Trailside Tailgating: Recipe to Refuel and Relax on Your Big Ski Day

By Paula Colman Jan 31, 2022
Harmons Grocery has the recipe for a fast, easy and delicious tailgate lunch or après ski after your big powder day at Utah ski resorts.
Trailside Tailgating: Recipe to Refuel and Relax on Your Big Ski Day

Although charcuterie boards are pretty, most people – ok, maybe I’m projecting a bit – don’t have the time or talent to create a mosaic of flavors while also trying to locate their kids’ mittens and pants. So, I tapped the experts at Harmons, Utah’s largest local family-owned and operated grocer, for advice on helping hungry skiers connect-the-dots to prepare a trailside smorgasbord. Appropriately, it’s a step-by-step recipe.

Recipe for Refueling on the Slopes

Meeting at Powder Mountain on a sunny January day, Sarah Kiel, a registered dietitian and sports nutrition expert for Harmons, parked her hatchback at the Hidden Lake Lodge. Actually, she parked on the opposite side of the lot facing west toward Ogden Valley and the towering peak of Ben Lomond. Turning my physical perspective away from the ski runs that cascaded from the 8,900’ summit not only provided a visual respite from the adrenaline-filled skiers carving away from me but also turned what is typically a pitstop for recovery into a leisurely meal that had me expanding my ideas about on-mountain dining.


Sarah, whose official title is ‘Wellness Champion’, was bemused when I muttered that ‘healthy après ski fare’ was an oxymoron. She explained that she preferred to think of eating as refueling your body after a high-performance activity such as skiing or snowboarding. Some fuels are better than others. So, after altering my mental perspective like spotting a line to ski through the trees, she deftly explained about carbohydrates and glucose-friendly foods and the importance of eating and drinking before, during and after skiing. Although I didn’t see any french fries (my go-to post-ski snack) peeking out of the SUV, I didn’t think I'd be hungry either. 

Mise en Place

If you're planning a ski lunch or après ski menu, shopping for ingredients is about as pleasurable as a snowboarder hoofing it on a flat cattrack. Even if you enjoy cooking, the meal preparation takes time away from enjoying the mountain. Harmons Dietitians have made this part easy by providing Dietitians Choice Collections, curated lists that allow you to select individual items and fill an online grocery cart. With a few clicks, you can purchase and pick them up on your way to the resort. From Heart-Healthy Mediterranean to Smart Snacking to one specifically focussed on Sports Nutrition, such menus include foods that not only meet nutritious dietary needs but are delicious. However, if you want to shop from Harmon’s entire e-shop inventory (including the items listed in each course below), you can find many sliced and diced ingredients as well as prepared or heat-and-eat dishes that are perfect for an easy-to-assemble polar picnic. After all, you’re here to carve the slopes, not cantaloupes.



As a Utah skier herself, Sarah created and laid out a Ski Utah Après-Ski Snack Board. Other than slicing the apple, it was ready to eat, giving us more time to relax and enjoy the view. (DC) indicates that it is a Dietitians Choice item, and (L) means that it’s locally sourced.

  • Large Honeycrisp Apple (DC)

  • Red Seedless Grapes (DC)

  • Harmons Veggie Snap Tray with Ranch (L) (DC)

  • Hamons Lemon Turmeric Hummus (L) (DC)

  • Beehive Cheese Co. Red Butte Hatch Chile Cheese (L)

  • Pepperlane Jalapeno Preserves, Blackberry Buzz (L) (DC)

  • Creminelli Salami Minis Original (L)

  • Heber Valley Artisan Cheese Cascade Raw Cheddar (L)

  • Laziz Foods Muhammara, Red Pepper Spread (L) (DC)

  • RW Garcia Sweet Beet Crackers (DC)

  • Milton’s Baked Crackers, Original Multi-Grain (DC)

  • Gold Peak Unsweetened Tea (DC)

  • Topo Chico Sparkling Water (DC)

Beverage Pairings

Notice that beverages are included in the list. Hydration, in fact, is as if not more important than sustenance, particularly in Utah’s dry climate. And while water is usually best, drinks with additional carbohydrates and not too many sugars are fine on an active day.

Main Courses

Our main course included both beef and chicken fajitas with onions and bell peppers, all pre-sliced and ready to serve after just a few minutes of cooking on a camp stove. Wrapped in a tortilla with fresh guacamole, pico de gallo and bean and corn salsa, this would be enough fuel to tackle moguls until the last lift closed. 



Here’s your Mountainside Meal shopping list:

  • Harmons Fiesta Fajita Beef/Chicken (L) (DC)

  • Harmons Traditional Guacamole (L) (DC)

  • Harmons Serrano Spicy Salsa (L) (DC)

  • Harmons 8-inch Homestyle Flour Tortillas (L)

  • Harmons Corn and Black Bean Salad (L) (DC)

Arguably, not everyone has a grill packed with their goggles. Harmons, with locations from Ogden to Provo and even St. George, is known not just for stocking quality meats and produce, but also for its in-house fresh sandwiches, salads, prepared mains and veggies and baked goods making preparation easy and everyone in your crew happy. 

Desserts and Snacks

Utah has been called by some the Craft Chocolate Capital, and a little cocoa is always a sweet treat. However, I nervously wondered whether my beloved, locally-produced Ritual Chocolate would make the cut. (For the record, The Après bar with sparkling wine infused with dried raspberries is my favorite.) Sarah excitedly replied, “I often recommend chocolate milk as a recovery drink for athletes.” Perhaps this is why hot cocoa is the iconic drink at most ski resorts. Then, she pulled a Ritual chocolate bar from her backpack. 


If you don’t use a backpack while skiing, definitely consider a stash of snacks in your pockets (and your kids’ pockets). Here’s the Powder Stash Packable and Snackable List to choose from:

  • Large Honeycrisp Apple (DC)

  • Ritual Chocolate Mid Mountain Blend 70% Cacao (L)

  • Starkist Tuna Creations, Chunk Light Tuna, Lemon Pepper

  • Probar Meal, Almond Crunch (L)

  • Justin’s Almond Butter, Cinnamon

  • Cache Valley String Cheese (L) (DC)

  • Water in an insulated bottle (use your own)

Just Add Water

Although most people skiing all day are focused on lunch and après ski, powderhounds in their desire to make first chair, often forget breakfast or throw a banana in the front seat. Here’s a locals tip: Resort coffee shops, delis and restaurants often provide hot water. So, make sure to stock up on these Just Add Water Staples as you would hand warmers:

  • Cucina & Amore Quinoa Meal, Spicy Jalapeno & Roasted Pepper (DC)

  • Kodiak Cakes Oatmeal Unleashed, Maple & Brown Sugar (L) (DC)



Lunch was delicious, in part, because it was easy to prepare, giving Sarah and me time to relax, chat, and, because she brought so much food, made several new friends parked next to us. Aside from soaring down the mountain, connecting with friends and foods on a forested mountain with views that stretch forever is what skiing is all about. Make time for these. They will all refuel your body and soul.