Welcome to Back to Ski Week, a preview of the upcoming downhill ski season for families. All week long we’ll be thinking snow and I’ll be sharing not only my own tips for planning a family ski vacation but also stories and ideas from other family travel bloggers. If you’re looking for more downhill skiing tips, reviews of ski areas from around the world, or just some stories from families who ski, be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook and check out the Back to Ski Pinterest board where you’ll find posts from other skiing family travel bloggers.
One of the best aspects of a family ski trip, other than the actual skiing of course, is the chance to consume lots of guilt-free calories. When you spend the entire day exercising in the fresh air you are, in my view, totally entitled to include bacon in every aspect of your dinner, including your cocktail and your dessert. (And if you don’t think I’m woman enough to do this, I’ll take that challenge any time.)
So without further ado, in honor of my second-favorite thing to do on a ski vacation, I present some of my top picks for eating in and around the ski resorts I’ve visited with my family.
Favorite breakfast. Generally speaking we don’t like to do breakfast out when we’re on a ski trip because it cuts into our time on the mountain. Our approach is usually to load up on carbs and protein as quickly as possible in our condo and then head straight for the slopes. But I’d make one exception to this rule at Smuggler’s Notch, where just down the road in Jeffersonville at the Mix Café you’ll find French toast I actually called without any question in my mind “the best in Vermont.” And if sweets aren’t your thing for breakfast, don’t worry, because they’ve got options of the egg variety too.
Favorite chili. I’ve been eating chili at the Mad River Glen Basebox in Vermont since I was about ten years old and I never tire of it. Meaty, beefy, perfectly seasoned, and especially delightful when accompanied by several packets of Saltine crackers, this makes for an old-school ski cafeteria lunch at its best. You won’t need anything else until dinner – except maybe a big drink of water (or beer).
Favorite lunch without the kids. I find it hard to believe that any restaurant could beat then the Alpenglow Stube at Keystone Resort in Colorado. (Certainly few high-end dining spots can claim to be any higher up – at 11,444 feet, it is the highest AAA Four Diamond Restaurant in the United States.) Head in right off the trail, and the first thing that happens is someone with a smile hands you soft, warm booties to put on. Then you’ll be led into a gorgeous light-filled dining room where you’ll have your choice of locally-sourced dishes, all beautifully plated and skillfully served. It’s a little dose of heaven, especially since your kids are happily eating burgers on the mountain with their ski school pals.
Favorite kids menu. I haven’t actually skied at Stowe, Vermont yet (though it’s on my to-do list for this winter!) but I did stay at Stowe Mountain Lodge on a summer visit, and the kids menu here is pretty excellent. It’s not so much that the food is revolutionary – you’ll find the macaroni and cheese and the chicken tenders we and our children have come to expect. But when the food arrives it does offer surprises like the fact that the mac and cheese is actually whole-grain pasta in a creamy béchamel sauce served with a side dishe of sweet local carrots. The kid-sized desserts, including miniature cupcakes, are both delicious and adorable.
Favorite on-mountain themed eating experience. This one is pretty much no contest. Let’s see why…Gondola ride to the top of a very tall mountain? Check. Huge stone fireplace? Check. Staff wearing lederhosen? Check. Obscene amounts of cheese and meat? Check. The Chicken Dance? You betcha! Keystone Resort’s Der Fondue Chessel is supremely yummy family fun.
And if you can’t make it all the way to Colorado, well, I’m happy to report that the chef has graciously shared the fondue recipe so that you can make it at home. I knew I loved that place!
Now it’s your turn: What are your favorite places to eat when you ski? Please dish them up in the comments.