Making the best of midday meals at the mountain |

Making the best of midday meals at the mountain

Nicole Formosa
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado, CO

You know the drill: You get to the mountain, ski half the day, then the hunger pangs start, so you set off to find the quickest burger, pizza, soup or pasta dish on the hill. But you don’t have to be restricted to the resort-run restaurants for your midday food fix.

Alternatives range from simple (packing your own lunch) to extravagant (hiring a mobile chef to prepare your meal).

The basic way to spend less time eating and more time on the slopes is to pack your own lunch. Most resorts offer seating in their cafeterias for brown-baggers, and some provide hot water or microwaves for public use.

If you don’t want to go inside, throw everything in a backpack and enjoy your snack at a mountaintop picnic table against the backdrop of spectacular Rocky Mountain views.

If preparing a meal ahead of time doesn’t fit into your schedule, any of the local delis or grocery stores will happily wrap a to-go meal for you. Just remember to call in your order to avoid waiting at the counter.

If you want to splurge, Keystone’s Alpenglow Stube offers one of the most unforgettable lunch experiences in the county ” and you don’t even have to leave the mountain to find it.

Ride the River Run Gondola to the mid-mountain area, then hop on the Outpost Gondola and soar to the top of the mountain, where the Alpenglow Stube wraps you in luxury with a pair slippers to soothe your ski boot-squeezed feet.

The nation’s highest fine-dining restaurant boasts a combination buffet-style and sit-down service lunch. Two buffet tables offer cheeses, freshly baked breads, a variety of salads, air-dried meats, seafood and fresh fruit. The sit-down portion of the meal includes a choice of one of the Stube’s signature protein entrees, such as fish, lamb or duck, as well as a choice of two homemade soups.

The price for a lunch at the Stube is $30, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a similar experience.

“It’s the best lunch experience in the ski industry, and it’s a great value,” said Jana Spearman, Stube manager.

Another lavish option is to have a chef come to you. The Mobile Chef caters meals prepared in your kitchen by owner Tom Castrigno. While Castrigno generally focuses on preparing dinners, he also makes lunches for people with ski-in, ski-out condos, or those who want to go home for lunch. He offers a variety of items, from sandwiches to his ethnic specialties, such as Thai and Indian cuisine. His prices start at approximately $195 for a group of four.

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