On-Mountain Ski Food
You’ve come to expect me to share my outdoor adventure knowledge, and I am not going to change gears completely, but a girl gets hungry. (Especially if she is outdoor adventuring a whole bunch.) So this blog is dedicated to one of my other favorite things besides skiing, which is lunch.There are two options for lunch at a ski resort. The first is to brown bag it/pack your own, and the second is to forage when you get there.
To give homage to the brown bag crowd, this is definitely the most economical and quite often, the healthiest option. I was brought up on this team, though my parents used an L.L. Bean tote bag, not a brown bag to pack our family lunches. Of course, I often needed an afternoon snack of soup from Maria who ran the cafeteria. It seemed like such a luxury to have this cup of soup in the afternoon, though I am sure it was standard Campbell’s chicken noodle. And that may have started my addiction to eating on-mountain despite the sometimes lackluster options.
Of course the other reason, I often opt to not brown bag it, is that it’s hard to pack a lunch when you are heading to the mountain. It can be done, but with all the planning it takes to actually get to there in the first place, food is one of those things that is easier to deal with later. Most resorts have pretty typical fare — burgers, fries, pizza. I’ve noticed in the past five plus years, there are certainly more and better options.
One of my favorite on-mountain treats at Killington Resort in Vermont is Ana’s Empanada’s, conveniently located in the Needle’s Eye area by the mid-station of the Skyship gondola. Made by a lovely husband and wife team (Ana is the wife if you did not guess already), the empanadas are all natural and made with local and fresh ingredients. You’ve never had an empanada? They are Latin American pastry or bread pockets stuffed with deliciousness, then sealed and baked or fried. The inspiration for a Hot Pocket probably came from someone who ate an empanada and thought, “We could make this into something gross and highly processed, freeze it, and sell it to lots of people who are too lazy to cook, or don’t know how delicious an authentic, home-made empanada is.”
My favorite empanada from Ana’s is The Butternut: Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and wild mushrooms with a touch of hot chiles (extra chimichurri salsa, please). I think that I could drink the salsa straight and be totally blissed out for days. Of course, people would start avoiding me from the intense garlic odor seeping from my every pore. If you are from the brown bag/pack your own lunch school, they’ve opened a location in downtown Rutland, Vermont. You could buy a batch on your way to the mountain, but you might eat them all by the time you get to the mountain. So, maybe that is not an option.
I am going to move from the savory to the sweet. I think that the best sweet to purchase at a ski resort is a Snickers bar. You will pay $2 for it, but it’s the perfect afternoon snack if you’ve been skiing hard all day long. Snickers really does satisfy, as they say. I recommend the added expense of purchasing this tasty treat at the mountain because it is sort of gross to eat a warm, mushy Snickers bar in the afternoon. Buy it. Eat it. Don’t allow for lag time.
Of course, you might not make it inside the lodge to purchase a Snickers bar if you catch a whiff of a waffle wafting through the air. I’ve seen these waffle shacks everywhere lately, it seems.
The Waffle Cabin at Okemo has been featured on The Travel Channel’s “Extreme Fast Food” show, as the most extreme drive-through in the country, according to Okemo PR Director Bonnie MacPherson. “Sure, the Belgian style waffles are delicious, but the best part is that you can ski right up to the window and wrap a mitten around a piping hot waffle. . .and keep right on skiing. The secret ingredient that makes these waffles irresistible is special beet sugar, imported from Europe. Sugar crystal nips baked into the batter give the waffles an extra little crunch as they caramelize on the outside of the waffle.”
After all that sweet, I am going to end with something savory, and also something that appeals to the brown bag crowd. I have never done this, and I probably won’t try it myself, but for spud fans, here’s one for the recipe box. Back in the days of true frugality, Stowe Mountain Resort’s Jeff Wise, would make a baked stuffed potato, wrap it in foil and put it in his pocket until it was lunch time. “Don’t laugh,” Jeff told me. “It actually tastes good cold, and provides a filling energy boost.”