On ski tours, I’m partial to snacking on a PB &J made with Dave’s Killer Bread, toasted to keep it from getting soggy. But I always also have a packaged energy bar or two in my pack for additional fuel. Here are a few of our favorite energy foods that do well in cold weather.
Redd Chocolate Brownie
These brownies ($30 for 14) are made from an impressive array of ingredients: oats, chia, quinoa, goji berries, and agave to name a few. They deliver a solid 10 grams of protein per bar even though they contain zero soy, nuts, dairy, or GMOs. We like the 50 mg of caffeine (from yerba mate) that supplies a short-term energy boost while the complex carbs and proteins kick in more gradually. The brownies don’t freeze and are a great choice for medium and long backcountry missions—or to share on the chairlift.
Chapul Chaco Cricket Bar
The protein in the Chapul bars ($32 for 12) is derived from crickets. Yes, crickets. The concept is that insects are a far more environmentally friendly source of farmed protein than even soy because they take far less water to raise. (Founder Pat Crowley is a former Colorado plateau river guide.) The crickets are ground into a flour and then mixed with other ingredients, mostly dates and peanuts, which is largely what the Chaco bar tastes like. Because of that, it’s a bit higher in carbs than other protein bars, so is a good choice for short-term energy delivery. We love the concept, and were pleased that the bars didn’t freeze in temps in the mid-20s.
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews
For high output missions like skate skiing, popping the occasional energy chew is a better choice than protein bars. You don’t have to fumble for crumbs in the wrapper and you don’t need water to choke them down. The honey these Honey Stinger chews ($27 for 12 packets) are made from burns slower than the corn syrup in candy, so they give a more sustained boost. We also like the small size for easier rationing.
Though the beef in the Omnibar ($39 for 12) comes from Montana pasture-raised cattle, it’s not jerky. Sweet potatoes and other complex carbohydrates are mixed in to supply short-term energy as well as the slower burning kind from protein. This is your pick for longer days in the snow or meal replacement. They don’t freeze (and don’t need refrigeration), and come in four flavors including mango curry and cranberry rosemary.
Vermont Smoke and Cure Realsticks
Unlike the Omnibar, these actually are jerky. Stash them in your pack as emergency rations or use them as the cornerstone of your trail lunch. Realsticks ($33 for 24) are a healthier choice and are made of New England sourced natural beef, and with half the fat and 40 percent less salt than your Slim Jim-type jerky, they’re definitely a healthier choice than what you'll find at the gas station. They're also the right option for someone who disdains sweet energy bars (and the potential for a sugar crash). Not into eating cow? Check out the Turkey Ancho variety.
Kate’s Tram Bar
The Tram bar ($3) is made by a Jackson, Wyoming, ski bum who for years brought her own concoctions on laps at Jackson Hole’s famous tram. They run a little higher in fats and carbs than other protein bars here, so supply energy relatively quickly without that sweet, sugary taste and go down pretty easy without water. Founder Kate Shade has expanded the line to offer four other recipes—some with more protein, some dairy free—but they’re all delicious and made from largely organic ingredients.