Wyoming for a chance to win $2,000, their art on the label for a year, and a six-bottle case of Jackson Hole Vodka.
Jackson Hole Still Works is well known for its vodka and gin. Each batch of vodka or gin is produced using a sustainable process that helps preserve the grain used to make the spirit. Water that comes through their cisterns is recycled, saving 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water per year. Visitors can tour the distillery to see the process up close and personal by using the Jackson Hole Still Works online booking system. Tours are $15 a person, and start times are available at 2 and 4 p.m. Arguably the most fun part about this local watering hole is that visitors can grab a world-famous sloshie, a true Wyoming staple, from the walk-up window every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Montanya Distillers, Crested Butte, Colorado
Located in the heart of the small town of Crested Butte, Montanya Distillers is a female-owned and female-founded distillery specializing in a spirit not typically native to mountainous regions – rum. Montanya Distillers specializes in premium aged rum, made without added sugar or additives, which keeps the distilling process clean and safe for those with gluten-related dietary restrictions, just like the company’s founder, Karen Hoskin.
Montanya Distillers started with humble beginnings in Silverton, Colorado, inside a 100-year-old, 800-square-foot stone building that was once a brothel. Since then, the company has grown to be recognized internationally and moved to Crested Butte, which it now calls home with its tasting room, warehouse, and distillery. The tasting room, located off Elk Avenue in downtown Crested Butte, offers cocktails, small bites, and tastings of Montanya’s award-winning rum for skiers and riders fresh off the mountain.
For enthusiasts hoping to get an inside look at the distilling process, tours are offered at the distillery in Riverland Industrial Park, about 10 minutes outside Crested Butte and 2 miles from the cocktail bar. Guests have two touring options: a regular tour/tasting and a connoisseur tour. Both offer an inside look at how “high mountain rum” is made, from the fermentation vessels to the custom copper pot still.
Woody Creek Distillers, Aspen, Colorado
Fifteen miles west of Aspen in Basalt, Colorado, you’ll find Woody Creek Distillery, a great après option for Aspen skiers looking to get out of the hustle and bustle that is downtown Aspen during peak winter months. Started by a trio of friends in 2012, Woody’s makes bourbon, gin, rye whiskey, and vodka, using produce and grains grown on their family and neighbors’ farms in the Woody Creek region of Colorado. All grains for their whiskeys are locally sourced in Colorado, and 100% of the potatoes that make up their vodka and base spirit of gin are grown on their farm in Basalt. For “true rye connoisseurs,” Woody’s recently released a limited edition, 10-year-old whiskey personally selected from barrels by William H. Macy (yes, that William Macy, the actor), a neighbor to the local farm.
Guests visiting Woody Creek Distillers can expect an array of delicious cocktails, a mix of classics, and seasonal selections that change as the seasons do. Individual bottles are available for purchase, or visitors can dabble in Woody’s line of single-barrel whiskey, which is only available in-house at the distillery. Tastings are available at 3 p.m. for $15.
Breckenridge Distillery, Breckenridge, Colorado
Founded in 2008, Breckenridge Distillery, the “World’s Highest Distillery,” is known for its blended bourbon whiskey, a 4x winner of Best American Blended at the World Whiskies Awards. Among other spirits, Breckenridge Distillery also produces rum, gin, vodka, absinthe, and aquavit. Visitors looking to wind down with a meal and a cocktail after a long day of skiing can utilize the distillery’s free shuttle, transporting visitors to and from Breckenridge to the distillery, which doubles as a tasting room and restaurant.
Inside, you’ll find a full menu, a shortened happy hour menu, a wide-range of craft cocktails notably crafted by Billie Keithley (Icons of Whisky America’s Bar Manager of the Year in 2021), and lots of local art. For frequent visitors, Breckenridge Distillery offers a members-only Whiskey Club, a lounge that invites patrons to hang out, get comfortable, and enjoy table service of spirits pulled directly from their personal “stash” or locker, plus items from the bar menu.
Distillery tours are available on weekends for $35 a person and offer guests a chance to walk through the original production facility, taste vodka, gin, and whiskey, and even take home a signature tasting glass. Upgraded experiences are available for those who really want to dig into the nitty gritty.
