Skiing and Eating Adventures in Chile

October 08, 2015

Very few people go all the way to Chile to ski for a day. Most folks come down for a week or so. The most common trip I guide is skiing several volcanoes over a week. We spend a little time each day learning new skills or refreshing techniques from the past season. Everyone gets a refresher on beacon use and skins, and most everyone uses ski crampons for the first time. What most people don't expect is how much emphasis I put on food, nutrition and hydration.

There is a huge difference between skiing for a week and skiing for a weekend. People like going to the office on Monday feeling a little worked from the weekend's activity. The sore quads and core sort of adds a little value, like you got the most for your money. Trying to ski everyday for a week is much more like a stage race then a criterium. If you bonk early on, you spend the rest of the time trying to catch up. This isn't the best way to get the most out of your week long skiing vacation.

There are numerous challenges to eating well in Chile, which makes it an adventure of its own! The first is that there is nothing close to a Whole Foods or other markets that stock every type of pre-packaged or pre-prepared food imaginable. Simply running into a store and picking up things that look like portables is not an option. The only things available ready-made will be cookies, candy bars, empanadas and sopapillas – which can be delightful, I must admit. To eat well, one has to make their own portables. This is where the adventure begins. First, ingredients can be limited and inconsistent. What you find in Santiago will be much different than what is found in Puerto Montt in the south. Looking for organic berries in the middle of winter? Ha! Forget it. Your favorite hot sauce? Hope you got it through customs. The other hurdle is that kitchens can be very, very different from place to place. Some places challenge your image of a kitchen entirely. It is for these reasons that I travel with a small kitchen kit – everything from knives and cutting boards to baking pans and muffin tins. Sometimes I even have my camping stove as backup.

These obstacles can be overcome, with a little planning, When my clients are going to ski everyday, averaging between four and five thousand vertical feet of climbing each day, then we need to consume calories. Consuming 2000 calories of candy bars and empanadas would be gross. It’s for these reasons that we make portables from scratch. Its been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. To give you a better visual and idea of what it’s like skiing and living in Chile, here are some photos and descriptions that capture some of the adventures of cooking in Chile. After eleven winters in Chile, I really look forward to the challenge of cooking real food. Each season I continue to be pushed to think outside the wrapper.    

Donny Roth is a Skratch Labs ambassador who believes in human-powered skiing (climbing to the top vs. using a chairlift). He believes there is more to skiing than simply going down hill. It's not all about the down, nor is it all about the up. Skiing and guiding for Donny is about the adventures, education and experiences. The following blog, written by Donny, sheds light on what a week of skiing and eating in Chile is like.

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