These spring skiing days seem to come upon us so quickly. One day its dumping feet of powder and the next there are daffodils popping up and we’re skiing on mashed potatoes. But it’s so good. Patio dining, on or off mountain, with music cranking and the sunshine pouring down—it’s an unbeatable vibe. Here are a few great ones, not just for the food but for the little somethin’ that makes each place special.
The Corner Store, Park City. Since 1974, this hangout has been a ski bum’s mecca, serving a tasty bar menu to the goggle-clad crew on the patio, conveniently located on the Main Plaza at Park City resort, mere feet from the Pay Day lift. It’s a gregarious all-ages scene, with live bands every Wednesday-Thursday. Crazy costumes will be emerging from now until closing day. Giant nachos and build-your-own-burgers at the thing here, as well as local beers from Squatters and Wasatch.
The Summit, Snowbird. Next, head to top, elevation-wise. At 11,000 feet, Snowbird’s brand new lodge on the crest of Hidden Peak is the place to be this season to soak in sunshine as well as 360° views of the Wasatch Mountains and beyond. Accessed the by the Tram, the lodge is serving up fresh-made paninis, rotisserie roast sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, house-made chili and a large salad bar. Everything is tasty. It’s cafeteria-style so fill your tray, grab a cold brew and head out to claim your spot on top of the world.
Earl's Lodge and John Paul Lodge, Snowbasin Each spot at Snowbasin has its perks. At the base, Earl’s Lodge offers an expansive patio that is always a hopping, colorful scene, where the must-try is the “Go Big” Basin Burger, grilled ground chuck topped with cheese, bacon, barbecued pulled pork and friend onions. For a jaw-dropping, alps-like setting, take a lift to the John Paul Lodge, a gorgeous mountain structure with panoramic views. Nestled under sheer cliffs, the deck is the place to enjoy The Mondo burger with Italian sausage, peppers and provolone or I also recommend the chicken parm sandwich.
Lonestar Taqueria, The Valley, Cottonwood Heights, UT Locals make regular pilgrimages here for the fresh fish tacos, grilled to order and served up for couple bucks. The colorful joint, located minutes from the mouth of Big Cottonwood, is no stranger to stardom. Sunset Magazine named the tacos here “Best in the West” and it has been featured on more than one national food network program. The only drawback, apres-ski-wise, is that it is closed on Sunday.
The Roundhouse, Solitude The patio at this mid-mountain restaurant is perfectly situated to catch the afternoon sun, where mellow vibes prevail in Solitude style. The menu is a cool blend of “Himalayan and Wasatch-inspired” food, which means you can elevate your palate with lamb curry, chicken makhani, saag paneer, dahl baht and naan; or taste local ingredients with chicken pot pie, Bear River spinach shepherd’s pie or their version of Utah funeral potatoes.
Mountain Terrace, St. Regis, Deer Valley. Let's finish in style, shall we? Schuss your way over to the east side of Deer Valley Resort, follow the Little Stick run to Deer Hollow and right to the steps of the Mountain Terrace, off the J&G Grill Bar. From this posh perch, the views of Deer Valley and the ski town below make a trip here worth the $16 cocktail price. Lunch for two, including two cocktails each (hey, it was Sunday!), an appetizer, a pizza and a burger to share ran a mere $129. So…it’s not your everyday thing but every sip and every bite is phenomenal. Try the 7452 Mary (that’s the elevation), the signature Bloody Mary served in a glass rimmed with black lava salt. The Snake River Farms burger with local Beehive cheddar, bacon and caramelized onion jam is perfection.