At night the mid-mountain warming hut Allyn’s Lodge at Sugarbush turns romantic. Ski boot scuff is concealed under white cloth and candle-lit picnic tables as moonlight descends. Country pate, cheddar fondue, ribeye steak, rack of lamb — everything you wouldn’t expect in a place that specializes in hot cocoa and soup by day — are served.
“It’s not ski lodge food,” said Patrick Brown, Sugarbush communication manager.
Should you overindulge, don’t worry about your snow pants not fitting the next day. Guests can strap on helmet lights and ski to the Timbers Restaurant for maple eggnog crème caramel dessert. Go on a full moon for an over-the-top experience.
At Stowe, you don’t have to travel far for a magnificent meal with a view. At the base of Vermont’s first ski mountain, chef Josh Berry turns out fare so elegant at Solstice, it’s easy to postpone that last run indefinitely.
Truffle pot roast served by the fire as Mount Mansfield looms in the distance is an alpine extravagance that skiers are sopping up.
“Eating in Vermont and living here is more like Europe. Everyone plans their day around food,” said Berry, a classically trained chef who cooked in Lucerne, Switzerland, and the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, N.H.
With a network of dairy farms, gardens, and meat purveyors so close, ski chefs are living the locavore dream.
“I have farmers calling me to get on my cheese program,” said Berry, who offers 18 local fromages from the tender bijou goat from Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery to Cabot’s signature clothbound cheddar.
Berry “micro sources” from 45 to 50 miles away and most of his dairy products travel a mere five miles.
Cheese is paired with local, raw honey, toasted almonds, and stone fruit chutney. Add charcuterie like house-made duck liver pate with artisan bread, and it’s clear this is not your father’s après-ski.
Back at Okemo, after we had polished off our best meal in recent memory, our snowcat driver was ready to roll.
Climbing into the vehicle, I noticed he was clutching a dinner to go. “Why do you think I volunteered for this?” he said, steering the craft back down the silent, dark slope.
Kathleen Pierce can be reached at kathleen-pierce.com.