What Your Lunch Says About You

Skiers around the world eat lunch—that's not news. But how they do it—what they eat, where they dine—varies wildly

PHOTO: David Reddick

Alpine Meadows, California

Dave Powell and Marianne McCarroll met in the locker room at Tahoe's Alpine Meadows ski area. She was a foodie who became a personal chef; he was a painting contractor and a telemark skier.

They got married on the beach in Santa Cruz in 2001, skied 80 days a winter, and on those days, between noon and 1, they'd return to the locker room picnic tables to eat lunch. Not a soggy-turkey-sandwich-in-a-brown-bag ski bum lunch. Not a $14-resort-hamburger-and-fries tourist lunch. But a proper, homemade, midday skier's meal—potato stew, mushroom risotto, corn pancakes, lentil salad, complete with cloth napkins, silver forks, wooden bowls, and a glass of white wine.

McCarroll, always the cook, would sometimes boil pasta or heat soup over a propane stove in the back of their Toyota van in the ski resort parking lot. "Whatever was for dinner became lunch the next day," says Powell. "We never ate sandwiches. She always cooked what was in season." For them, the ritual of lunch—sitting down, breaking bread together—was just as important as the food itself. Plus, the respite made them stronger skiers, nourished and revitalized enough to ride until last chair.

In 2014, McCarroll was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer, and 17 months later, in April 2016, she died at the age of 53. Powell held a memorial for her at the summit of Alpine Meadows, and he kept skiing that spring, carrying a wooden box of her ashes in his jacket pocket. Today, you'll still find him at noon in the locker room, sitting down for a meal. "I try to make lunch like she would," he says. "It helps me feel her presence."


Lech, Austria—Käsespätzle
Near the Austrian village of Lech sits a wood-paneled restaurant called Gastaus Alpenblick, where a Formula 1 caterer named Karl-Heinz Zimmermann serves up the best käsespätzle in the land. This signature dish is like Austrian mac and cheese—dense, chewy egg noodles, a mixture of gooey local cheeses, and crispy, caramelized onions. "Book a table in advance and pre-order the käsespätzle," says Lorraine Huber, a Lech local.


Gulmarg, India—Dum Alo
"Kashmiris go to a family-run café and eat dum aloo, baby potatoes in spicy red gravy. It's usually eaten with a creamy, salty tea called noon chai," says amateur chef Cody Townsend, who once skied in Gulmarg for a film shoot. "Packed with a nose-twitching amount of spices, the flavors are big and tongue-tingling but not over the top. Instead of rushing around chewing brick-hard energy bars, you sit down, drink tea, eat amazing food, and talk."


Niseko, Japan—Onigiri
Pop into Seicomart, the convenience store scattered across Japan's snow country, and load your pockets with onigiri—triangular, cellophane-wrapped pockets of rice coated in dried seaweed and stuffed with surprises like cod roe, red salmon, or pickled plum.


Valle Nevado, Chile—Churrasco
For lunch in Chile, you'll eat churrasco: shaved, grilled skirt steak or chuck, served with mayo (lots of it), tomato, avocado, and cheese. You'll eat it with a colossal tower of French fries coated in more mayo and aji picante hot sauce.


Dalvík, Iceland—Flatbraud
"Icelandic flatbread with butter and smoked lamb meat is every Icelandic ski tourers top choice for lunch," says Jökull Bergmann, IFMGA mountain guide and owner of Iceland's Arctic Heli Skiing. "We also eat dried fish, which is probably the highest per weight in protein of anything you can get in the world and super tasty. You put chunks of salted butter on that and it's all you need for hours on end."

Illustrations by Tyler Hartlage

This story originally published in the November 2017 issue of POWDER (46.3). Subscribe to The Skier’s Magazine for $14.97.