8 mountain meal ideas to save money on your next ski holiday

Sick of paying extortionate prices in self service mountain restaurants? Take things into your own hands with these tasty lunchtime treats

As anyone who’s been stung €20 for a bowl of disappointing spaghetti bolognese and a small coke can attest to, eating out on the mountain for lunch every day can soon add up to be one of the most expensive components of a ski holiday, especially in these days of post-Brexit exchange rate blues.

Time to up your skiing packed lunch game

Making up a packed lunch does take some preparation – and may be easier if you’re staying in an apartment rather than a hotel – but it’s a great way to save some dosh. Here are some ideas for pocket/backpack friendly mountain meals that’ll keep both your belly and bank account happy.

1. Sandwich

What would any list of packed lunches be without sandwiches? Bonus points for scavenging everything from the breakfast buffet if you’re staying in a hotel, otherwise go as gourmet as you like with fancy breads and cold meats from the super market.

2. Soup and a bread roll

Whether you whip something up from scratch (mmmm lentil and bacon!) or get it from a tin, it only takes a couple of minutes to heat up some soup and pour it into a thermos flask. Add a bread roll for dipping and you’ve got a simple but warm and filling meal that’ll keep you going all day.

3. Cold pizza

Whether pizza tastes better hot or cold the next day is a topic of debate that even the internet has failed to properly settle, but either way it makes an excellent lunch. If you’re feeling lazy just get a takeaway the night before (it’ll still be cheaper than buying from a mountain hut), otherwise either make your own or buy a cheapo frozen pizza from the nearest supermarket and cook with your choice of extra toppings, then wrap in tin foil and shove in your pack before heading out (pro tip: tuck it inside the blade of your avalanche shovel to stop it getting smashed up).

4. Leberkäse semmel

This one is only really valid for those holidaying in Austria. If you don’t know what Leberkäse is, picture a sort of meatloaf that looks and tastes a lot like the inside of frankfurter sausages – with pockets of cheese injected (we assume) into it for extra ‘nutrition.’ Sounds delicious right?! Maybe not, but we promise it does taste a lot better than you’d think; even better you can get it in a type of bread roll called a semmel for around €2 in the local Spar in pretty much every Austrian resort. Either grab a couple on the way to the lifts, or head down to the village at lunchtime.

5. Bento box burritos

A bento box is a type of lunch box with separate compartments invented by some genius in Japan (though you can pick one up easily on Amazon). Pop in your choice of meat, grated cheese, salad, veg and a couple of tortillas or pitta breads, then put it all together at your picnic spot of choice for a fresh and tasty lunchtime treat.

6. Cornish pasty

“You can get Cornish pasties in the Alps,” I hear you ask? Well, no, or at least not that we’ve found so far. Which means unless you’re very good at packing light this option will probably only work if you’re driving out (just chuck a few in the cool box), but these little pockets of delight not only taste AMAZING but contain all the meat and veg you need to keep your legs in mogul-pounding shape all day long.

7. Chilli con carne

If you’re self-catering with your family or group of friends, eating chilli con carne is pretty much inevitable on at least one evening of your trip. Luckily it’s also really tasty the next day, and makes a perfect filling meal to take on the mountain with you. Just pack some rice in a tupperware box, re-heat the chilli quickly in the morning and pour into your thermos flask. Tip the hot chilli onto the rice at lunch and enjoy (don’t forget a fork though!).

8. Hot dogs

Cooking up some hot dogs with a complex tailgate grill arrangement is a traditional end of the day activity in many ski resort car parks over the pond, but if you’ve got the kit (and some time to spare) there’s no reason why you can’t do it in the Alps either! A good out of the way picnic spot is a necessity, but if you have a camping stove or portable bbq it’s all pretty straightforward. Either buy some frankfurter-type sausages from the supermarket and boil them quickly on the stove, or if you’re going the bbq route (great later in the spring when the weather gets warmer!) just through ’em on the barbie and enjoy watching everyone skiing past trying to work out where the delicious smell is coming from.