It’s the middle of the day and you’ve been pounding powder since the lifts opened. Though your super-human stamina allows you to continue the crushing until the sun sets, your stomach is yodeling louder than the guy in the Ricola commercial—it’s time to feed the beast.

But the beast is fastidious. Nuclear neon nachos will not suffice; hockey puck pizza is not an option. The beast is desirous of something different, something unique.

At these resorts, the beast will feast.

Wicked Waffles

Waffles—they’re not just for breakfast anymore. If 2013 was the year of the Cronut, 2014 just might be the year of the waffle. While there are sweet options for those who like to consume their calories in the form of hot fudge sauce and whipped cream, we recommend the savory versions at the Ullrhof on Snowmass Mountain. Ski-in then ski-out with your stomach full of waffle-goodness: choose from the southern classic, Chicken and Waffle, or the more avant-garde Chili-Cheese Waffle, topped with local grass-fed beef chili and cheese.

Sometimes it’s hip to be square—or rectangular. New this season, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek at the base of Beaver Creek will be serving up house-made Belgian waffle sticks. No, it’s not a waffle on a stick, silly. Well, it is, but it’s also shaped like a stick…moving on. These waffles have been cleverly designed for optimum holding and come in a variety of toppings that are sure to decorate the front of your jacket beautifully, including strawberries, chocolate dipping sauce, sprinkles and whipped cream.

Unique Foods at Ski Resorts; Waffle Sticks at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek.

So Comforting

When you stomp into the lodge completely covered in snow, looking more like an abominable snowman than a viciously hungry human, there’s nothing that will warm you up inside and out like comfort food. We’re talking stuff that fills you up and never lets you down—like the humble grilled cheese.

At the Bullwheel at Mount Snow in Vermont, they’ve taken that classic sandwich and are allowing you to pimp it out to your extremely strict specifications with an opportunity to “Build Your Own Grilled Cheese.” Choose your cheese: choices range from classic American to gooey Gruyere to Vermont’s own Cheddar. Then start adding stuff to totally own this bad boy: tomato? Sure. Caramelized onions? Yup. Bacon, pork, ham and Kielbasa? Now you’re talking. The best part? No ironing involved.

Put all of the jokes about Colorado and its legalization of a certain substance aside. At Steamboat Ski Resort, chicken pot pie is legit, a comfort food classic that is just waiting to settle into your belly like a warm, comfy blanket. Stuffed with tender beef, white meat turkey or all natural chicken and vegetables and covered with flaky house-made crust, the only thing that would make this dish better is if it were portable…

We’ll be back in a minute–just working on a few design elements*.

Unique Foods at Ski Resorts: Pot Pie at Steamboat.

It’s Totally Kosher

We understand dietary restrictions, we really do. Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, all vegan menus are few and far between. Searching for them will often illicit eye rolls and under-the-breath grumbling from friends (non-friends tend to voice their opinions with their outdoor voices). Some diets are more…sanctioned, if you will.

Enter the Bistro at Silverado Lodge at the Canyons Resort in Utah. Bistro is the only purely Kosher restaurant at a ski resort in North America and offers delicious, glatt-kosher cuisine as well as a Friday Sabbath dinner–because everyone knows that skiing can be considered a religious experience.

Hot Doggin’

Oh, you don’t like hot dogs? Are you having a flashback to the skinny, lurid pink specimens that flopped on your lunch tray? Shake off those elementary school specters, my friend. The hot dog has come a long way; you can set your inner beast on these bad boys and erase all of those nightmares from third grade. Well, the ones that have to do with cafeteria food, anyway.

Head to The Shack at Park City to create a frankfurter masterpiece. The Shack supplies 13 different toppings like King Sauce, shredded cheddar jack, jalapenos, diced onions, grilled onions, diced tomatoes, pickle slices, diced cucumbers, sauerkraut, cream cheese, Cheese Whiz, coleslaw, celery salt or potato sticks that can create more than 6 BILLION different hot dog combinations. You can mix and match to your heart’s content or add them all and see if you can finish this massive ‘dog. The Shack is located at the bottom of the Superpipe and the 3 Kings Terrain Park so if you don’t feel like showing off your “Holy Crail,” you can blame it on your full belly.

Repeat after me: “Je voudrais un Frog Dog.” At Euro Snack, located near the Gold Coast Funitel in the Village at Squaw Valley, you can try out the Frog Dog: a hot dog served in a French baguette. Not only does the baguette provide more sustenance than a normal bun, but you can also order it with a fake French accent, which makes you even cooler than that neon onesie does.*

Unique Foods at Ski Resorts: Grab a Frog Dog from the Euro Snack shack

Better Burgers

Though there are many ways to soothe the savage belly beast, sometimes it just takes some meat. Hamburger, to be exact. Hamburgers have been standard ski resort fare since cows were used for moguls in the early 1960s*. The tradition of consuming cow continues, though hamburgers have come a long way from the sickly gray hockey pucks that were sighted in the early 1980s.

At the Handle Bar at Four Seasons Jackson Hole, channel your inner Elvis and order the Peanut Butter Crunch Burger which is topped with bacon marmalade, pimento cheese and ruffled potato chips. Thank you, thank you very much.

Last, but certainly not least: the legendary Gnar Burger from Rocker@Squaw at Squaw Valley. When the beast will not be tamed with a measly 16 oz burger, the Gnar Burger provides four pounds (that’s 64 oz) of California Angus beef, pulled pork, pulled chicken, coleslaw, onion rings and Rocker Sauce. Though the folks at the Rocker claim that it can feed up to eight hungry riders, you won’t be the first to try to finish it by yourself.

Unique Foods at Ski Resorts: The Rocker@Squaw GNAR-Burger

PHOTO: Matt Palmer

Even if you can’t make it to these particular resorts, there are several ways to find unique eats to satisfy the ravenous stomach beast on your next ski trip. Here are a few tips:

  • Do some research. Most resorts are pleased to tout their newest culinary offerings and tastiest morsels—both on and off the snow. Check out the website and social media sites to see what’s cooking (Instagram is a great way to visually whet your appetite).
  • Talk to employees and locals. Go to the source to find good grub. Employees are on the mountain daily, so they’ll know which restaurants have the shortest lines, who’s offering something new or different and how to create the best concoctions from what’s available: granola bar-peanut butter sandwich? Don’t mind if I do.
  • Pick up a paper. Though the wide world of print journalism is changing and morphing, many ski towns still have a local paper. Pick up a copy and peruse both the articles (the arts and entertainment section will often feature culinary round-ups or news about freshly opened restaurants) and the ads—you never know who might be offering two-for-ones or special deals.

(*) This is a total lie. Don’t believe everything you read.

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  • Ashley Lowe

    Hey, I know that writer! Great article, Katie:-) Ashley Lowe