restaurants for a good ski lunch
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You have to admire the determination of a restaurateur who chooses to open a restaurant halfway up, or even at the top of a mountain! The challenges are huge just to get the ingredients up for the fantastic dishes they serve and to stock the bar and that adds hugely to running costs. Of course, whatever goes up, must come down, it’s all rubbish, and often a skidoo is the only way and requires endless travel.

The rewards for a successful restaurateur can be very rewarding. Shortly after I started skiing, in the mid-1990s, rumors swirled that one of the owners of a Courchevel restaurant on the slopes had been arrested. His misfortune stemmed from an unserious association with “someone” that French police were investigating, leading to the restaurant owner being investigated himself.

The restaurant

in question was receiving so much cash from the newly arrived Russian oligarchs that the authorities were convinced the restaurant was being used for money laundering! The owner was quickly arrested and remanded in custody while authorities set up an auditor in the restaurant to find out who and where the cash came from! A few weeks later, the owner was released after it was established that the restaurant was 100% legit and that his huge daily receipts were simply the result of his wealthy oligarch customers celebrating their lunches by opening thousands of bottles of the best crystal champagne. A wealthy Russian was rumored to have spent 3 million euros in Courchevel over the two weeks of the Russian New Year,

he was warmly welcomed by Courchevel 1850 businesses at the time. the owner was released after it was established that the restaurant was 100% legit and that its huge daily receipts were simply the result of its wealthy oligarch customers celebrating their lunches by opening thousands of bottles of the finest Cristal champagne. A wealthy Russian was rumored to have spent 3 million euros in Courchevel over the two weeks of the Russian New Year, he was warmly welcomed by Courchevel 1850 businesses at the time. the owner was released after it was established that the restaurant was 100% legit and that its huge daily receipts were simply the result of its wealthy oligarch customers celebrating their lunches by opening thousands of bottles of the finest Cristal champagne. A wealthy Russian was rumored to have spent 3 million euros in Courchevel over the two weeks of the Russian New Year, he was warmly welcomed by Courchevel 1850 businesses at the time.

Like Russian friends, a big part of any ski vacation for me is lunch on the mountain. After a few hours of racing around these days, mostly blue and red runs, I have a huge appetite, (but not enough to spray Cristal champagne on my friends at the table!)

The holy grail for a dining table in the mountains is being sheltered from all wind on a warm and sunny restaurant terrace with a view of the mountain peaks and slopes. Heaven..

This list is in no particular order, with all of these restaurants early booking is essential if you want a table between 12 and 2pm. But remember, lunch hours can be a wonderful time to ski empty slopes, so I often slip in for the second session.

Zermatt has no shortage of good restaurants, but Chez Vrony would be my first choice, especially when the sun is out. Be sure to book in advance to secure a table on the terrace or in the fabulously quirky restaurant.

Chez Vrony uses only locally sourced organic ingredients in recipes that have been passed down through generations. The wine list is also very complete.

I tend to avoid restaurants around Courchevel that cater to millionaire Russian visitors, not because I don’t like Russians, but because I can’t afford most of them! I once spent €200 for 4 rum hot chocolates in Courchevel at one of the more expensive restaurants. Also, I prefer skiing at this end of the three valley map, there are far fewer skiers and nice wide runs.

Whenever I’m in the Three Valleys, I always go for lunch or at least a snack at Le Bel Air. The terrace is large and, on sunny days, it’s the place to be for lunch.

The menu is very French, snails, great steaks and mountain favorites like tartiflette, expect to pay around €100 for a good lunch and a bottle of wine.

good lunch

Sauze d’Oulx has become a favorite ski resort for me and my group of friends over the past few years and they will be furious that I spilled the beans about the Ciao Pais. Sorry Brian, Matt, Dom and Tony, the next lunch here is for me!

The owner, Mirko, is the front man and an excellent host and lover of fine Italian wines, and will gladly discuss the best wines for your chosen menu.

Ciao Pais is located on a blue run, which leads back to the village, it is away from the main run which most skiers use, but locals know the reputation for excellent rustic mountain fare. The rabbit stew is very special, as is the pork knuckle. Extensive menu and great value wines make this my first choice for a lunch special.

Findlerhof, Zermatt, is another fine dining experience with a view! I can never decide if I prefer this restaurant or Chez Vrony’s, both are fighting for the top spot on Trip Advisor, I suggest you try both.

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