PHOTO: Andrew Lanoue
PHOTO: Andrew Lanoue

Meet the Skiers Serving Hot Ramen from a Tram Car

Inspired by Japanese food trucks, the Vermont couple decided to bring the Far East to the Northeast

A ramen shop in a Jay Peak tramcar may seem like an odd order, but for Jordan and Momo Antonucci and their dog, Miso, it has become the ultimate ski bum recipe. Adventure brought the two skiers together as raft guides in Japan, then the couple followed winter from Japan to Australia, to Colorado, to Vermont, and back again. Working restaurants by night, chasing powder by day, the wayward American and his Japanese partner wanted to keep the dream rolling—so naturally, they put it on wheels.

Inspired by the food trucks sweeping the Japanese ski scene, the couple decided to bring the Far East to the Northeast. A couple thousand airline miles, an old trailer, and a wedding ring later, they opened Miso Hungry, a ramen truck just outside Jay Peak, in the winter of 2014.

Last year, they upgraded to a repurposed tramcar to bring the authentic Japanese cuisine right to the slopes. Today, when Jordan, 29, and Momo, 32, aren't skiing the East's deepest snowpack (an admitted distraction), they're slinging noodles from the kitchen, helping the Northeast Kingdom add a little slurp to their slarve.

Kade: So an American guy and a Japanese girl walk into a rafting job…
Jordan: I didn't speak a lick of Japanese. After living with seven people in a 1,000-square-foot cabin, we started to communicate better and I realized Momo and I had way more in common than I thought, and this crazy flirtation thing happened.

How did you decide on a ramen truck?
We saw how they were building a food truck village in Niseko. We decided it was perfect. We get to travel, post up next to a ski mountain, and cook some damn good food. Our backcountry trips and ski trips always end in ramen, so why not do that? We can source everything as locally as possible, keep the menu simple and small.

Why Jay Peak?
If we're on the East Coast, there are only two places to do it: Sugarloaf or Jay Peak. We were going to ski every single day. Those are the places I wanted to ski every single day.

Powder skiing to noodle stirring ratio?
From 8:30 to 11 a.m., we're shredding our faces off. We always give a 45-minute cushion so we can get an extra run. Luckily, on deep days, people aren't eating until 1 p.m., so we can ski 'til noon. Keep your boots on. If, for whatever reason, things are slow at 3, two out of four people in the shack get out for runs. It is a work-in-your-ski-attire location.

When you showed up with your noodles, did you get a warm welcome?
If you love Vermont, Vermont is going to love you. It's a reciprocated lifestyle. Both Momo and I have always been ski bums, so one of the first things we did was to make sure that everyone could try our stuff. Eight bucks for the ramen, enough to cover food costs. It wasn't a business move; we wanted to know everybody.

Why is ramen good ski bum fuel?
Starts with the bone broth—it has everything you need to keep you going—natural electrolytes pumped with protein. The carbs of gluten-based noodles are healthy energy. Then we're topping it with fresh veggies for that handful of vitamins. You're not going to want to go to sleep after—you're going to want to get back out there and ski more runs.

It's not the most portable…
We do this thing called the Backcountry Booster, courtesy of one of my staff that was too hungover to eat a bowl of ramen for lunch. He just had a 12-ounce cup of broth and the miso, pounded the thing, and he was laced with energy. Grab a Booster, click in, and 30 seconds later you can be on the chairlift. We sell more of those than ramen on powder days.

That's brilliant.
It all comes from being hungover. Who would've thought?