Some après-ski bars serve you a cold beer and a colder plate of nachos before sending you back to the condo. Others ply you with enough steins, shots, and ski-boot dancing to jeopardize your following day on the slopes. These are the latter.
General Stark's Pub & Grill (Mad River Glen, Vermont)
Vermont's Mad River Glen is revered for many things; namely, 48 classic, rarely groomed New England trails; its historic single chair (one of two left in the nation); and the fact that it's the only American ski area that's owned by a co-op.
If, however, you could append a fourth attribute to this holy trinity of authenticity, it would be General Stark's Pub & Grill.
Rooted at the 1,600-foot base of its namesake mountain, just off the "resort's" dirt parking lot, the clapboard General Stark's Pub is almost as integral to Mad River Glen's soul as the families who have skied here for generations, many of whom you'll meet inside. Post up at the bar, where regulars' mugs hang from the ceiling, or congregate around the stone fireplace over a pint of locally brewed Lawsons or Magic Hat, whose Single Chair ale celebrates the unique ski area. Come spring, the party migrates outside onto the front deck, where cocktails, burgers, and brisket pair perfectly with views of the steeply pitched trails looming above.
Pop a squat on one of the many picnic tables and toast a day well spent among friendly skiers and telemarkers (sorry, no snowboarders allowed), who will gladly wax evangelical about the beautifully preserved ski area. Believe us, this is one cult you want to belong to.