Dirtbag’s Guide to Eating Lunch For Free at Ski Areas

By Zander Basedepth / STE Uneditor at Large

Only got 5 minutes to hunt and gather?

Not in possession of a $20 bill you care to spend on a burger, fries, fountain and cookie? That’s fine. There are plenty of folks who are. Let them handle the heavy lifting of paying for fancy high speed lifts.

Sure you could brown bag it, but that means returning to the car, lugging in a pack, and generally being prepared. What if hunger strikes but powder protocol means you have 5 minutes in the lodge to hunt and gather?

Please note: none of these options are recommended or endorsed by Ski The East. However, they do exist. The author can personally vouch for the viability of options 1 and 2. Option 3, in a lone attempt in 1998, did not end well.

Green Circle – The Cracker Sandwich

This one’s tried and true. You can usually locate soup crackers, relish, sometimes pickles, or other burger toppings in places that are outside the pay gates. Make a few stackables, shove it in.

You might need to do this in secret depending on what resort you are at. Prepare to be mocked a little. This option is low risk, but low reward. Cracker sandwiches offer calories, but little else.

Blue Square – The Scavenger

This one’s less socially acceptable, but offers more calories and the occasional surprise. There are a number of methods to choose from. You can stand near the trashcan and offer to help folks throw away their food.

There are often French fries, half eaten pizza, fruit, partial muffins and much more on its way to the landfill. You are helping the resort “go green.” It’s almost worth a press release. There’s a variation on this method that works at high-end resorts. You can try impersonating a table busser and seek out diners that are somewhat finished.

The other hot spot for scavenging includes the groups of ski school kids. These groms get free lunch and often grab way more than they will eat. They are also less likely (in theory) to have a disease, which is relevant since you are considering eating their leftovers. They tend to head to the receptacles in a pack, so be ready to pounce.

Black Diamond – The Drama Queen

This one has the highest risk, but might also get you a room at the Ritz. It’s also best delivered by a woman. Get a large tray of high end of food; get in line to buy all of it, and then proceed to spill a huge fountain drink all over your chest. Then cry and shout about it ruining your entire “vacation” . See where you can take it.

Only attempt this if you are committed and a decent thespian. The downside is manageable, just a drink on you. The upside, if you milk it enough, could be very good, especially if a manager gets involved and it’s in front of a large group of people. Undertake this at your own risk.

Got others? Yeah you do.