Beyond Skid: A Cookbook for Ski Bums arrived on my doorstep this winter. The cookbook, running nearly 150 pages, is a polished, visually appealing, easy to read, easy to use, and for the recipes I’ve made, a rather practical how-to guide.
I came into this review cold. I had no background on the cookbook or the authors, Lily Krass and Max Ritter, both Jackson Hole based writers. I did have some fleeting experience with ski bumming, with an emphasis on fleeting. Between a first post-college job in Seattle and many years in Missoula, I escaped urbanity and embraced bigger skies in Whitefish.
There, I was hellbent on backcountry skiing and climbing as much as possible, but work often got in the way. I started and sold a recycling pick-up service, held down a gig as the Numa Ridge fire lookout in Glacier National Park, cleaned ski resort hotel rooms but never bought a ski pass, and sucked in a lifetime of secondhand smoke and contact highs from weed-worshipping roommates.
I’m confident, though, that I cannot call myself a ski bum.
But back then, my diet consisted of basics like spaghetti and Prego red sauce, iceberg lettuce salads, and beans (specifically lots of lima beans; one of the roommates loved the limas), rice and tortillas, chips, and salsa. I considered cheese a luxury but made french press coffee a habit.
Any mid-century inspiration for better eats came from our copy of The Joy of Cooking, a cookbook first published in 1936, long before some of the fusion recipes Krass and Ritter present were in vogue.
Those are my ski bum credentials, which are lacking and likely disqualifying. Anyhow, ski bum, a term describing an extinct or thriving lifestyle, it depends on who you talk to, must be something different now.
Beyond Skid’s Foodie Goods
Beyond Skid is loaded with foodie goods. There’s a recipe for Quick Chickpea Flatbread, staples like Weeknight Bolognese (time to cook 1 hour), Kale Strawberry Salad (time 25 minutes), and Mexico City Street Tacos (time 45 minutes). The recipes span latitudes and longitudes and have the potential to satisfy dietary restricted ski bums and those trying to reduce their food carbon footprint. (I see the irony in those sentences if you are a ski bum originalist.)
The cookbook’s contents are organized by Kitchen Basics, Breakfast, Light Bites + Sides, Hearty Dinners, Sauces + Dips, and Baked Goods + Desserts. And staying true to ski bum-ski town bonafides, the authors rate each recipe like a good old-fashioned on-piste ski run: a green circle (super simple), blue square (a bit more effort), and black diamond (for those more experienced).
In my estimation, Beyond Skid can appeal to minimalist would-be chefs and even those grazing on classic yet sparse and basic meals; think quesadilla.
Beyond Skid and Ski Bum Economics
Know this: cooking like this does not come cheap. You’ll need to hold down a job while scoring a ski pass if that fits your definition of ski bum while diving into Beyond Skid’s recipe catalog. Foodie ski bums might want to build out a pantry (or a Rubbermaid bin if you’re overwintering in the Tacoma on the Idaho side of Teton Pass) that includes potentially pricey staples and ingredients. For example, the Mexico City Street Tacos recipe calls for pork chops, orange juice, olive oil, salt, dried oregano, chili powder, ground cumin, fresh pineapple, corn tortillas, a white onion, cilantro, lime, and Cotija cheese or queso fresco.
These staples and something as good as this recipe sounds and eats would have never crossed my mind back in Whitefish or fit my budget. But I get it; these are different times. If you are into food, not simply scarfing down calories glazed with epic amounts of Cholula (no shame in this, BTW), mountain town rent aside, you’re ski bumming in better times. Beyond Skid will be an asset.
Ritter and Krass also remind us that we know more about wellness nowadays. And for some ski bums, post-yoga session wellness begins with more locally sourced and home-cooked meals. If that’s you or something you aspire to, Beyond Skid can be a source of great recipe ideas and inspiration.
For ski bums on the more hand-to-mouth program to make ends meet and the tummy full, sticking with a can opener, a can of refried beans, tortillas, salsa, and maybe cheese for the luxurious out there, is still in play.
Outside the visual beauty of the book — the images are excellent — Krass and Ritter speak to the possibilities of making a go of it and living a version of the ski bum dream. After all, they motivated and published this cookbook and ski a ton too.
Scrounging on-line via goliaths like Amazon reveals a paperback version for under $30.
Jason Albert comes to WildSnow from Bend, Oregon. After growing up on the East Coast, he migrated from Montana to Colorado and settled in Oregon. Simple pleasures are quiet and long days touring. His gray hair might stem from his first Grand Traverse in 2000 when rented leather boots and 210cm skis were not the speed weapons he had hoped for. Jason survived the transition from free-heel kool-aid drinker to faster and lighter (think AT), and safer, are better.