In Crested Butte, we don’t subscribe to the “no friends on a powder day” cliché that you’ll hear about in other ski towns. Frankly, that’s nonsense. Skiing is always better with friends. The one that does hold true here is “no lunch on a powder day.”
There are plenty of places to get good food in Mt. Crested Butte. But, when there’s a foot of fresh and patrol is opening terrain, the last thing you want to do is miss a rope drop on Teo Bowl or Spellbound because you were eating a cheeseburger somewhere. For days like those, we recommend you play it like the locals do: stuff your pockets with snacks and eat on the chairlift. Ski from 9 AM until the high lift closes at 3:30 only stopping for water and to use the bathroom. Bonus points if you finish the day on the west side and have to get shooed down by patrol on their closing sweep.
Here’s our list of favorite ski snacks that aren’t going to freeze solid in your pocket, organized by whether or not a kitchen is required.
No Kitchen, No Problem
If you don’t have a kitchen where you’re staying, these snacks are the way to go. They’re easy and tasty and will keep you going through a day of shredding pow.
Love Bites Bars
These have to hold top spot in any list of Crested Butte ski snacks. This Crested Butte company makes their bars out of all kinds of good things: almonds, coconut oil, honey, etc. They’re absolutely delicious, providing a ton of calories without weighing you down. As a bonus, they also do really well in the cold. During the summer months, we’ll even pop them in the freezer the night before taking them on a bike ride because they can get really soft.
Clif Bars, Honey Stingers, etc. They’re all good these days and way better than the original bars I remember from my childhood in the 90s. Most will stay nice and soft enough in a pocket. Both Clif and Honey Stinger have really stepped it up in recent years offering a wide variety of different products: waffles, bars, filled bars, etc.
Baby Food Pouches
Those little baby food pouches are nowhere near as calorically dense as some of the other stuff on this list. But, they’re just fruit and veggie purees so they are a relatively unprocessed source of fuel. They’re also pretty pliable so they’re comfortable to keep in pocket. One final advantage: you can seal them back up again so you can spread consumption across multiple chairlift rides. I’ve personally never brought baby food on a pow day, but I have a friend who swears by it.
If you’re trying to get as many calories in as small a package as possible for the least amount of money, the candy bar wins. I’m a big fan of peanut m&ms. Be careful with anything with too much caramel or nougat in it on cold days. I’ve heard stories of people breaking teeth on frozen candy bars. I also heard of someone hitting a cliff and cracking a rib on a frozen snickers in his pocket when he had a hard landing. That might be a ski town legend, but is it worth the risk?
Day-Olds from The Bakery
The Bakery AKA the Brown Lab Pub has a wide variety of baked goods for sale. Grab a day-old and put it in your pocket for some good, cheap sustenance.
If You Have a Kitchen…
If you do have access to a kitchen, your powder day snack options are much more exciting.
Peanut butter and jelly is the obvious choice. I like the combination of turkey, salami, and havarti. Mayonnaise is pretty key for getting something that won’t taste dry when you’re tired and thirsty (a lesson learned while mountain biking). Be careful not to put too much mayo on. If you do, it can slide apart in your pocket. It’s not going to make a mess if it’s in a sealed bag, but it’s harder to eat on the chairlift if it lacks structural integrity.
Leftover Slogar Fried Chicken
I have never succeeded in eating my whole meal at Slogar. For me, it’s too much food for one sitting. Luckily, leftover fried chicken in a paper bag is one of the greatest ski snacks out there. Something about spending the night in the fridge makes that chicken even more delicious. The combo of protein, salt, and fat is great fuel for a day of hiking to the steeps and getting after it.
I’m a big fan of oatmeal, dark chocolate, and dried cranberry cookies. The oatmeal gives them some staying power and the dried cranberry and dark chocolate play off each other really nicely. The oatmeal also lends some structure, which is helpful if you’re baking at high altitude, keeping the cookie from spreading out too much. Compact cookies are good for pockets.
If Slogar chicken isn’t the holy grail of ski snacks, pocket bacon is. Instructions for pocket bacon:
- Cook extra bacon.
- Stick it in a bag or wrap it in plastic wrap.
- Stick it in your pocket.
Bring extra for friends and random people you meet in the chairlift or in line. You will meet at least one new ski buddy this way.
Desperate for a little break to rest your legs?
If you misjudge the amount of pocket bacon needed to last through a powder day, never fear. There are some great quick food options on the mountain. Some of our favorites include:
- Fries or a baked potato at Paradise. These options are pretty quick and get you enough carbs to make it through to après. You also don’t have to leave easy access to the North Face Lift for these options.
- A single deluxe from the Crested Butte Burger Company. Loop back to the front side, grab a delicious burger, and hop back on the Silver Queen to snag another high lift lap.
- Tacos at Jefe’s. Grab some quick tacos, wolf them down, and get right back out there.
- Anything grab and go from The Bakery/Pub. This place is known by a half a dozen names. No matter what you call it, there are tons of different baked goods to choose from and it’s generally pretty fast to run in and run out.
As someone who spends at least as much time thinking about food as I do thinking about skiing, I’m always looking for more ideas for ski snacks. What are your favorites?