Whether you ski or ride, a day on the mountain works up a killer appetite. And it’s not a normal 9-5 appetite, it’s a craving for substantial, delicious, and hearty. You’ve worked (played) hard and you deserve some solid fuel to get those energy levels up to shred some more gnar the next day. We’ve rounded up some of the best food in six of the best ski towns in the world. To meet our stringent criteria for great mountain food, we’ve selected restaurants based on how satisfied your mountain hunger will be and not having to sell an arm and a leg to dine there, lift tickets are expensive enough, right? Unless you cop free lift tickets at any of these 22 resorts in Japan.
Here is our listing of the best ski town food around the globe:
Whistler Blackcomb needs no introduction. The granddaddy of ski resorts, consistently rated the best, if not one of the best ski and snowboard resorts in the world.
A huge amount of terrain means there is something for every skier and boarder out there, and just about every cuisine under the sun. There is no end of fine dining in Whistler Village, and no end to the amount of money you can spend on said fine dining. From the incredible meat and seafood at Rim Rock Cafe, to hearty fare at Red Door Bistro, and fine dining at the classic Araxi. All phenomenal dining experiences with price tags to match. However, the aforementioned are a little too pricy to make this list. Our pick for the best Mountain food in Whistler is Splitz Grill. Their tagline says it all: “CASUAL PLACE – SERIOUS BURGERS” all caps too, so you know they’re not messing around.
Check it out:
Pro tip: A little bit of Splitz sauce on your burger is indulgent but necessary, and compliments the burger perfectly. Breaded, fried dill pickles are a serious must order at Splitz.
Vail Colorado is another granddaddy of the North American ski and snowboard scene. With more than 5,200 acres of inbound ski and snowboard terrain, seven miles of backcountry bowls, and the most groomed terrain on the planet, not to mention legendary Colorado Champagne powder, Vail is a force to be reckoned with.
Like Whistler, there is no shortage of high-end restaurants to satiate that Rocky Mountain hunger rumbling in your belly. Sweet Basil offers fine French inspired American dining. Excellent seafood and American fare can be found at La Tour and seasonal, locally sourced haut cuisine is the mainstay of Terra Bistro. But our pick for the best Mountain food in Vail takes it’s name from the mountains it can be found driving around in: Rocky Mountain Taco. This mobile cantina can be found at different locations around Vail based on the what’s poppin’ at what time. Their on-point social media game (@rockymountaintaco) is the best way to find them.
The brainchild of Jose Reza, Chris Mc Ginnis, and Dan Purtell, they serve up delicious, affordable tacos, quesadillas, burritos and tortas (think Mexican sandwich) made fresh from quality ingredients.
Jackson Hole is big country and big skiing and riding. Steep and deep is the way the locals like JH shredding, and with copious amounts of dry powder and the newly opened Sweetwater gondola there is no shortage of amazing terrain to get your stoke on.
With stoke comes hunger! Jackson Hole fine dining options include the delightfully cute Blue Lion, serving up hearty and healthy dishes. Fantastic wine and delicious Italian fare with a modern twist can be found at Bin 22, and Persephone Bakery servers up phenomenal, honest rustic French food. However with its cozy historic Main Street location and home-cooked food with a Southern accent, Cafe Genevieve is where we’d go to power our next JH runs.
Niseko is what powder dreams are made of. There are few places that get huge amounts of perfect, dry powder that Niseko sees consistently every season. Combine that with amazing backcountry terrain and the old school charm of skiing and riding in Japan and Niseko is a powderhound’s dry dream.
Japan is a land of fine dining. You could walk into a 7-11 and find something that is actually food and genuinely delicious. But after a day of waist-deep powder, we crave something a little more satisfying than convenience store fodder. Wine and Dine Rakuda and Karabina are two excellent izakaya style restaurants. Izakayas are small Japanese pub type establishments, usually small and intimate, which serve up hearty small dishes meant to be eaten with beer or Japanese highballs. Izakayas are awesome social experiences not to be missed while in Japan. But if we had one meal in Niseko we’d head to Bang Bang Restaurant. We’re guessing Pew Pew Pew was taken, or it’s named after how much flavor their food punches. Bang Bang Restaurant serves Yakitori, or Japanese grilled skewers and meats. Bang Bang also serves delicious fresh sashimi.
Saas Fee, Switzerland is the jewel of the European Alps, and is renowned for having both amazing Winter and Spring skiing and riding thanks to the large glacier sitting at its top. Big open bowls and bluebird days are what Saas Fee is all about and represents that picture perfect town in the Alps.
Switzerland is bordered by five European countries each of which has distinct cuisines, and all of which are well suited to an alpine appetite. Some of the best offerings in Saas Fee can be found at Essstube, meat heavy fine Swiss dining, Zur Muhle for Swiss comfort food such as stroganoff, rosti, and fondue, and Steakhouse Saas. But if we wanted to kick back after a long day on the mountain in Saas Fee, we’d head to Du Saas-Fee. I mean, it has Saas Fee in the name. Du Saas Fee specializes Swiss classics such as fondue and raclette (mmmmm, raclette).
With 38 lifts, 1150 meters of vertical, 2965 acres of shreddable terrain and amazing weather and snow conditions Cerro Catedral is considered one of the best mountain resorts in South America. Located only 22 km from the city of Bariloche, Cerro Catedral is a mecca for Argentineans and international ski tourists alike, serving up bluebird days and Patagonia powder.
If there is one thing that Argentina does well, it’s grill meat, specifically beef. Argentina is home to some of the world’s best steak. Grass fed and free range, Argentines take their beef seriously and La Salamandra Pulperia in Cerro Catedral does steak right. Rincon Patagonico, Butterfly, and Cassis are all great options, but La Salmandra Pulperia can’t be beat for great food and cozy home-like ambiance. Run by a husband and wife team the food is simple, but perfect in its simplicity. Empanadas, steak, and salad, all you need.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go have a snack.
Japan is firmly planted on the international ski and snowboard map, an exotic dream destination for many. Powderhounds the world over start drooling with the mere mention of ski resorts in the Northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido such as Niseko, Tazawako, and Minow, all of which are known for their insane (see below) amounts of high quality, dry powder.
With these resorts being world class destinations, resorts in Fukushima’s lesser known Aizu and Minami Aizu mountain regions are attempting to put their name on the map by offering free lift tickets to anyone with a foreign passport between the ages of 19-24. Simply present your passport at the ticket window and away you go. Now, before you quip about the misleading title of this article, if you hold a foreign passport and you’re over (or under, not sure there 19) 24 you can get lift tickets for roughly USD $17. Not a bad deal any way you look at it. The offer is available through March 31st, 2017, at 22 ski resorts in the Aizu and Minami Aizu mountain region.
The promotion, as reported by local news agency Rocket News 24, is being held by Visit Fukushima, the prefectures’ tourism board. Some of the best looking resorts participating in the promotion are: