The Essential Ski Vacation Nutrition Plan

Eat right. Ski hard.

Feb 4, 2013
Outside Magazine

Skiing tracks in the mountains of Sarek, Sweden.    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“People are usually more concerned with après ski than they are with getting the most out of their lift ticket,” says Adam Korzun, high performance dietitian for the U.S. Ski Team. “Make the most of it and try to get in as many runs as you can.” Here’s how:

“You’re going to get dehydrated faster at altitude than you would at sea level,” Korzun says. So make sure you’re well hydrated before arriving at the resort, then make an effort to stay hydrated while skiing. A simple rule of thumb: Drink when you’re thirsty.

“Skiing can be very strenuous so it’s important to start the day well fueled,” Korzun says. Don’t reach for a donut and head out the door. Instead, “get a good balance of carbs and protein,” Korzun says. Try an egg-white omelette with toast, or oatmeal with fruit and eggs.  

What you eat for lunch “depends on how hard you’re going. If you’re looking to get a lot of heavy runs in, you’ll burn carbs up fast,” Korzun says. Also, when you come to altitude from sea level, you’ll burn more carbs faster than normal. So replace them. If you’re heading to the lodge for lunch, Korzun recommends staying away from the nachos and burgers and chiliburgers. Opt instead for lighter fare that will replenish carb stores and provide some protein without making you feel sluggish. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich should do it, or just about any type of sandwich, or a bowl of chili.

As for the saucer-sized cookies and brownies and Rice Krispie treats most lodges have, Korzun says he’s not opposed to those, “but think about refueling and setting yourself up not just for afternoon runs, but for the next day, too.” That quick rush of sugar may make you feel awesome for a few runs, but you’ll likely crash hard afterward. Some better snack options: trail mix, Clif bars, or granola bars.

“The mindset is often flipped where we go right to the après ski, forget about refueling, and that compromises you on the next day,” Korzun says. Aim to eat a meal with a 2:1 ratio of carbs and protein before settling down in the hot tub with a glass of wine. A few options: chicken with vegetables and pasta, or stir fry with brown rice.

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