A brown bag lunch is great every once in a while, but more often than not we find ourselves too rushed in the morning (gotta get those first tracks!) to pack a proper meal. Luckily, Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) ski areas offer a wide variety of top-notch dining options to satisfy everyone from the chicken finger connoisseurs to the gastronomically adventurous. To find out the favorite dishes at some of Colorado Ski Country’s resorts, we went to the experts in the kitchen and asked what they dine on after the lunch rush has subsided.
The success of Arapahoe Basins Moonlight Dinner Series is a testament to Chef Chris Rybak and his culinary creativity. Luckily his talent is also reflected in the daily lunch menus at the resort. From the main menu Chef Rybak recommends the 6th Alley Burger. Its the best damn burger out there, said Rybak. The grilled onions and horseradish Havarti elevate it beyond your average ski area burger.
Aspen Snowmass Executive Chef, Mountain Division, Jim Butchart oversees all the resort restaurants on Aspen Snowmass four mountains. With so many unique and truly delicious offerings, and ski runs, to choose from, Chef Butchart recommends the traditional Vietnamese Pho at The Cliffhouse on Buttermilk. Its a must have when Im riding with my kids, notes Chef Butchart. However, on the off chance Im on the mountain on a day off without my kids, its a Highlands Bowl lap on Highlands followed by an all-in lunch at Cloud Nine. The team there knows how to throw a party and the food is always top notch; Steak tartar and raclette should not be missed.
Katie ORourkes Irish Pub at Cooper Mountain has hearty meals to get you through even the coldest of powder days. The pub fare ranges from tasty appetizers to full meals, including some classic Irish favorites. We suggest the Guinness Pot Pie – Guinness braised beef, slow cooked with carrots, onions and potatoes, topped with a puff pastry crust. Kerrigans Irish Stout is a musty-try for beer lovers – a full-bodied Stout brewed just for Cooper!
At Copper Mountain several ski runs are named after food (The Taco, The Nacho (or the Enchilada Platter, as skiers call these runs when referring to taking multiple laps) Executive Chef Justin Peterson weighs in with his menu item recommendation of the new Pork Ramen Bowl from Storm King Lounge.
Crested Butte’s Executive Chef Chris Park recommends a dining strategy that includes enjoying a morning breakfast and coffee at Cold Breaker Coffee where fresh crepes are made to order. For lunch, Parks suggests hitting the Umbrella Bar for a drink with 360 degree views. For those looking for a dining experience, try Uleys Cabin for lunch or a sleigh ride up the mountain for an inclusive multi course pre fixed dinner, suggests Chef Park.
Eldora Mountain Resorts Director of Food and Beverage Ken Woodburys favorites are the new Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket from the smoker. Slow cooked with hickory, the meats come out of the smoker tender and delicious. Topped with BBQ sauce and a side of slaw, it is one of Eldoras best meals to fuel up with for the afternoon on the slopes. In the Indian Peaks Lodge, Ken suggests the Chipotle Chicken Panini, which comes stuffed with chicken, onions, tomato, and a spicy chipotle spread and then pressed to perfection.
Rod Kessler, Granby Ranchs Vice President of Operations raved about the new menu at the Granby Ranch Grill, which features ingredient-driven creations inspired by the classics. Among the Grills new appetizers, Kessler recommends the Crispy Tiger Shrimp and Calamari. This starter has an asian flare. The calamari and shrimp are served with a tamarin-lime vinaigrette and asian slaw. Accents of micro-thin slices of fried lime and lemon make this dish a true standout. Among entre sections, Kessler says, The New York Steak and Frites is hardy choice after a day on the mountain. The New York strip cut is of the highest quality and topped with a choice of Dianne sauce or herbed butter.
At Loveland Ski Area, resort Chef Mike Knox highly recommends the daily special for lunch. I always recommend the daily special at our pasta bar where we offer hearty and delicious meals to fuel your afternoon turns, commented Chef Knox.
Chef Michael Ingram’s recommendation is the Sasquatch Burger – an angus beef patty topped with grilled onions and peppers, pepper jack cheese, BBQ sauce, pulled pork, red chili, and a cheddar jack blend. Challenge yourself, or get a friend to help you finish it off!
At Powderhorn, Chef Joe Shero recommends the popular BBQ parfait. Layered in a traditional parfait glass, smoked on-site pulled pork, baked beans, potato salad and cole-slaw topped with diced pickles and drizzled with a tangy house made BBQ sauce. Its the perfect ski food with no mess on your gear, described Chef Shero. Other favorites include the Thai rice bowls at the Sunset Grill and the 3 cheese house mac topped off with some mountain-smoked brisket at the Slopeside Inn. The brisket is smoked on-site using Peach and Applewood from nearby Palisade Colorado.
Purgy’s slopeside is the place to be at Purgatory Resort. For a hearty breakfast try the Backside Biscuits and Gravy served with two eggs and breakfast potatoes. For lunch and dinner, Purgy’s offers classic street tacos, famous chili and even tofu pho for the non-meat eaters out there.
The best lunch recommendation at Silverton is to go with a brown bag lunch from the Kendall Mountain Caf. It is sure to tackle any skier or boarders appetite, assures Jen Brill of Silverton Mountain. Lunches can be ordered in advance or in the morning at the ski area.
For Chris Wyant, Executive Chef for Steamboat Ski & Resort, his favorite menu item is Chicken & Wafflewich from Hazies (pictures above). Its a buttermilk chicken sandwiched between two Belgian waffles topped with bacon jam and quail egg. And if youre feeling frisky, Wyant’s favorite apres drink is the new Lamb Burger Bloody Mary from Ragnars.
Prepared by Chef Robert Fishman, the mesquite-smoked pork green chili at Sunlight Mountain Resort is a local’s favorite. Stuffed with tender roast pork and a rich medley of chilis, peppers and spices, a hot serving of Sunlight’s pork green chili is the perfect quick-eat refuel for skiers and riders on the go. At the end of the day, enjoy a pint of Sunlights 50th Anniversary craft beer brewed by the award-winning Glenwood Brewing Co.
The favorite menu item for Jared Campbell, the Executive Chef at Bon Vivant, is the Bonaparte – a twist on a French dip made with pulled lamb shoulder, peppadew peppers and Colorouge cheese all on a toasted baguette with veal au jus for the perfect dip. Chef Campbell also suggests Alpino Vino for a ski-in/ski-out lunch, “in Telluride we ski to eat, not just eat to ski.”
On weekend evenings, guests can take a gondola up to The Lodge at Sunspot for a seven-course, gourmet meal. The menu changes, but everything is locally sourced and some of the favorite entrees have included Elk Tournedos, Colorado trout from Buena Vista, Buffalo Prime Rib.
A lot of the menu items at Wolf Creek are old family recipes from Noel Alexander, the sister of Wolf Creek’s owner Davey Pitcher. The soups, green and red chile stews and the famous carrot cake are the most popular. Overall it’s a combined effort using the best ingredients the resort can buy. Always real food and no food substitutes, Wolf Creek uses locally sourced ingredients as much as possible. Alberta Grill is a perfect stop for a powder day when time is critical. Order your burger before going up the lift and it will be done to perfection on your return to the grill.