Charcuteski noun, verb (shar-KOO-tuh-ski, idiom of charcuterie from French chair, 'flesh', cuit, 'cooked', and ski, Old Norse skíð, ‘stick of wood’) a type of on-mountain noshing involving…whatever you can cobble together.
Charcuteski, despite its posh-sounding name, at its core, is a meal on a stick. It’s meant to be as simple, relaxed and unpretentious as the tow-bar at Alta Ski Area from Sunnyside to Collins but can be as elaborate as a multi-resort Interconnect Tour. However, despite the viral nature of social media, the folks behind Charcuteski began posting their photos of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and other pedestrian snack foods atop their waxed planks as a salute to the simplicity, affordability and commonality of skiing.
No, skiing is not free; neither is a beach vacation or your kids’ little league or piano lesson, but as savvy families throughout the ages have learned, spending time together on the slopes can be simpler, more affordable and memorable. Charcuteski is one reminder of that.
Tip: Leftovers, crackers, bits of fruits and vegetables make great ingredients for charcuteski. Don’t overthink it; hungry skiers and snowboarders will eat anything!
Kera Pezzuti, Head Chedda and Board Lord of Charcuterski, began posting photos of her friends’ and families’ snack-laden skis in 2021, during the height of a global pandemic, when those with cabin fever flocked to the ski resorts of Utah to commune with nature and one another. On-mountain dining was limited, and people vastly preferred nibbling away from others.
One day, Pezutti and her crew exited the Lady Morgan Lift at Deer Valley Resort, trekked into the often-overlooked Centennial trees, and enjoyed lunch among the firs and pines. This family-style potluck was simple fare: a few meats, cheeses and “grilled” PB&J sandwiches laid out on top of a ski (although some like the waxed side). While some prefer dining in yurts, alpenglobes and five-star restaurants, this group of outdoor enthusiasts realized that, sitting on the snow in the middle of the Wasatch on a bluebird day, they had the best seat in the house.
Tip: If the teenager or snowboarder ate all the leftovers, local grocers including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Harmons have many prepackaged meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, even hummus and hard-boiled eggs to create an easy charcuteski menu. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate for dessert!
In skiing, there are those who refuse to share their secret stash and others who eagerly share the stoke. Some show off their face shots; others gear that equals some mortgage payments. Pezutti and her friends' excitement about charcuteski was not about how deep, how often, or how much but about how moments of connection with the mountain and one another revealed what they loved most about skiing. Charcuteski could and should be enjoyed by all. So, they created an Instagram account and began posting pics of their anything-but-haughty hors d'oeuvres.
@charcuteski had 100 followers in 24 hours, 1,000 in a week, and like the virus that lurked in the shadows beyond the trees, the account grew exponentially and spread globally, reposting mountain meals tagged from almost every continent. As of January 2024, @charcuteski amassed over 20k followers and nearly 200 posts. Charcuteski.com provides tips and tricks, services (for Salt Lake and Park City resorts), and, of course, swag. It’s been featured by various publications, primarily described as a creative way to avoid pricier resort meals.
Pezutti doesn’t dispute the cost savings, but the conversation always comes back to the communal aspect of dining — the sharing food and drink — and the mountain itself — needing to connect with nature — and literally grounding ourselves for a moment or more, looking around at those we love and capturing that image in our minds forever.
Tell us how you charcuteski in the comments!