Lake Tahoe spring skiing season: Where to après-ski outdoors

This week marked the first week of spring, although you wouldn't really know it by looking at the current landscape around Lake Tahoe. Miracle March has certainly lived up to its name, bringing snowstorm after snowstorm this month. But spring skiing will be here before you know it. And what says Lake Tahoe spring skiing like spring après-ski?

So with longer days upon us, and warmer afternoons right around the corner, I’m sharing some of the best North Lake Tahoe outdoor après-ski spots.

1882 Bar & Grill

Located just off the main drag of downtown Truckee, 1882 Bar & Grill can sometimes get overlooked, located on the backside of the River Street Inn. Yet its riverfront patio makes it one of my favorite outdoor bars, perched above the Truckee River and looking out at snowy rolling hills. Named after the year that the building was built, 1882 Bar & Grill features a full bar and barbecue-inspired menu. Arrive early on those nice Lake Tahoe spring skiing days to snag a riverfront table.  

The Backyard Bar & BBQ

The Backyard Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is arguably the most unique outdoor bar in North Lake Tahoe, open year-round and truly ski-in, ski-out. Northstar guests can practically ski or snowboard up to the patio’s steps for a barbecue and craft beer lunch before skiing down to the Village at Northstar for more après-ski festivities. Non-skiers can also take the free Highlands Gondola from the Village at Northstar. If you're a guest of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, enjoy complimentary s'mores featuring house-made marshmallows during the hotel's Marshmology event around the fire pit, daily from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

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Cabana Bars

Northstar California’s Cabana Bars are the Lake Tahoe après-ski experience. What more could you ask for than complimentary afternoon s’mores, s’mores kits, fire pits, craft beer, and custom craft cocktails? Several bars are located around Northstar’s ice rink, with a menu that includes s’mores kits, local craft (and domestic) bar, wine, and craft cocktails like a hot toddy, Bloody Mary, and Dirty Snowman, which is Northstar’s version of a spiked hot chocolate. Keep an eye out for the s’mores chefs bringing around complimentary s’mores during late afternoons.

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 Lone Eagle Grille

For lakefront après-ski on Lake Tahoe, then look no further than Lone Eagle Grille. Located directly on Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, Lone Eagle Grille boasts a lakefront s’mores-roasting experience around a fire pit while overlooking Lake Tahoe and the snow-capped mountains surrounding it. Drink options include a number of local, regional and domestic craft beers, and a fireside drinks menu, featuring my favorite local cocktail, the Almond Joy, with coconut rum, Amaretto, hot chocolate, and whipped cream. Lone Eagle Grille also boasts a wine menu that’s been awarded the Wine Spectator Magazine Award of Excellence for several years. After your waterfront Lake Tahoe après-ski experience, pop into the rustic restaurant for a nice dinner. 

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Mellow Fellow

Craft beer lovers rejoice. Just a couple blocks from 1882 Bar & Grill, on Donner Pass Road, sits my favorite local craft beer bar, Mellow Fellow. A distinguishing characteristic has long been Mellow Fellow’s front porch, just off the sidewalk of downtown Truckee. Recent improvements, however, brought the addition of brand new fire pits and Adirondack chairs out front along the sidewalk. Inside is a craft beer menu featuring more than 40 rotating taps, and a small food menu specializing in gourmet sausages.

Southern born and bred, Spencer was bitten by the travel bug at a young age, flying on a plane for the first time at age five and by himself for the first time at seven. While he continues to travel around the world in search for the best whiskey, Spencer now calls Reno home, where his search is for the best cocktail (and first tracks, naturally). He has written about travel, food, and drinks for a number of publications that have included the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Travel + Leisure, just to name a few. See a more candid version of Spencer on his website, whiskeytangoglobetrot.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.