Busting powder or cruising the groomers can work up a skier's or snowboarder's appetite. Add some really cold temperatures, and you're definitely dipping into your calorie stock.
A lunch break can do wonders for your day on the hill, and we're not talking about consuming the granola bar or PB&J sandwich stashed in your pocket while riding the lift. No, we're all about having a decent meal at a mountainside dining establishment.
Here are five favorite on-hill dining options in the Lake Tahoe area.
The Baja Grill, located at the base of the West Bowl Chair at Sierra-at-Tahoe, has a lively Caribbean vibe going for it, with fresh fish tacos, quesadillas and burritos served to a reggae beat. Adirondack chairs are strewn about in front of the Baja Grill, allowing patrons to soak up the sun as well as Coronas and margaritas.
The Chalet, nestled at the base of Alpine Meadows' Yellow Chair, offers your basic winter comfort foods – fresh-baked lasagna, homemade soups and chili, made-on-the-spot sandwiches – served in a half-century-old building that oozes European gemutlichkeit. The Chalet is rather small, so during stormy weather it can be a tight fit inside, but on a sunny day, its expansive deck can seat a large, exuberant crowd.
The Gunbarrel Grill, located in the Lakeview Lodge at the upper terminus of Heavenly's aerial tram, has been called a "man cave" by some, with its flat-screen TVs, gourmet burgers and selection of microbrews, but the real treat of the Gunbarrel Grill is its fantastic views of Lake Tahoe, and the opportunity to watch skiers and boarders make their first tentative turns down the infamous – and super steep – Gunbarrel run.
The Snowflake Lodge, which sits at the top of Diamond Peak's Lakeview Quad, overlooks Lake Tahoe and affords expansive views of the Sierra crest to the south and west. The food's pretty good, too, with Kobe beef hamburgers, portabella mushroom "burgers" and rueben and meatloaf sandwiches topping the menu.
The Summit Deck Bar & Grille, which is located at Northstar's highest point, the 8,610-foot summit of Mt. Pluto, and is accessible by the Comstock and Backside quads, features a variety of hand-crafted foods, including tacos, burritos, chili, barbecued burgers and smoked turkey. The view, though somewhat impeded by towering pine and fir trees, does offer panoramic glimpses of Tahoe and the Sierra and Carson ranges.