Best Chairlift Food for Skiing

Clay Malott |
Photo credit: Strafe Outwear

This ski season will bring reduced capacity that will hit on mountain dining especially hard. While many on-mountain restaurants already had some form of outdoor seating before COVID, this season, the number of skiers on the hill will almost definitely crush any degree of outdoor seating that on-mountain restaurants can provide.  This will mean long lines, and potentially miserable lunch experiences in foul weather. Long lines mean more waiting, and more waiting means less skiing.

The solution? Bring food from home with you onto the hill. It is a cheap, easy way to avoid long lines and maximize your skiing. This is obviously something that backcountry skiers are forced to do. In my tenure as a backcountry skier, here are some of my favorite foods that I have found to bring skiing.

The metrics for good on-hill food is easy to make and fast to eat. I’m usually scrambling to assemble my food in the morning, so having it easy to prepare is a must. Second, you must be able to eat fast on a chairlift.


Sandwiches are a great way to get calories and energy on the hill. Photo credit: Healthy Nibbles

Sandwiches are great for on-mountain meals. Pretty much any type goes – as long as it is okay to eat cold (probably no grilled cheese, etc.).

One of my go to sandwiches for skiing is the peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. It’s sweet and delicious and delivers tons of energy. You get a short term, fast burning energy through the simple sugars in Nutella, and long term, slow burning energy through the protein in the peanut butter. It stores quite well in cling wrap or a plastic bag. There are nut free alternatives to this sandwich, as well.


Nuts are a great source of protein on the hill. Photo credit: NPR

Nuts are a great way to fuel during the ski day. I generally pack a full plastic bag of them and eat however many I feel like on the chairlift if I’m hungry. They’re a great source of protein and can pack a serious punch in terms of energy considering their weight and volume.

You can just pack one type of nut if you want, but I like variety. Cashews, almonds, and peanuts are my go to. I’ll either mix them myself or buy a store bought mix. Trail mix is rich in nuts and is a great way to get fuel to keep tearing up the slopes.

Energy bars

Energy bars are a great way to stay fueled throughout the day. Photo credit: Bike24


Energy bars deliver… well, exactly what it sounds like. Energy! They’re a great source of protein to keep your legs fresh throughout the day, run after run.

My go to energy bar is a Clif bar or a Z-Bar. Clif bars are rich in protein and can be eaten quickly on the lift. I love the variety, as well, in case I get bored of a flavor. They offer 20 flavors and 3 seasonal flavors, meaning it would be pretty difficult to get bored of them!

Beef jerky

Photo credit: The Spruce Eats

Beef jerky is probably my favorite on-mountain snack. I absolutely love any teriyaki beef jerky. It is deliciously smoky and delivers plenty of energy to keep your legs shredding run after run. I’ll usually just grab a few pieces per lap, which is more than enough to keep me satisfied throughout the day. Other types of jerky, such as turkey or pork jerky. If you’re really adventurous, you can try more exotic types such as kangaroo or alligator (yes, alligator jerky is a real thing!).

Stranger options

There is no shortage of options for on-mountain snacks. Some of the stranger snacks that I have taken onto the mountain with me include raw arugula, cold quinoa, and a jar of plain peanut butter.

As long as it is healthy and easy, pretty much anything goes. Get creative!

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