Long Spring Lunch or Not: Pro

Fall Line

Bruce, you hypertensive worm. Yes, it's true that the typical lodge lunch experience can be overheated, overcrowded, overpriced and utterly unsavory. But only if you do it wrong.

Done right, lunch is what separates the stress-monkeys from the people who have learned how to live. It requires a principle sacred to all ski bums: casualism. If you've got no time to linger over lunch, then you haven't made a proper commitment to the snow god Ullr. The complete ski life is not just one of gliding down a hill. It's a life of peace in a beautiful place. Only the weekend warriors in their shimmery suits, cell phone to one ear and walkie-talkie to the other, are ignorant enough to Zone Bar their way through lunch. Those who have gotten their priorities straight, quit their jobs and skied their brains out all season are at peace with themselves, and therefore able to enjoy a sacred ritual in the middle part of the day. Lunch is for being, not for doing. And sometimes the less you do, the more you are.

To see what you're missing, go to Europe or Quebec. They know that life's too short to rush a meal. Of course, their lunches are too good to rush. In the lodge at Le Massif, for instance, you can sit down to confit of duck for about the price of a burger at most American resorts. And we're not just talking foodism here; we're talking fun. I love sitting around a table hearing the story of Big John's epic face-plant that morning, or 6-year-old Sophie's successful descent of a double-black. One of my greatest ski memories ever, right up there with the waist-high fluffies and the untouched bowls, was the pilsner and goulash in a Swiss glacier-top café.

And spring was made for a luxurious lunch. When I'm at a resort where the food is dull and costs as much as the rental equipment, I also like to brown bag it. But we don't open the bag on the lift, for God's sake. We hike up to some warm and secluded rocky outcrop, turn our faces to the sun, open a backpack and toast our good fortune with bread, cheese, fruit and wine.

Lunch isn't an interruption of skiing. It is skiing.