One of the best things about skiing is that you work up a big appetite – and so do your kids. Since a ski trip is supposed to be a vacation for every family member, it can be a little tricky to keep everyone sufficiently fed without feeling like all you’re doing is cooking and washing dishes. There’s lots of great ski area dining around, but paying resort restaurant prices for every meal isn’t an option for every family.
Make breakfast a big meal
Even if you don’t usually eat a big breakfast at home, chowing down before you hit the slopes will give you energy to ski through the morning. If you are renting a condo with a kitchen, you can easily make a hot breakfast (eggs are a great choice) but even a hotel room with a fridge and coffee maker provides the opportunity to serve your family instant oatmeal, which you can doctor up with dried fruit, nuts, and milk to make it more filling. Try to make sure everyone gets at least a little protein – toast or bread with nut butter is a good choice as is cheese.
Eating breakfast where you are staying and before you get geared up will save you time and get you on the slopes sooner. Making it yourself will save you money.
Pack smart snacks
The key to skiing snacks is volume – you really can’t have too many of them. Slip at least one snack in each pocket of your kids’ coats and you know they’ll be covered. Good snack options include dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, whole-grain pretzels, and cheese sticks.
Mix it up at lunch time
Depending on the ski resort, lunch food varies from greasy to gourmet. But one thing is generally consistent: It’s almost always very expensive to eat on the mountain. If you don’t feel like packing a full lunch every day, try mixing and matching. Make sandwiches in your condo or hotel room, but supplement them with a salad or fries from the ski area cafeteria. Or pack all your sides (chips, fruit, carrot sticks) and shell out for a sandwich or bowl of hot soup.
Another money-saving, Earth-loving tip: Bring your own refillable water bottles for cold water and travel mugs for hot drinks. Pack a few packets of hot chocolate or tea bags.
Enjoy dinner out
But do a little research first. Many skiing towns have great family restaurants offering everything from pizza to tapas to home-smoked ribs. Before your trip, use sites like LocalEats to scope out the best options in town and check out the prices on the menu. Some restaurants offer coupons or early bird specials for families. The tourist information office in town can be a good source of both information and bargains for savvy skiing families.
If you’re looking for grocery and meal suggestions, check out my family ski trip grocery list.