When the snow is just too good, it can be hard to heed the savage groans of your empty stomach. Lap the summit chair enough times, though, and your energy reserves (and spaghetti legs) are bound to crash hard. But refueling your cache doesn’t need to involve sweaty lodges and overpriced chili; and for the love of all that is edible: put down the stale, tooth-wrenching energy bar.
We’ve tested five on-the-go snacks that were made for sub-freezing temps, palatable taste buds and long hours on the move. The verdict: these alternatives couldn’t be any better to tie over skiers and snowboarders until last chair.
Created by professional golf caddie Jeff King, Kingmade Jerky is what you might consider a gentleman’s jerky for "active sophisticates." Premium cuts of beef flank steak are seasoned in three varieties (classic, buffalo and sweet chili pepper) and slow cooked to carnivores' delight. The 2.25-oz. re-sealable bags are loaded with hunger-busting protein and spiced with all natural, steakhouse-inspired ingredients and a sweet touch of brown sugar. Low in sodium and without MSG, nitrates or fillers, it won’t take long before you develop a beef with any other beef jerkies.
Classic Recipe: (per serving) 60 cal/2g fat/1g carbs/8g protein
When a duo of Taos, New Mexico-based ski bums gave up on the sorry state of energy bars, they turned to their kitchen for a better solution to cheap snacks. Kitchen experiments resulted in a batch of classic granola bars that have been artfully reimagined for high-brow ski bums, validating both sides of the sweet vs. savory debate. Hand-ground nut butters, crunchy organic super-grains (think: quinoa and amaranth), and power-boosting chia and flaxseeds are just some of the wholesome ingredients that are swirled with fair trade dark chocolate, organic butterscotch or agave nectar.
Chocolate Butterscotch: (per bar) 290 cal/12g fat/42g carbs/8g protein
Energy gels are convenient and quick for spurts of endurance, but they’re better left for serious performance athletes. For the rest of us, Justin’s line of squeeze pack nut butters stashes just as easily in your pocket, but they go down smoother, are made with natural and organic ingredients and taste delightfully rich. Peanuts, almonds or hazelnuts are the basis for Justin’s different varieties, which are then sweetened with real maple, vanilla or chocolate. Whether you smear a few tablespoons on a pastry or suck it down straight from its pouch, the dense calories won’t burn off as quickly as a Utah cloud cover.
Chocolate Almond Butter: (per pack) 180 cal/14g fat/11g carbs/5g protein
Jackson Hole pass holder Kate Schade began concocting the original Tram Bar recipe with whatever ingredients she had in her pantry, a culinary R&D experiment to keep her powered up while ripping tram laps until clocking into her evening restaurant job. Soft and chewy, these energy bites have since gained a following thanks to their organic, GMO-free ingredients and its inability to freeze in sub-zero pocket conditions. (Your teeth will thank you.) Pick from Kate’s five different flavors—including Tiki Bar, a tropical cornucopia of coconut, mango and cashews—and let these whole food bars do the rest of the work.
Original Tram Bar: (per bar) 360 cal/16g fat/49g carbs/8g protein
What’s not to love about the portability and versatility of burritos? Evol’s line of frozen mini burritos are stuffed with local and organic fixings and hand-rolled in a pocket-friendly tortilla. Started by the same guys who brought you Bear Naked Granola, Evol (the reverse spelling of love) leaves out all the artificial flavors, hormones, additives, preservatives and fillers that pass as today’s idea of "real food." Though warming up these hearty nuggets requires a little forethought on your end, a quick zap in the microwave (or, say, a blast of heat from a bathroom hand dryer) is often easy to come by.
Pro tip: Hot burritos can stand in for makeshift hand warmers.
Bean and Cheddar: (per burrito) 180 cal/3.5g fat/32g carbs/7g protein