The onset of ski season evokes images of wood-burning fireplaces, bubbling Jacuzzis, puffy parkas, and plaid woolen blankets strewn loosely over clubby chalet couches. Die-hard boarders and casual bunny slopers eagerly anticipate opening day runs in resorts like Snowmass, Alta, Killington, and Aspen. But ski season also has the capacity to ignite a fire in the belly. Piping bowls of meaty chili and stews, rich fondues, spiked hot chocolates, and thick, grilled sandwiches all feel earned after logging a morning on backcountry trails and steep moguls.
And we’ve logged hours finding the best slope-side sustenance, from the decadent pots of fondue and lobster mac and cheese served by floor-to-ceiling windows at the Cliff House Restaurant in Stowe to the Utah trout and local cheeses at Montage Deer Valley’s sleek and modern mountain lodge restaurant Apex. But it takes more than just fantastic comfort food to be a select mountain-side eatery, they’ve got to offer awe-inspiring views of fellow skiers and boarders flying down the slopes outside. There is no better way to enjoy that warming French onion soup or savory smoked trout dip, than by gazing out oversized windows on the falling snow.
And then inside, the best mountain-side stops are welcoming and cozy with roaring fireplaces and open kitchens, oversized leather chairs and a bar fully equipped to serve hot toddies and other classic cold-weather drinks.
After careful consideration, then, here are some of our favorite spots to duck off the slope and refuel. Whether it’s a quick midday pit stop or a lingering end-of-day respite, they come complete with the best mountain-side views, a festive ski season vibe, and, of course, the best food around.