Going to a ski resort is the highlight of many snow-lovers' winters (or summers, depending on where they live!). From the fresh powder to the exciting thrills on the slopes, there's a lot to love about adventuring in tons of snow. Of course, plenty of alpine destinations also offer up excellent shopping, tourism opportunities, and dining.
Ah yes, ski resort food. Don't worry: ski resort food is apparently hundreds of times better than you'd expect. Though some places are rundown and a bit questionable, there are long lists of amazing places to grab a bite no matter what mountain you're on.
Resorts care about their customers' experiences because it's not just the snow that makes the resort successful. So, the resort companies care about feeding you and doing it well. Here are 20 strange but true facts about the food at ski resorts.
20 Apres-Ski Isn't Just About Eating & Drinking
There's an entire set of etiquette rules about apres-ski, which literally means "after skiing" in French. The term refers to eating and imbibing after you hit the slopes all day, and as Bravo TV highlights, it's more about socializing than getting sloshed.
19 You Probably Earned Those Calories
If you've spent the entire day skiing, you probably feel like you've earned that greasy burger and fries. And honestly, you probably did. According to Colorado Ski, an hour of skiing burns about 446 calories for the average person. So go ahead and indulge!
18 The Snacks Are Probably Overpriced
Like everything else at ski resorts, from the rental gear to the lift tickets, food is probably overpriced, too. It's part of the experience though, and you're not going to have energy after a day of skiing to go searching for (and cooking) your own food.
17 The Food Can Totally Be Five-Star
While you might imagine cozy bars with bottled adult beverages and thick french fries, plenty of ski resorts have higher-tier offerings. Plenty of ski resorts have Michelin quality food, and some celeb chefs whip up tasty dishes on-site, says Leisure Group Travel.
16 It May Only Taste Good Because Of The Fresh Air
It doesn't really matter what you wind up noshing on post-slopes, because you're going to be famished no matter what. It's that age-old phenomenon of feeling so voracious you'll eat just about anything but also thinking that anything that passes your lips is the most divine dish ever.
15 Resorts Depend On Dining To Round Out Their Offerings
Food is a necessity, sure, but it probably doesn't matter much for ski resorts' bottom lines. Right? Wrong. Actually, many ski resorts depend on their restaurants to bring in the bacon, both literally and figuratively. Resorts like Vail in Colorado make 9 percent of their cash from dining, says The Atlantic.
14 Snowfall Isn't Exactly The Biggest Draw
You might think that it's the snow that draws most visitors to ski resorts. But in fact, it's more about the overall ambiance of the place that encourages people to keep coming back. And that includes the slopes' dining options. After all, no good eats means no return customers.
13 Restaurants Follow The Disneyland Model
Resorts like Vail and Whistler, The Atlantic notes, imitate Disneyland in that they have a monopoly on visitors to their mountains. Every restaurant at your ski resort is owned by the parent company, so no matter where you venture, they're presenting your plate.
12 The Mountain Is Designed For Dining
Because resorts like Vail only get half their cash from ticket sales, the rest has to come from upselling stuff like gear, classes, and food. So they make sure their ski trails swoop straight into dining areas, conveniently directing you where they want you to go for lunch, says The Atlantic.
11 At Some Spots, You Can Keep Your Ski Boots On
Ski resorts understand that taking off your gear can be a major headache. At the same time, they know you need to refuel. So many restaurants let skiers and snowboarders snack right on the slopes, with walk-up service so you can keep your boots on.
10 It's Not One-Size-Fits-All On The Slopes
No matter where in the world you ski or snowboard, resorts know that they need to cater to weary travelers. To that end, many resorts have a long list of dining options, from buffets to smaller, cozier restaurants. Some even have dining hall-type spots to eat at.
9 International Tastes Are A Necessity
In addition to all the dining formats available, from chow halls to fine dining, ski resort operators know they have to appeal to all tastes. That means cuisine from all over the globe, no matter where the resort is located. After all, many skiers will cross oceans to find the best powder.
8 The Food Gets Pretty Exotic
You might think that mountainous ski resorts are stuck with trucked-in frozen or canned ingredients. But the menus at many resorts feature some surprising dishes, like fresh seafood, local bison and venison, and Michelin-quality offerings. Mm, elk burgers.
7 You Can Eat In Super Weird Places
Fancy a 20-minute trek into the woods to visit a yurt for dinner? Plenty of visitors to Killington Resort in Vermont love the experience, says Fodors, and the five-course meals definitely contrast with the ambiance of the place. You can have a bison ribeye and, of course, Vermont cheeses, too.
6 Dashing Through The Snow With A Drink In Hand
Sure, drinking on the slopes is usually frowned upon. But per Fodors, at Sun Valley Resort in Idaho, you can take a horse-drawn sleigh while imbibing. Of course, it'll be during your sleigh ride to a log cabin dinner spot, but still. Bottoms up!
5 Sometimes You Have To Ski In (But It's Worth It)
While some resorts make their restaurants easy to access, others make you work for your plate. At Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado, you can ski-in to one restaurant which offers elk and buffalo chili, venison tacos, and more, says Fodors. Of course, you'll be famished by the time you get there.
4 You Can Literally Dine Atop A Glacier At Whistler
Some restaurants offer burgers and fries. Whistler's Four Seasons Resort hosts oyster, crab, and octopus dinners at a literal glacier that you have to reach by helicopter, says Fodors. One select spot is called the Blue Room and it's in an ice cave! Talk about an epic apres-ski event!
3 Sometimes You Can Ski With Your Chef
Not every staff member at ski resorts is a ski bum. In fact, at Viceroy Snowmass, the resort's executive chef is also a ski guide, explains Fodors. He makes great food, but he can also teach you to ski before dinner. Sweet deal!
2 You Might Get Kinda Lightheaded At Dinner
Whether you're hiking up or down to a restaurant on the slopes, expect that you might feel a bit queasy. At such high heights (some restaurants are another 4,000 feet above the ski resorts themselves), you could begin to experience effects from the lowered oxygen levels in the alpine environment.
1 Getting In And Out Isn't An Easy Task
Though you might be wiped out from skiing all day, you can't expect a quick dinner at most resorts. Unless you're cozying up to the bar for some fast eats, you might spend hours trekking to and from your dining establishment, whether via gondola or snowcat in some cases, plus sampling the menu.