Is this the season’s chicest après-ski? Every year, it seems like hotels and bars compete to raise the bar on their après-ski experiences. If you’re looking for a wild party with a DJ, Aspen is still the spot to be, but Big Sky, Montana just elevated its après-ski scene with La Grande Après, a collaboration between Veuve Clicquot and Montage Big Sky. The refined experience combines fabulous food and plenty of superb Champagne with stunning mountain views and wonderful service. The highlight is the plethora of La Grande Dame Champagne, which you can enjoy by the glass, in a flight of three different vintages, or by the bottle. If you have time to linger, opt for the flight. It features glasses of La Grande Dame 2012 and 2015 and La Grande Dame Rosé 2012. Cognac lovers might splurge for the French Connection tasting, which offers a glass of La Grande Dame 2015 and a glass of Hennessy Paradis. There’s also a great selection of spirits, wine, and beer if you’re not a Champagne lover.
The food sticks to typical hearty après-ski dishes, but each has an elevated twist. There’s winter crudités toasted on the wood-fired grill, celery root chowder with caviar, smoked potato dip with caviar, and caviar service (notice a theme here?). Those with bigger appetites from a long day on the slopes will want to order the brisket sandwich or the jalapeno cheddar smoked sausage on a pretzel roll. There’s chili, of course, but it’s made with local Montana bison or with Impossible meat.
Backcast is decked in design elements from Paola Paronetta, the Italian artist who designed the packaging and label for La Grande Dame 2015. The colorful pieces add a unique twist to the rustic outdoor dining space. La Grande Après is open to hotel guests and the public daily from 12-6 at Montage Big Sky.
words by Kristen Shirley