Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fueling up in Jackson

Skiing is one of the most rewarding sports. The amount of energy spent not only skiing, but carrying skis, traversing flat terrain, walking in ski boots, and even just putting all ski gear on and off justifies each and every encounter with food - and there are plenty of those throughout a ski day. Whether you realize it or not, food and skiing go hand in hand. A trip to Jackson Hole means no exception to this. In fact, the amazingly steep and vast terrain only makes you work harder - increasing the need and excuse for ample food breaks over the course of the day. I spent the past week in Wyoming and discovered my new favorite ski mountain. The physical beauty in Jackson Hole is breathtaking in itself. However, large wide-open bowls coupled with a laid-back atmosphere full of skiers who truly live up to the work hard, play hard lifestyle is my idea of ski heaven. While I could go on and on about the skiing, I will cut to the chase and tell you what exactly powered me through the slopes.

Each day, there were at least 4 fuel-ups - breakfast, lunch, apres-ski, and dinner. Between the town of Jackson Hole and Teton Village, there are numerous options. Below are the spots that are definitely worth visiting to help you through the rewarding aches and pains of days spent on the slopes.

Breakfast Boost:
While I typically eat breakfast at home when on a ski vacation, a trip to Corbet's Cabin at the summit of the mountain is well worth a change in routine. A ride up the tram will lead you straight to the top of the world waffles - both savory and sweet options - and get you ready to cruise down Rendezvous Bowl. If you want to change it up even more and take a half day of skiing, I recommend still getting up early and stopping by The Bunnery in town. Their signature bread products, served with all of the egg dishes, are made up of whole wheat, rolled oats, sunflower seeds and millet grain. This is the perfect energizer.

Midday Refueling:
I usually ski the best and the hardest in the mornings. This just means that it is never terribly long before it's time for a little rejuvination. I typically enjoy eating lunch on the mountain - making it easiest to continue for a more relaxed afternoon of skiing. Casper Restaurant was my favorite option on the slopes. There is nothing I crave more than a good old chili dog when skiing. This is the perfect place to indulge in one of these - especially on sunny days when you can do so on the outdoor deck. On colder days, warm up indoors by the fireplace and try one of their signature burritos. If you have skied too hard in the morning and are looking for a more leisurely afternoon, I recommend skiing to the base of the mountain and visiting The Peak at the Four Seasons. Prices are hardly much higher than the cost of eating on the mountain and food quality is definitely much better. Instead of the traditional soups, they serve elk and black bean chili as well as chili with braised wild boar stew - local specialties.

Afternoon Delight:
Whether you admit it or not, the purpose of afternoon skiing is really to get to the Apres-Ski - there is really no better time of day, especially in Jackson Hole. If there is one place to stop by, it's The Mangy Moose - located at the bottom of the mountain near the tram. This is the perfect spot to enjoy pitchers of local beer, great music, and be surrounded by some good-looking company. You will be surprised how comfortable bar stools and booths suddenly become even while still wearing ski boots. If you are craving a hot toddy in a more relaxed setting, I recommend stopping by Cascade Grill House and Spirits - just a few extra steps from the base of the slopes. It's nearly impossible not to get too comfortable while enjoying cocktails and a mammoth plate of nachos by the cozy fireplace.

Nighttime Treats:
After a dip in the hot tub or even a little shuteye, believe it or not, there is still room for one more meal in the day - and your stomach will probably let you know! While I know that Jackson Hole does have a high-end dining scene, we opted for some of the more affordable dinner options - skiing is certainly no cheap sport these days. For an extremely laid back setting, stop by Calico Restaurant and sit in the bar room by the fireplace. Here you can enjoy pizza and delicious, large gourmet salads while sipping on my new favorite discovery - cans of Sofia Coppola's sparkling blanc de blanc. These now sell in four-packs and come with straws! For large groups and a nicer setting, Rendezvous Bistro is a wonderful and affordable option serving upscale comfort food. I highly recommend the tuna and steak tartares as starters. For heartier items, the pork chop, steak frites, and coq au vin are excellent. A meal here will surely store up enough food for the big day ahead.

And, the best part is that you can do it all again in the morning - another day of skiing and eating is always ahead of you. As I said, Jackson Hole is my ski heaven. But, it is probably just as obvious that it is just as much my eating heaven too.


tessa said...

I like it meg!

Skiing and food do go hand in hand!

Anonymous said...

love this post!
i really enjoyed calico and rendezvous, too (the patio at calico is perfect in warm weather). great recs, as always...

Kristin said...

Perfect timing, and hopefully we can try at least one of these places! Also, do you know the name of the restaurant at the top of the mountain that the tram goes to (I think it is a reservation type of place)?

ROACH, Great taste in food and friends said...

The restaurant at the top is Couloir. You should definitely try it for dinner one night - amazing views!