About 20 years ago, it’s hard to remember exactly which year it was, a young California couple was skiing at Squaw Valley.
It was Valentine’s Day. The skiing was suitably fantastic, and this young couple was, quite possibly, in love.
The man in this duo was looking for the right Valentine’s Day gift when he wandered into the Wildflour Baking Company at the base of the mountain. It was a fateful moment.
“Every Valentine’s Day we make big heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies with poems on them,” explains Wildflour founder, owner and creative baker Susan Lopez.
“This guy came in with his girlfriend and wanted to get her a cookie, but he didn’t have a poem.”
Lopez suggested the following:
“I love you from KT to the Slot. Oh baby, you’re so scorching hot!”
When her customer balked, on the grounds that they’d only been together a few months, Lopez sealed the deal.
“You love her, don’t you?”
He bought the cookie. His girlfriend loved it. They got married, had children, and, every Valentine’s Day since, they’ve skied at Squaw.
They’ve never missed a single February 14th. They even showed up one year in a blizzard when the mountain was closed. That year, they were Lopez’s only Valentine’s Day customers. While she could have closed the bakery, she didn’t.
She knew they’d come.
If you ski Squaw Valley, you’ve got to try the Wildflour. Famous for it’s prepaid, discount “Cookie Pass,” the Wildflour is on the ground level of the Olympic Building and is a long-time favorite with junior ski racers.
You don’t have to be a racer, or visit on Valentine’s Day to enjoy Lopez’s fare.
With a full, “made-from-scratch” breakfast and lunch menu, you can enjoy the Wildflour several times a day!
In addition to the chocolate chip cookies, don’t miss the steel cut oatmeal with dark chocolate, walnuts and honey greek yogurt.
It will fuel your day, and have you quoting one of Lopez’s famous poems.
“I love to ski KT and Headwall, too. But most of all, I love to ski with you.”
Other Sweet Treats
While not every resort has such a deep-rooted Valentine’s Day tradition, sugar is a staple on most ski area menus. Here are two more unique ways to get your fix and share your love.
Tim Evenden didn’t start out as a chef. But after working in a ski shop at Alta for a few years, he figured there had to be a better way to be a ski bum. So 28 years ago, he started cooking.
“I come from a cooking family,” shares Evenden. “My dad loved to cook and he passed that onto me.”
Evenden also enjoys creating his own recipes. Emphasizing fresh, house-made ingredients, it didn’t take long before he started fooling around with a new recipe for granola.
“I was looking for something that would taste better than most granolas,” he explains. “I wanted a granola with less fat, less sugar and one that would be less clumpy.”
After a year of fiddling, experimenting and taste testing, he found the perfect mixture of nuts, grains and sweet spices. He called it Without A Doubt Granola and it was an immediate hit.
So much so, that today, Evenden sells it by the pound and ships it around the country. It’s that good.
Halfway down an intermediate run called La Pichard, at Québec’s Mont-Sainte-Anne Resort, you can find the sweetest stop on the mountain.
A rustic cabin, with a wood-fired stove to one side, the Sucrerie, or Sugar Shack, is a favorite stop for skiers and snowboarders, both young and old.
Inside the shack, maple sap is boiled and thickened into syrup. For just $2 each, customers can use this maple syrup, and fresh, clean snow, to make delicious taffy.
Here’s how it works.
Hot syrup is poured onto a bed of fresh snow in specially made troughs. As the syrup cools, it thickens and guests scoop it up, twisting it around wooden sticks to make a soft, gooey, taffy lollipop.
For maple lovers (like me!), it’s the best ski resort snack ever, and something you’ll never find out West.