Gourmet pizza? Grilled salmon salad? Don?t be surprised to find these among the selections at mid-mountain restaurants in ski country. The choices are dizzying, and so are the price tags. $15 for a burger and fries? You bet. $12 for a plate of pasta with a mouth-watering sauce? Absolutely. At most ski resort areas you won?t complain about the quality of the food, but the tab can be a bit hard to swallow. A day of snowskiing can work up a hearty appetite. Four days on the snow with a family of four eating lunch at mountain restaurants can cost $400 or more. Here are a few tips to keep the cost down when staying fueled up on the snowboard:
1. Eat a hearty breakfast in your room. Most accommodations have a kitchenette or lobby breakfast area where you can prepare oatmeal, bagels, fruit or granola. Fill your stomach before you hit the chairlift. You?ll feel stronger on your snow skis if your tummy is full.
2. Pack snacks in your pockets. When I was a kid, I would stuff my pockets with granola bars, raisins, candy bars and whatever else I could munch on while riding the chairlift. Refueling while my legs were dangling from the chair was a great way to maximize my time on the snow, and I never crashed from calorie deficit.
3. Brown bag basics. There are some lunch items you can easily pack in your ski jacket or ski pants. My gosh, that?s what all those pockets are for, right? Bring along some sliced cheese, crackers, an envelope of instant soup mix, a candy bar, a packet of hot chocolate. These are all things you can buy at reasonable prices at the grocery store in town. Most mountain restaurants offer free hot water, so you can have a warm soup or hot cocoa without breaking your wallet.
4. Invite a friend. Mountain chefs don?t skimp on quality or quantity. Most meals are large enough to feed at least two people. You cut the cost in half if you split an entree.
5. Splurge on treats. There are those days you just really want the giant hamburger and plate of crispy fries. Or maybe that 6-inch chocolate chip cookie has been calling your name. Go for it! Buying a special treat or planning one day to eat whatever menu item you?ve had your eye on is part of the vacation. Enjoy it!