At far too many ski areas across North America, the slopeside food options are dismal, consisting of little more than hamburgers, pizza, and wings eaten off plastic trays. But that doesn't have to be the case. In fact, some of the world's best ski areas are known as much for their food as for their slopes and snowfall. For apres-ski cocktails overlooking the French Alps in Courchevel to a multicourse meal at the top of Telluride, here's where we go to ski and savor.
By Christina Valhouli
This Alpine town has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other ski resort. Courchevel attracts the moneyed jet-set crowd, so be prepared to come with deep pockets. One of the Michelin-starred restaurants here is Le 1947, located inside the Cheval Blanc hotel. The name references Chateau Cheval Blanc’s most prestigious and sought-after vintage, from 1947. For a quick bite, try Les Verdons, which is right on the slopes, or tuck into foie gras with passion fruit foam at Azimut. L’Oeil de Boeuf is famed for cooking steaks on an open fire.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's France Guide
Stowe is known as one of the best spots to ski in New England, but it is arguably just as famous for its proximity to the Ben & Jerry’s factory in nearby Waterbury. Like the bearded duo behind the ice cream brand, the culinary ethos here is simple, uncomplicated but delicious. Before you hit the slopes, stock up on cider donuts and maple shortbread at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Apres ski, head to Stowe Mountain Lodge for farm-to-table cuisine, such as smoked and braised duck legs or rack of lamb with thyme demi glace. Hen of the Wood is a nearby, long-time favorite; the menu highlights New England cuisine such as day boat Gloucester cod and goat cheese dumplings.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Stowe Guide
Whistler, British Columbia
Skiers won’t have to settle for soggy pizza on the slopes here or in the village; Whistler's dining scene can arguably rival Vancouver’s. Whistler is quite the foodie destination, as chefs embrace farm-to-table dining as well as the slow food movement. At Bearfoot Bistro, chef Melissa Craig takes a modern twist on Canadian cuisine and often features wild game on her menu. Tuck into fresh oysters or roasted saddle of rabbit at Araxi, or share plates of modern tapas at Elements Urban Tapas, which also serves breakfast.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Whistler Guide
This purpose-built ski town has more than 200 trails to explore, and almost as many places to eat. The dining scene runs the gamut from Michelin-starred restaurants to casual cafes; everything from Asian and Italian to Swiss-German and southern-style BBQ is available. Tuck into sushi at acclaimed Matsuhisa from chef Nobu Matsuhisa, or sample fish flown in daily from Hawaii or Alaska at the Montauk Seafood Grill. Kelly Liken is arguably one of the best restaurants in town; her menu features seasonal cuisine such as elk carpaccio and roasted Colorado lamb. Wake up each morning and sample from the legendary breakfast buffet at Ludwig's.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Vail Guide
Zermatt is famous for the Matterhorn, but is also one of the best ski areas in Europe for dining and delicious après-ski options. There are about 40 slopeside restaurants to choose from, plus dozens of bars and nightclubs. Be prepared to tuck into cheese, and plenty of it, as fondue and raclette are the not-to-be-missed traditional Alpine dishes here. Also be prepared to park the skis, lunch is a long, leisurely affair. Guests can ski straight up to Cervo, whose menu features classics with a twist, like cod with white miso, beef tartar with chili foam and a selection of artisan cheeses. Restaurant Ried is known for its fondue and raclette, but if you’re looking for something lighter, tuck into sushi at Myoko.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Zermatt Guide
If tucking into sushi and sake on the slopes sounds good, then head to Niseko, known as the Whistler of Japan. Located on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, Niseko offers epic amounts of snow, après-ski soaks in natural hot springs, and stellar food, all served up with Japanese efficiency. The casual Hanazono 308 is famed for its crab ramen, while Ezo Seafoods focuses on fresh fish like oysters and snow crab legs. Abu Cha 2 serves up izakaya bar-style bites, but if you want something more formal, Kamimura offers a nine-course tasting menu. Indulge your sweet tooth at Milk Kobo (cheesecake, anyone?).
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Niseko Guide
If you can’t decide where to eat in Telluride, sign up for the Telluride Food Tour to leave the decision-making to someone else. This Colorado town offers everything from stylish wine bars to upscale restaurants and casual diners. Alpino Vino is North America’s highest elevation restaurant; the views at 12,000 feet are spectacular as are the pastas and extensive wine list. At night, guests are met at a gondola and transported to the restaurant via heated snow coach. Allred’s is located on the top of San Sophia station and features plenty of meat, such as elk, steak, and lamb. For a true mountain experience, dine al fresco at the Bon Vivant, near the Polar Queen Express lift. Don’t miss a sunset cocktail there.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Telluride Guide
Located in the Dolomites, Cortina is the kind of place where you can ski to the front door of a restaurant, share a bottle of wine and a gourmet meal and never feel awkward that you’re wearing sweaty ski clothes. The vibe may be low-key but the dining scene is serious about good food. While there are Michelin starred restaurants such as Tivoli, some of the most interesting dining experiences can be found in converted mountain huts and old barns, such as Rifugio Capanna Tondi or El Toula. The fare, as you’d expect, is hearty and rustic with plenty of pasta. Al Camino has an extensive wine list.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Cortina Guide
Park City, Utah
It’s not only the topnotch skiing in Park City that is generating buzz. The dining scene is heating up thanks to chefs like Viet Pham, who defeated Bobby Flay on Iron Chef and was named one of the top chefs in America by Food & Wine. He launched the acclaimed Forage in Salt Lake City and is opening the new Ember + Ash soon in Park City. Also worth a visit is The Farm, serving up pork belly ravioli with shitake broth, and Vinto for wood-fired pizza. Billy Blanco’s is one of the newest restaurants in town, billing itself as a burger and taco garage.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Park City Guide
Taos, New Mexico
The low-key resort of Taos has a surprisingly good mix of restaurants, which are deeply rooted in Southwest and Mexican cuisine but it’s easy to find French, Italian, and Asian food too. Located in a former adobe chapel, The Love Apple focuses on organic, mostly local food such as caramelized onion and apple quesadillas. Kick off your day with huevos rancheros at the slopeside St Bernard, while a more upscale option is De La Tiera, located inside the El Monte Sagrado hotel. The Taos Inn is famed for its blue-corn enchiladas.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Taos Guide