The Crystal Ski Holidays Blog

Vegan and vegetarian skiing holidays

Spare a thought for vegetarians and vegans who like to ski

All skiers and snowboarders know the value of a blooming good hearty meal. It refuels us, ready for the challenges of the next day on the slopes. Hopefully it tastes good too.

Meat-eaters, when you are eating out on a ski holiday – whether you prefer a greasy burger or a chateaubriand – you know that there is a whole menu for you to pick your dishes from. Vegetarians and vegans, you know that you are quite possibly going to be eating another salad.

In the UK, we seem to have got the picture that veggies are not going away, so have started to develop tasty dishes that even carnivores envy when they come out of the kitchen. Our European neighbours however can sometimes be a little less “veggie aware”.

Dietary differences

Vegetarian skiing holidays can be quite limiting on your diet. There is often a pretty sparse selection on menus. In most places it is improving as vegetarianism becomes more widely accepted and understood, and you will usually find at least one dish on the menu that has a V written next to it. But make sure you check what the ingredients actually are, as you may be surprised.

Nourish yourself at Nourish

These days you are unlikely to get pork and chicken in your vegetarian dishes – but that wasn’t (and isn’t) always the case.

Fish, however, is a different… erm… kettle of fish? Across much of Europe, fish is considered as a vegetable (well not meat anyway) and will often be found in marked vegetarian dishes. Great for pescetarians but not so good for full veggies.

Sunflower/vegetable oil is fast becoming the norm for preparing meals, but a word of warning – animal fat is still occasionally used instead. If you are in any doubt or have concerns, just ask the waiter.

Thank you Italy

I want to just give a quick special mention to the Italians. Thank you for creating the pizza, the saviour of many vegetarian abroad. Also for all the delicious meat free pasta dishes too. Vegans can often do alright in Italy too – just ask for no cheese and check if the pasta has egg in it. Buon appetito!

Vegans and vegetarians are more than just salad eaters

There are many reasons that people choose to become a vegetarian. Some dislike the flavour, others the texture, many just can’t bear the thought of munching down on a slice of Bambi or Ermintrude and plenty look at it from a more ethical stance. Whatever the reason is, vegetarians and vegans still want tasty food that fills a hole.

When I was 16 or 17 I chose to become a vegan because I disliked many of the farming practices that are used. I also opposed the excessive waste that the big commercial producers and supermarkets created. So I know how difficult it can be to find somewhere to just get a good meal out.

So, with this in mind I decided to hunt down dedicated vegetarian and vegan restaurants in ski resorts/towns.

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants in ski resorts and towns


Vitrine, Saalbach

Only open for the ski season, Vitrine is an organically certified restaurant serving vegan dishes with the tagline – aware, holistic genuine.

On the menu:

Beetroot Carpaccio with walnut and pear pesto

Cream of blood orange soup

Pistachio creme brulee

Kraut & Rueben, Bad Hofgastein

Vegetarian restaurant taking influences from across Europe and into Asia. Kraut (cabbage) & Rueben (turnip) also feature a few fishy items on the menu.

Stylish: Kraut & Rueben

On the menu:

Rosti “Diavolo” with hot chilli bean ragout

Vital salad with orange, cashews and apple

Homemade pancakes with a range of fillings


Nourish Bistro, Banff

Vegan and veggie dishes with informal and friendly service.

On the menu:

Paneer cheese curry

Vegan chocolate pudding

King Kong noodles

Grass Roots Bistro

Grass Roots Bistro,Fernie

Hip and happening bistro open 5 nights a week in downtown Fernie.

On the menu:

Spinach topped with grated carrots, fruit, candied walnuts, and goat’s cheese, dressed with a raspberry vinaigrette

Nutty mushroom burger

Apple pie with honeycomb ice-cream


Simple Bliss, Lake Tahoe

Serving breakfast and lunch daily, expect friendly service in this vegan cafe.

On the menu:

Homemade lentil burger

Blissful Burrito – mix of rice, beans peppers, tomatoes and avocado with choice of flour or spinach tortilla

Funky Monkey Smoothie with banana, berries, almonds and almond milk

Sage’s Cafe, Salt Lake City

Beer, burgers and ‘escargot’! Freshly prepared dishes that are 100% vegetable based. Sister cafe to the Vertical Diner (below). Both use seasoned tofu for their ‘chicken’ dishes and Tempeh (soy based) ‘bacon’.

On the Menu:

Mushroom Escargot – Shiitake mushrooms roasted in garlic, rosemary, balsamic and red wine sauce with carrot butter pate and toasted baguette slices

Philly cheese steak – Choice of grilled chicken, tempeh bacon, or portabella mushrooms with caramelized onion, roasted bell pepper and tomatoes topped with cheese

Deep Fudge Brownie

Vertical Diner, Salt Lake City

This place was awarded as one of PETA’s top ten faux chicken sandwiches in the US. They call it “extreme cuisine”. I call it a healthy version of the classic greasy spoon diner.

On the menu:

Fried chicken tenders tossed into spicy Buffalo Sauce and served with ranch dressing and celery sticks

Jamaican jerk chicken with black beans and rice, grilled peppers, salsa, guacamole, sour cream with whole wheat tortilla

Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch crumb cake with blackstrap molasses

Long Life Vegi House, Salt Lake City

Imagine a Chinese takeaway, but the entire menu has been turned into veggie (and pescetarian) friendly cuisine. Eat in or take away.

On the menu:

Sweet & sour vegetarian pork

Vegetarian chicken chow mein

Szechwan walnut

Grass Roots’ chilli with nachos


It isn’t just vegetarians and vegans that can find it tough. With increasing awareness of dietary requirements – some by choice and some for health or religious reasons – it is important that we know where our food comes from and what’s in it.

There will always be a chef out there that only cooks traditional meat-filled dinners from recipes handed down over the generations. And that is fine. They possibly might not even know what a vegetarian is.

Please be aware

  • These days I am a confirmed omnivore again. My values have not changed, but my buying habits have.
  • I have not been to any of the restaurants (yet).
  • This is not a definitive list and places change. But if you do happen to find a new one, or try out one of these restaurants then let us know so we can update this list – and add your reviews.

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