December 4, 2017
Whether you’re trying to maximize your time shredding down the slopes, touring deep into the backcountry, or simply want to avoid paying for overpriced resort food, packing snacks is an easy way to help you stay fueled up on the mountain.
Here are some portable ski snack ideas that will satisfy both your hunger and your taste buds, including a favourite from MEC Ambassador Sarah Hart at the end:
1. Coconut-butter filled dates
A quick energy boost and a delicious snack to satisfy your sweet tooth. Coconut-butter filled dates are the perfect little calorie bombs. These gems pack the winning combination of natural sugar and healthy fat to keep your muscles moving throughout the day.
They’re super easy to make too. Just remove the pit from the date, stuff in some coconut butter and then press to close. The cool temperatures on the ski hill will keep the texture solid and enjoyable until last chair. If you want to mix things up, try stuffing dates with peanut butter or even tahini.
Jerky is super lightweight and basically lasts forever, which makes it great to keep handy for when you may need it most. Finding a stash of jerky in your pocket at 2:30pm after skipping lunch is a skier’s delight. If you’re looking for something a little different, there’s also vegan jerky or bison pemmican with Saskatoon berries.
3. Pocket sandwiches
Due to their simplicity and familiarity, sandwiches are often overlooked as a quality mountain snack. But after a careful study (I ate a bunch of sandwiches) I decided they deserve a spot on this list. Sandwiches are extremely portable and easy to eat with gloves on if required, which is a huge bonus on the ski hill. They’re also one of the most versatile foods out there; make yours hearty or minimalist, carnivorous or herbivorous, PB&J or PB and honey – the options are truly limitless.
Bonus: Sandwiches are also great at helping reduce food waste, as many of your leftover food items can be converted into sandwich form. Leftover mashed potatoes, baked yams or taco fixings are just a few of the things to try stuffing into a sandwich or wrap.
4. Energy bars
Food in bar-form has been a staple on skiers’ snack lists since dinosaurs roamed the slopes, but the evolution that’s taken place from the simple granola bar is truly something to behold. Hand-ground nut butters. Chia seeds. Açai berries. Organic cashews. Fair Trade dark chocolate. These are just a few of the superfoods you can find in the latest energy bars (way tastier than the old-school hard mini-marshmallows and chocolate coatings), or you can make your own at home.
I like having a granola bar in the morning before I head out skiing, but they’re a perfect no-fuss snack any time you’re on the mountain.
5. Something spicy
A hit of heat can make you feel like you’re warming up from the inside out on a cold day. Spicy pepperoni sticks, dried spiced mango, chili-doused nuts or cinnamon hearts are easy to bring along. Skip the jalapeño chips, though, as they tend to get squashed in your pocket or pack. Heat in liquid form is another idea, like spiced chocolate drinks in a vacuum mug or a nip of cinnamon-flavoured liquor at the end of the day (also makes a great snow cone topping).
6. Backcountry comfort food
Plan to spend more time away from food sources? After skinning up a mountain for hours with backcountry ski gear and a pack of supplies, it’s safe to assume you’ll be pretty exhausted. The last thing you’ll want to do is spend time putting together a meal.
Luckily, freeze-dried comfort food from Backpacker’s Pantry, AlpineAire or Mountain House creates hot meals that are easy to prep. Look for the ones that let you cook them in the package – all you have to do is boil some snow into water, then add the boiled water to the bags these meals come in. One to try? The Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce gets mega reviews from members.
7. Ambassador favourite: PB cups
MEC Ambassador Sarah Hart is a huge fan of chocolate peanut butter cups for particularly cold days. “They somehow never seem to freeze, no matter how freezing it is outside, and they’re the perfect sweet treat when I’ve been suffering on a windy chairlift.”
As a side note: pay particular attention to the food you’re shoving in your pack and pockets on cold, icy days. There’s nothing worse than being hungry and having to gnaw desperately at a rock-hard frozen banana.