Ski holidays for foodies

Jill Starley-Grainger

Travel journalist and editor

After powering down the slopes, you’ll hunger for a magnificent meal. But don’t settle for a ski resort with lacklustre food options from a soggy pizza or a bland buffet. Slalom over to these superior ski-in, dine-out destinations for decadent lunches on the mountains and dinners in town, hand-picked by travel editor Jill Starley-Grainger.

Whistler, Canada

fish curry Christines Whistler Blackcomb
Courtesy: Megan Wilson, Whistler Blackcomb

Rated North America’s leading ski resort by Ski Magazine for three years running, Whistler’s skiing credentials are as rock solid as its glaciers, which allow skiers to hit the slopes year-round. And as the continent’s largest ski area, you could stay here a week and never go down the same run twice.

On the mountain, swish over to the newly revamped Christine’s for a leisurely lunch. The head chef comes from much-lauded Hawksworth Restaurant in nearby Vancouver, and serves up similarly stellar ‘locavore’ (local, seasonal) cuisine here, with the freshly caught seafood particularly outstanding, such as the Keralan fish curry (pictured above) or Hamachi starter.

At night, the town is packed with more than 150 eateries, but booking weeks ahead is essential. Vancouver Magazine awarded Araxi, Alta Bistro and Bearfoot Bistro as the top three restaurants in Whistler, so get those bookings in now. Forgot to call ahead? The spiciest joint in town, The Mexican Corner, came fourth on the list, doesn’t take reservations and serves up sizzling quesadillas, fajitas and enchiladas.

Courchevel, France

Le Kintessence Courcheval France
Courtesy: Matthieu Cellard

Gleaming with an impressive roster of Michelin-stars, even the most discerning of foodies will not go hungry in Courchevel. This cluster of four linked villages has eight restaurants with the coveted award, three of them with two Michelin stars each. And because Courchevel’s slopes are part of the vast Three Valleys ski area, you’ll find ample runs for all levels of skier. But best to pack a lunch for a picnic on the pistes so you can save up to splurge on dinner in town, where the best meals are to be found.

Haute cuisine reaches its pinnacle in the mountain-top Le Kintessence, a Michelin-starred hotel restaurant specialising in seafood. Dine on artfully plated roasted shellfish (pictured above) or blue lobster in the intimate dining room as you watch snow fall on the slopes below through floor-to-ceiling windows.

For Michelin-chef menus minus the price tag, cheat’s tip is to try Le Chabotté. Simple, well-prepared classics, such as filleted chicken breast with buttered cabbage, cost around €30 for three courses at this friendly bistro – and it’s overseen by the same chef as the adjacent luxurious Le Chabichou.

Park City, Utah

Elk strip loin Zoom Park City

If the glitzy dining scene of Courchevel doesn’t appeal, chill out in Park City. One of the hottest up-and-coming resorts in America, it recently linked with neighbouring Canyons Resort to offer the biggest ski area in the country.

The vibe here is Old West, where the typical off-the-slopes attire veers towards Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots as people shuffle from saloon to back-street diner in the pretty, historic town centre. Yet despite its down-to-earth vibe, Park City hosts an endless array of celebrities every January for the Sundance Film Festival, founded by Robert Redford. It’s also where you’ll find his restaurant, Zoom, which serves ‘hearty American cuisine’, such as truffled mac and cheese and elk strip loin (pictured above). Be sure to get a table.

On the slopes, 16 venues satisfy your hunger, including Norwegian fare served in a yurt. And downtown, more than 100 spots tempt your tastebuds, most offering American cuisine, from Wild West buffalo burgers at the No Name Saloon to deep South fried chicken at Handle. Thirsty? Sip whisky at the world’s only ski-in distillery, High West, at the base of the Quittin’ Time ski run.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Venison CERVO Puro Zermatt

A car-free centre, 19th-century log-clad chalets and a position just below the tip of the mighty Matterhorn Mountain make Zermatt the most alluring resort in the Alps. And its vast terrain means good skiers are never short of a new run. You can even ski right into Italy (don’t forget your passport!). A top spot for ski pros, there’s more than enough steep and challenging ski runs to fill your days.

But you’ll hardly have time to ski in between magnificent meals at its nearly 60 slope-side eateries. No resort on earth offers as many outstandingly good mountain restaurants as Zermatt. They’re so renowned among ski-loving foodies that, unusually for on-piste restaurants, you’re advised to book ahead to ensure a table.

Swoosh down the slopes to CERVO Puro, near the Sunnegga Express lift at the bottom of the valley. It doles out blankets so that diners can soak up the sun from its terrace as they nosh on French-Italian fare, from a seasonal menu. Time it right and you can try the belly-warming pumpkin risotto or autumnal saddle of venison with Spätzli, caramelised pear, chestnut, brussels sprouts and cranberry jus (pictured above).

This being Switzerland, you’re going to want a meal of melted cheese at some point. Luckily, dozens of restaurants on the mountain and in town offer raclette (hot runny cheese shaved onto bread) and fondue (melted cheese in a pot). Take your fondue al fresco in your ski gear to truly enjoy the scenery and warm your belly.

These delectable dishes and magnificent mountains are just a click away. Search your dates and book your flight, and you’ll be on your way before you know it.

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