The second best part of skiing—the third best part is finally taking those ski boots off at the end of the day and the best, of course, is whooshing down the slopes at top speed—has to be the break you take in the middle of the day to refuel. Call me crazy, but food just tastes so much better halfway up a mountain when you’re cold and spent and exhausted. But where are the best places to grab a bite while you’re skiing? No sad $14 bowl of chili for you, buddy; here are some of my favorites:
* Chimney Corner Lounge at Sunshine Village, Banff, Canada: It’s cozy without being cutesy, the fire is always roaring, and the prime rib burger can’t help but hit the spot. Hey, you can eat three million calories if you’re going to be working it off in the afternoon, I swear.
* Manzanita at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, CA: Just because you’re wearing ski pants, doesn’t mean you can’t be fancy. Swoop into the resort’s signature restaurant, headed up by famed San Francisco chef Traci des Jardins, for swanky French-meets-Californian cuisine.
* Hellroaring Saloon & Eatery, Whitefish, MT: As if the name isn’t already great enough, Hellroaring Saloon does one, well, hell of a steak, and the panoramic views from the old-school dining room sure don’t hurt either.
* One Ski Hill Place, Breckenridge, CO: Two words for you: espresso bar. It’s right on the Snow Plaza at Peak 8, which means swooping in for a pick-me-up cup of joe is easy as pie. Hey, get some pie too.
* The Bavarian Restaurant, Taos, NM: Great German food on the slopes? Ja, naturlich! If the wienerschnitzel and ski boot-sized beers don’t cheer you up, the staff in lederhosen will. Eat outside under the heat lamps and raise your glass with a “Prost!” as you toast to your good fortune (and good taste.)