If you’re either a skier who loves wonderful cuisine or a foodie who loves the slopes, here are 6 fascinating destinations (in Europe and Japan as well as North America) that offer the best of both experiences. Recently singled out by Fodor’s Travel, these places are definitely not for those on tight budgets who’d be happy downing a pizza and garden salad after an exhilarating day on their skis. But, if you’re in a mood to splurge and want a superb experience both on the slopes during the day and at a nearby restaurant that evening, one or more of these destinations might be just right for you:
- Courchevel, France. With more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other ski resort in the world, Courchevel serves a very elite clientele and delivers accordingly. One Michelin-starred restaurant Fodor’s recommends is Le 1947, which is in the nearby Cheval Blanc Hotel. Or, for a quick bite between runs, the guide suggests Les Verdons, which is on the slopes.
- Stowe, Vermont. “The culinary ethos here is simple, uncomplicated but delicious,” Fodor’s says. Depending on the time of day and what you’re craving at the moment, you can easily find the right cuisine for you. Recommended items range from cider donuts and maple shortbread at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill to smoked and braised duck legs or rack of lamb with thyme demi glace at Stowe Mountain Lodge. Other favorites include Gloucester cod and goat cheese dumplings at nearby Hen of the Wood.
- Whistler, British Columbia. According to Fodor’s, the dining scene in Whistler really holds its own with Canada’s Western culinary capital, Vancouver. One suggestion is the Bearfoot Bistro, where the chef takes “a modern twist” on traditional Canadian cuisine.
- Vail Colorado. If you want a wide variety of excellent culinary experiences to choose from, Vail is an ideal ski destination. Choices range from Michelin-starred restaurants to casual cafes and ethnic food from Asian to Italian, to Swiss-German. A couple of suggestions: sushi at Matsuhisa or fish at the Montauk Seafood Grill. (It’s flown in daily from Hawaii or Alaska.) Elk is also a sought-after local delicacy, and many of Vail’s finer restaurants prepare it superbly.
- Zermatt, Switzerland. While Zermatt is best known for the Matterhorn, this spectacular ski destination is also home to about 40 slope-side restaurants and dozens of upscale bars and nightclubs. “Must-taste” traditional dishes include fondue and raclette, and one place to go for them, which Fodor’s recommends, is Restaurant Reid.
- Niseko, Japan. Known as the “Whistler of Japan,” Niseko—located on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido—offers a wide range of excellent food options. One is crab raman at the informal Hanazono 308. Another is fresh oysters and snow crab legs at Ezo Seafoods. Still another is izakaya bar-style bites at Abu Cha 2. And, if you want to go all out, Kamimura offers a tasting menu that includes 9 courses.
To learn more about the culinary options—and opportunities—at these and several other top-flight skier-foodie destinations, check out this recent article in Fodor’s Travel.
If there are any additional ski-food destinations you’d like to add to our list, then—please—be our guest. Just post a comment at the end of this blog. And, if you’d like, add 1 or 2 specific restaurant recommendations.