There’s a saying that goes, A bad day on the mountain is better than a good day at work. It is really tough to argue this logic especially if you are like me and just enjoy spending your winter days outside enjoying the fresh air and, of course, on the mountain playing in the snow. However, having skied most of my life, I have come to realize that not all of these ski days are created equal. There are light and fluffy pow days, bone chilling icey cold days with barely a sprinkle of dust on the crust, warm spring days with soft bumps and so many more. Depending on how the weather sets in, your ski day can and will be different almost every time you head out.
Bottom line is that they are all better than a good day at work simply because you are out there doing what you love and not stuck indoors at a desk staring at a computer screen. And…no matter how good or bad that ski day is, you always have après-ski and all its awesomeness waiting for you when you are finished. Après is the perfect ending to any day on the mountain especially if it includes a frosty beverage accompanied by a delicious appetizer. Apps that are so taste-bud-tantalizingly-good that they serve as the perfect compliment whatever ever kind of ski day you just had. So whether you’ve spent the day in pow so deep you’ll have face shots for days or in temperatures so cold, the feeling may not return to your feet until the end of the season, here are some of the best situationally appropriate après-ski appetizers from resorts around the country.
When it’s so cold outside that you’ll feel it in your bones for weeks, you need The Poutine La Diable from Microbrasserie La Diable, Mont Tremblant Village. If you have ever skied the Laurentians, you know that it can get cold…really cold. So when you call it a day, you’ll need something to get that warm blood flowing again, and this poutine is just what the doctor ordered. As the fat from the fries and the warmth of the peppercorn gravy flows through your veins you’ll regain feeling in those limbs with every squeak of those cheesy curds.
Heavenly Mountain Resort, CA
When you are not sure whether you want to eat or drink your lunch order up the Mountain Mary at Stein’s, Heavenly Mountain Resort, California. Let’s face it, there are some days where you just don’t feel yourself because you hit it a little too hard the night before and you need food and a little hair of the dog to get you going. Enter Stein’s Mountain Mary (available upon request), a tasty bloody mary garnished with a jumbo Bavarian pretzel, bratwurst, banana pepper, spicy green bean, celery, and lemon. This type of spread is the perfect hangover cure and will have you back out on the hill in no time.
When you want your nachos as deep as your powder day you NEED the Porcupine Nachos at the Porcupine Pub and Grill in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Utah is widely known for its light, fluffy snow that dumps for days. Pow so deep that it deserves an appetizer its equal. If you are anywhere near Big Cottonwood Canyon, head over to the Porcupine for their nachos. Stacked as high as a Utah powder day is deep, the Porcupine Nachos are layers upon layers of cheesy crunchy goodness worthy of your Utah pow day.
When your ski day starts out a little questionable but takes an unexpected turn for the better, order up the Angry Goat Balls from the Angry Goat Pub and Kitchen in Ogden, Utah. Named after the pub and not any particular ingredient (cough, cough), these balls are not what you would expect them to be either. Creamy wild mushroom risotto, surrounded by mozzarella, then panko breaded deep fried and dipped in house made marinara they are far from angry but rather balls of unforeseen yumminess.
When you are looking for an app that is as light as Utah snow you must try the shishito peppers from High West Distillery in Park City. Sometimes you need an app that doesn’t hit you like a belly bomb, that’s where these shishito peppers come into play. Half are tempura fried and the other half are seared, this generous helping is served with two delectable sauces and are soooo tasty. They are light, crispy and the perfect post pow munchie that is full of flavor but won’t fill up your tummy.
When you are looking for a taste of the Dolomites without leaving the United States visit Telluride’s Alpino Vino for their Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. A double layer of ooey, gooey Colorado brie-style cheese complimented with house-made basil pesto, roasted tomatoes, is served on fresh baked Parmesan Sourdough bread. Add on a super rich and delicious organic tomato bisque with spices, herbs and melty crumbly bits of Gorgonzola cheese for your dipping pleasure and his deliciously decadent dish will have you Dolomite dreaming.
When you need an appetizer for your ski day itself the pancakes at Bonnie’s at Aspen Mountain are to die for. From the very first bite, you can tell that their version of this fundamental American dish is unique and made with love. These delicious oatmeal pancakes are cooked to crispy perfection on the stove top and accompanied by Vermont Maple Syrup, butter, eggs, bacon…whatever! They are a true staple at Aspen Mountain for any and all who visit and will have you primed and ready for your day on the slopes.
When you are a beach bum lost in a ski bum’s body the Ahi Tuna Nachos at The Firetower Restaurant and Tavern Stratton are just what the doctor ordered. No chicken and cheese here, just a deliciously unique take on an après-ski classic. Crispy wontons are topped with ahi tuna tartare, pickled onion, hoisin lime and daikon radish and finished with a luscious wasabi aioli drizzle resulting in a mouth-wateringly tasty nacho dish. Delicious from first bite to last they are sure to have you reaching for your snorkel kit.
When you spend more time on terrain with epically deep snow that has to be cleared by avi bombs, you’ll need the Chicken Bombs from the newly opened RPK3 Kitchen, Bar and Après. A riff on chicken wings, these guys are far from traditional. Cut to look like little lollipops (or maybe a stick of dynamite), the meat at the end is doused in your choice of three savory sauces: Sweet and Spicy Cherry Glaze, Chipotle Honey BBQ or Traditional Buffalo and are an explosion of flavor in your mouth.
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