After a day on the slopes, you’re tired and hungry and want to relax. Bring on the comfort food! Of course, mountain resorts can bring comfort food to a whole new level of enjoyment, from the incredible views to the top-notch chefs preparing it. Plus everything tastes better after a full day on the slopes.
Most resorts offer plenty of choices then it comes to dining—from multi-starred restaurants to a burger just off the chair lift. Either can be memorable. Sometimes you want sit by the fire and be blown-away by the impressive cuisine. Other time you just want something to eat right now—and when you can find something great to eat that’s also fast, it’s a true pleasure. When it comes to après ski dining, we looked for a little bit of both as we examined some of the top resorts in the west. Here are some of your best bets to ensure a fine, relaxing meal after good day on the snow.
Getting to Beano’s Cabin is half the fun. In the winter, the only way to get there is by a scenic 20-minute open-air sleigh ride pulled by a snow cat. Once at the restaurant you’ll enjoy some incredible cuisine throughout the five-course dinner, plus live music. For many visitors to Beavers Creek, Beano’s Cabin is a must-do part of the ski vacation. The menu changes often, and diners have a choice of several entrees as part of the dinner. The chicken pot pie will spoil the dish for you anywhere else, but it’s worth it. Another staple is the 48-hour braised tender belly pork, with espelette pepper jam, heirloom grits, pickled celery and carrots. It’s a bit of a taste of the south up high in the mountains, but unlike anything you’ve ever had before. Make reservations early to ensure a spot at the table.
Vail is filled with fine dining options with sophisticated fare. But what many Vail patrons remember is the buffalo chili that they’re able to get at Two Elk Restaurant. It’s dubbed “world famous,” and with visitors from around the globe skiing at Vail, this is undoubtedly true. In addition to the chili, you’ll get to enjoy a mountaintop, lodge-style restaurant with spectacular views. You’ll find the restaurant at 11,240 feet altitude, at the top of Sourdough Express Lift (#14), Sun Up Lift (#17) and Tea Cup Express Lift (36). If chili isn’t your thing, you can load up at their impressive salad bar. Make sure to include plenty of beans for that extra protein. The menu is packed with tasty treats, from burgers and wraps to soups and pastas, to get you refueled quickly without sacrificing taste.
Park City Mountain Resort
In Park City, Utah, the Viking Yurt is has become a staple for visitors, both during the day and in the evening. In the afternoon, skiers can take advantage of the Nordic building to enjoy homemade sandwiches and cookies, plus a glass of wine (maybe of the hot spiced variety?) while you take a break. You’ll also find artisanal cheeses, their famous tomato soup, and apple strudel. But in the evening, the Viking Yurt becomes a fine dining adventure unlike any other in the world. Each diner arrives via sleigh ride for this four-hour European adventure dining experience that is limited to 40 guests per evening. The gourmet, six-course dinner begins with glogg (a hot, non-alcoholic berry based drink spiced with cardamon, nutmeg and cinnamon), and include the restaurant’s signature entrée: braised short ribs with Jarlsberg mashed potatoes, red wine lingonberry braising jus and winter vegetables. It certainly hits the spot after a day on the slopes—and will be one of the most memorable meals of your life.
At Keystone Resort in Colorado, you’ll find the highest AAA Four-Diamond dining experience in North America at Alpenglow Stube. Take in the breathtaking views while traveling via gondola to the top of the North Peak at 11,444 feet. There the award-winning chefs have created Bavarian-inspired cuisine that is just as impressive as the views. Go for those comfort favorites, like the Colorado Lamb. Or the Berkshire Pork Osso Bucco, which comes with a creamy Boursin polenta, baby root vegetables, gremolata, and a cabernet braising broth. You’ve had stew before, but it’s nothing like this.
The newest offering at Breckenridge is Pioneer Crossing, which sits next to the Independence SuperChair at the top of Peak 7. This dining spot has more than 490 seats, floor-to-ceiling views, and a creative, homey menu offering “upscale campfire food.” Just opened this season, Pioneer Crossing has quickly gained a reputation for its fine Colorado lamb. You’ll have a hard time deciding which is more impressive, the food on your plate or the view from the top of the mountain.
When in Lake Tahoe, head to Heavenly Resort and grab a seat at Steins restaurant, which is known for its beer and brats—as if you couldn’t tell by the name. Everything about the experience is social and relaxing. Inside you’ll find plenty of choices for beer on tap, plus European-themed grilled sausages to really give you the flavor of the Alps. Sit in an Adirondack chair outside and take in the sun while enjoying a quick meal. Steins also features stews, soups, and chili, so whatever your comfort-food favorite, you’ll find something to bring a smile to your face.
Northstar California Resort
At Lake Tahoe’s Northstar California Resort, the Zephyr Lodge is the iconic gathering spot, an Alpine lodge with floor-to-ceiling windows and jaw-dropping views of the Sierra Nevada range, featuring original and contemporary signature dishes and cuisine. Enjoy an excellent burger and wash it down with some craft beer, regional wine or one of its signature cocktails. Located at the top of Zephyr Express gondola, the restaurant also features build-your-own Asian Fusion bowls, which you won’t find at every ski resort. Choose your noodles, veggies, proteins, and spices, and then sit back and enjoy the pot of warm goodness that you created.
Featured image provided by © Vail Resorts