10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Co., Vail, Colorado
Located in the heart of Vail Village, the 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirit Company tasting room offers a lounge and pub-style experience that overlooks Gore Creek, accompanied by a full bar selection of spirits, flights, barrel-aged cocktails, full bottles for purchase, and even cigars. It’s named in honor of the 10th Mountain Division, a group of skiing soldiers who fought in World War II in Italy’s Apennines Mountains. The 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirit Company hopes to continue on the legacy of the veterans who returned home to the Colorado mountains after the war and went on to found and manage some of the U.S. ski areas we know and love today.
For those looking to visit the distillery itself, you’ll have to pop off your ski boots and take a drive down I-70 to Gypsum, Colorado, just a few miles west of the Eagle County Airport. There, you’ll be able to tour the facility with an existing reservation and experience a different kind of tasting room that serves spirits and cocktails. Be sure to plan ahead, as tours are only offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
New World Distillery, Eden, Utah
Just 15 minutes from Powder Mountain and 20 minutes from Snowbasin, New World Distillery in Eden, Utah, is a hidden gem, with a free invite to “tromp on in with hiking boots, ski boots or muddy sandals from Pineview, Powder Mountain Nordic Valley, and beyond.” Founder Chris Cross was once a backyard distiller who, in partnership with his wife, Ashley, developed his passion into a full-blown business. Today, the distillery offers a wide variety of spirits, including Rabbit and Grass Agave Spirits, Ogden Valley Vodka, Wasatch Blossom Utah Tart Cherry Liqueur, Oomaw Gin, Ogden Nine Rails Bourbon, and the Uncharted Series Apple Brandy.
Tours of the distillery are offered every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the peak winter seasons and are $20 a person. New World Distillery currently offers tastings and full-bottle purchases, while you can find their spirits in cocktails at local restaurants and bars.
Shelter Distilling, Mammoth Lakes, California
Conveniently located at the Village at Mammoth, you’ll find Shelter Distilling, founded in 2017 by Matt Hammer, Karl Anderson, and Jason Senior. Shelter was born from a coffee/beer collaboration between the three when Hammer retired from professional snowboarding and turned to coffee roasting as a fresh start. Shelter spirits include whiskey, bourbon, gin, California agave, vodka, absinthe, and liqueurs. If you’re looking for a more “to-go” friendly option, canned cocktails are also available for purchase in flavors ranging from a spicy paloma to whiskey peach.
Shelter Distilling is open for lunch, après-ski, and dinner, with indoor and heated outdoor seating available. Its food menu is full of hearty après favorites, including tacos, artichoke dip, pizza, and burgers. If you like the spirits you try, you can buy bottles online and have them shipped to your house, with free shipping available for orders over $99.
Killington Distillery, Killington, Vermont
Home to what they call “Vermont’s finest craft spirits,” Killington Distillery is known for its Maple Cask, a bourbon with notes of Vermont’s famous maple syrup. This is Vermont after all, where the sugar maple is the state tree. The distillery also makes a tequila-inspired agave spirit, gin, vodka, and rum. Bonus: Killington Distillery is just minutes from the base of Killington Resort.
Come for the cocktails but stay for the food. Killington Distillery’s food menu is farm-to-table, meaning you can pair your cocktail with fresh, local offerings from farms around the area. Just ask your server for recommendations, as each menu item is meant to be paired with a particular signature cocktail. Sliced fig flatbread and pumpkin gnocchi, anyone?
After a thrilling day skiing, there’s nothing quite like unwinding with a well-crafted spirit in a charming ski town. The distilleries we’ve highlighted in this guide offer a chance to discover quality libations and connect with local culture. Whether you’re sipping a handcrafted cocktail, exploring the distillation process, or simply enjoying the après-ski ambiance, each distillery adds a unique dimension to your winter adventure. So, on your next skiing vacation, consider a detour to one of these ski town distilleries for a memorable experience that blends mountain thrills with exceptional spirits. Cheers to the perfect après-ski capstone!
Header image: ©Liam Doran / Breckenridge Distillery