Some of us are old enough — or have parents who are old enough — to remember a time when ski resort fare consisted mostly of sad cafeteria-style food, dry and tasteless burgers, bland chili, steamed tube steaks, and nachos covered with a cheese-like substance from a can. It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly wasn’t tasty. For years my ski bum buddies and I subsisted on the mashed potatoes at Park City Mountain’s Summit House. Not exactly gourmet grub.
But things started to improve at our local resorts, from a culinary perspective, toward the end of the last millennium. Maybe it began with the introduction of Deer Valley Resort’s celebrated turkey chili. Or perhaps it was the better-than-average, après-ski fare at Steeps bar and grill at Park City Mountain in the mid-1990s.
Things have certainly changed for the better. Yes, you can still get burgers, nachos, and pizza at Park City’s resorts, but you can also find ambitious dishes and global cuisine — from banh mi and sushi to vegetarian fare.
Here are a few such slopeside temptations.
Fireside Dining – Deer Valley Resort
European, alpine-style cuisine is the motif at Deer Valley Resort’s Fireside Dining. In the evening, the space in the Empire Canyon Lodge morphs into an opulent buffet in which many of the menu items are cooked by the heat of one of the lodge’s four stone replaces. Enjoy gooey raclette cheese, a re-roasted leg of lamb, hearty mushroom and veal stew, and more, including the popular dessert fondue stations.
Lookout Cabin – Park City Mountain
Lookout Cabin is located at the Orange Bubble Express mid-station on Park City Mountain. The on-mountain venue offers unexpected elegance in a spectacular mountain setting with stunning views. Start with the Thai mussels (green papaya, Thai basil, jalapeño, kafir lime) before moving onto main dishes like roasted maitake ramen or the wagyu pappardelle Bolognese. Pair your meal with a craft cocktail, like the Ginger Pear Hot Toddy, or a fine wine.
Goldener Hirsch Restaurant – Deer Valley Resort
The Goldener Hirsch Restaurant at Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Village offers hungry skiers an eclectic array of lunchtime treats that run the gamut from fried deviled eggs with smoked trout caviar and black truffles, to wagyu-beef-cheek tacos, steak tartare with horseradish cream foam, and, of course, the always popular schnitzel. Not your daddy’s lunch, indeed.
The Hive – Woodward Resort Park City
The Hive at Woodward Resort has something to suit every taste — from pepperoni pizza and chili cheese fries to a chimichurri couscous bowl and blackened fish tacos. There’s even a vegetarian banh mi sandwich and a sensational shoyu poke bowl on the menu.
Drafts Burger Bar – Park City Mountain
It’s all about classic pub fare at Drafts, which has chicken wings, salads, and an extensive burger list on the menu. Standouts include the Ghost Burger, which is topped with ghost pepper BBQ sauce, and the Cluck Norris, a breaded chicken sandwich topped with blue cheese and buffalo sauce. You can wash it all down with one of their 20 beers on tap — or better yet, an ice cream shake.
Powder Restaurant – Park City Mountain
Jump onto the Frostwood Gondola at Canyons Village to get to the Waldorf Astoria and its Powder Restaurant. While the menu changes seasonally, and the Wagyu nachos are a crowd favorite, you’ll often find exotic fare such as their hamachi crudo with cucumber wasabi, pickled mushroom, and ginger ponzu. Or head south of the border for chicken tacos al pastor with grilled pineapple, cabbage, avocado, and salsa roja. And don’t overlook the outstanding selection of wines, cocktails, and beer.
Fresh Tracks Kitchen – Deer Valley Resort
Fresh Tracks Kitchen has something for every palate. Their menu of popular Fresh Tracks bowls include flavors like tuna poke, Thai curry, veggie fajita, Cajun chicken, and Mongolian beef. Or, give one of their sandwiches a try — they have steamed pork belly buns, grilled haloumi bruschetta, lobster rolls, Nashville chicken dogs, smash burgers, and other things that you wouldn’t have found at a ski resort 30 years ago.
RIME Raw Bar – Deer Valley Resort
Seafood lovers know to ski over to RIME Raw Bar near the top of the Jordanelle Express Gondola for freshly shucked oysters on the half shell, luscious lobster rolls, crudo, ahi tartare, fish tacos, clam chowder, shrimp cocktails, and cold beer and wine. It’s the perfect ski-in, ski-out on-mountain lunch adventure.
Dos Olas – Park City Mountain
For authentic Mexican cuisine in a vibrant cantina-style atmosphere, ski down to the Pendry at Canyons Village and visit Dos Olas. Executive Chef Carlos Segura has created a robust menu that ranges from ceviche, queso fundido, and roasted cauliflower with mole sauce, to fried plantains, adobo-roasted jackfruit tacos, carnitas, and carne asada.