Culture

A Pro Skier’s Go-To Foods for Big Mountain Missions

Hadley Hammer skips the energy bars in favor of real foods that pack a punch.

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When pro skier and Jackson, Wyo. native Hadley Hammer moved to Innsbruck, Austria to shift her attention from exploring the Tetons to exploring the Alps, she thought she’d found heaven. As far as the eye could see, there were new peaks to be climbed, new lines to be skied—and a full-service mountain hut perched near the top of each serving up freshly baked pretzels, steaming bowls of dumplings, and perfectly foamed cappuccinos to refuel before continuing on the adventure.

“The best adventure days for me are a formula consisting of an alpine multi-pitch climb that has a decently long approach and a hut filled with cake at the end,” says Hammer. “I get my endurance training, skill-set training, and fuel all in one fun and delicious package.”

Hammer, a former competitor on the Freeride World Tour turned pro skier, has recently turned her attention to mountaineering, whether on skis or on foot, and spends long days in the Austrian Alps bagging peaks. Big missions call for lots of fuel, but unlike other pro athletes, Hammer prefers to get her nutrients from real food rather than energy bars and supplements.

Related: Why Hadley Hammer traded her life as hotelier for the life of a pro skier

“When you spend your days in the mountains, so much of your daily fueling must come from portable food sources,” Hammer says. “Energy bars are easy, but when I came to Europe, I found that I could ditch the bars (which are actually hard to even find here) and fuel my days with food served from mountain huts. Instead of bars, I started carrying a bag of trail mix and some Euros,” Hammer says.

But the switch from energy bars to real food isn’t entirely new or because she now has other options thanks to Europe’s mountain hut system, Hammer explains. After so many years cramming the same protein bars, she grew tired of the dry consistency, ubiquitous aftertaste, and all the plastic wrappers that couldn’t be recycled.

“Even without a hut system, over the years I’ve preferred real food over packaged food,” she says. “My winter bag is stuffed with croissants, sweet potatoes and cinnamon, salmon spreads, leftover pancake sandwiches, and warm chai. My summer bag has rice cakes, nut mixes, chocolate, and hand-harvested elderberry and lemon infused water. The extra weight of real food and reusable packaging is always worth it for me.”

Here, Hammer shares three of her go-to recipes for real foods that sustain her for long hours out in the mountains.

Kaiserschmarrn

Kaiserschmarrn in skillet
Kaiserschmarrn is a traditional Austrian and German sweet dish made from an egg batter and commonly served with applesauce or fruit compote. Photo: Getty Images

“There are a million ways to make Kaiserschmarrn, a traditional sweet dish served in Austria and Germany,” explains Hammer. “This way was taught to me by a woman who has become a second mother to me in Austria. It’s far simpler than most other recipes. I find it’s a perfect dish post skiing or even mid-ski day to refuel your stores.”

Ingredients

  • 1.5 spoon fulls of all purpose flour (type W700)
  • 1.5 spoon fulls of pastry flour (type W480)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 packet of vanilla sugar or tsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp butter

Directions

  1. In large bowl, mix together flour, salt, vanilla sugar
  2. Pour in enough milk to make a smooth thick batter (about 3/4 cup)
  3. Add eggs to batter and barely whisk (just enough so the yolks are broken up)
  4. Add 2 tbsp butter into a wide pan on medium-low heat
  5. Pour in batter, cover with lid for 8-10 minutes, checking the bottom to see if it’s brown. Once browned, flip, cook for another 2 minutes; with a spatula, tear dough into rough chunks
  6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with apple sauce or fruit compote

Umami Rice Cakes

How to Make Umami Rice Cakes
This recipe is a great energy-bar replacement. Good fuel that’s packable and portable. Photo: Keri Bascetta

“Skratch Labs founder Dr. Allen Lim made these rice bars for the entire North Face athlete team at one of our summit gatherings,” says Hammer. “They’re easy on the stomach and budget, and there are endless mix-in options—bacon and egg, apples and cinnamon, chocolate, etc. Put them in a beeswax wrapper to avoid single-use plastic.”

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry sushi rice
  • 3 cups water (or broth)
  • ¼ cup Bragg Liquid Aminos (or coconut aminos for a soy-free option)
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¹/₃ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ¼ tbsp. Wasabi Fumi Furikake Rice Seasoning

Directions

  1. Rinse rice until the water is clear, then drain water
  2. Add 3 cups water or broth to rice and cook in rice cooker
  3. When rice is cooked, mix in aminos, vinegar, syrup, and oil; mix until rice is thoroughly coated
  4. Spread hot mixture into metal sheet pan and top with rice seasoning; allow mixture to cool and solidify, then cut into squares and wrap for on-the-go snacking

Source: Skratch Labs/The Feed Zone Cookbook

Shop for The Feed Zone Cookbook: Amazon

On-The-Go Oatmeal

Oatmeal with fruit, nuts, yogurt
Add Greek yogurt, nuts, or protein powder to your standard oatmeal to sneak more protein into your morning meal. Photo: Getty Images/ BURCU ATALAY TANKUT

“Most of the year I eat oatmeal for breakfast,” says Hammer. “It’s unglamorous, but the perfect meal for a day in the mountains that leaves me fueled but not weighed down. The toppings vary depending on the season. What’s important is to include a good mix of fruit and protein. I’ll have it with a big glass of matcha tea mixed with a green powder. Carbs, protein, fiber, fat, and greens—and you’re out the door.”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • Desired toppings: handful of fruit, nuts or nut butter, flaxseed, protein powder, etc.

Directions

  1. Mix oats, water and chia seeds together in a sealable container. Store in the fridge overnight. This will make about three days worth of oatmeal and truly gets better the longer it sits.
  2. Day of, scoop out a portion and cook on low heat with a splash of milk until warmed through
  3. I add a handful of fruit, nuts or nut butter, flaxseed, unflavored Momentous protein powder on big days, a scoop of yogurt, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

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