Having just finished my favorite lunch of a peanut butter and banana sandwich with an ice cold root beer, it is time to talk about how many sick days at work you have saved up so you can use them to find your own freedom on the side of a ski hill while you are getting a sunburned face at the same time. Unfortunately, you cannot buy such a wonderful sandwich at any ski resort, mountain-top restaurant. You usually have your choice of a cheeseburger or a hamburger starting at $12.95.
I skied for a lot of years with a successful investment banker who could easily have bought the entire resort if it had been for sale. One day he and his wife were eating an egg salad sandwich that they had hauled to the top of the mountain in their fanny packs. They also had a couple of hard boiled eggs and four Oreo cookies. They were staying in a deluxe, $399-a-night room in a slope side condominium. After spending the morning skiing with his wife and their private instructor, he said, “I have done a cost analysis on the food prices and they are way too high. Anyway, how do you think I have gotten where I am financially if I didn’t watch things such as a too-expensive lunch for us?” This kind of apparent frugality is strange from a man and his wife who fly to ski in their private jet.
There can be incredible economic disparity among the many different people who are eating lunch in a mountain restaurant on any given day. At the table next to us are a group of true road warriors. Eight of them have just driven 1,200 miles nonstop except for gas so they can ski their brains out during this one-week-a-year ski vacation. No egg salad sandwiches for them. They want the energy and camaraderie that comes with sharing sandwiches at the mountain restaurant.
I always figure that a peanut butter and sliced bananas on eight grain bread will make those afternoon turns on those demo skis a lot smoother and your legs a lot stronger.
“If you want to get more runs for the price of your lift ticket all you need is a fanny pack that
will hold a couple of those great sandwiches. Cut them in half and leisurely eat them while you are riding on the lift.”
Years ago, before the invention of release or safety bindings, as I still call them, it was estimated that a skier had 1 chance in 10 of getting hurt. That logic would lead you to believe that if you skied 10 times you would get hurt. I averaged about 100 days of skiing each winter every year but one since 1946. That is a lot of skiing and I only got hurt once and that was when a binding released prematurely while I was traversing at only 3 mph. Fortunately, I didn’t break my leg, but I did break my back. After missing my peanut butter and banana sandwiches for 17 days and having to live on hospital food, including a lot of different-colored bowls of Jello, I finally got home to the good, old-fashioned peanut butter and banana sandwiches that my wife makes for me.
If you want to get more runs for the price of your lift ticket all you need is a fanny pack that will hold a couple of those great sandwiches. Cut them in half and leisurely eat them while you are riding on the lift.
The first time I had lunch with Laurie, who became my future wife, it was on the Limelight chairlift at Sun Valley. I had a pocket full of trail mix and by the time we got to the top, the peanuts in the trail mix had energized me to keep skiing nonstop. Or, was it because I had just met my future wife and could not begin to keep up with her fast skiing? She always waits for me at the bottom and I still don’t know whether it was so we could ride up together or she just liked the trail mix from the pocket of my almost-flattened down vest. There were more feathers in the trail mix than she approved of but she was a good sport about it … back then. You might not like what she’d say in this era if I offered her the same lunch today.
Warren Miller is history’s most prolific and enduring ski filmmaker. Visit warrenmiller.net or his Facebook page at facebook.com/warrenmiller. Read more of Warren’s stories at TheTahoeWeekly.com.