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The Art of the Charcuteski: An Informal Guide to Après-Ski Snacking

Spring skiing is fast approaching, and corn is not the only thing on the menu! Learn with us the art of the charcuteski.

Charcuteski board(Photo/Riley Marshall)
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Like any good millennial, my personality is largely based on my love of both outdoor sports and food. And what better way to blend these important life pillars than with charcuteski!

Charcuteski (noun), (pronunciation: shahr-koo-tuh-skee): An appetizer typically served on a ski, or pair of skis, and features a selection of preserved foods, especially cured meats or pâtés, as well as cheeses and crackers, fruits, or bread. Skis may be substituted for a snowboard, snowblades, or a monoski.

Due to an unfortunate run-in with a Subaru Crosstrek while on my mountain bike in October, I am nursing an injury this season and am forced to take a season off from winter sports (well, all sports for that matter). While I’m certainly bummed to be missing out on a season of skiing, the upside is that it’s given me the time and opportunity to perfect the art of the charcuteski.

This is an art that I wish to impart on you, in the hopes that you too can grace your mountaintops, parking lot tailgates, backcountry huts, and more, with the various accoutrements of charcuteski.

The charcuteski trend has been sweeping ski slopes, as well as social media (check out @charcuteski on Instagram) for the past couple seasons. It pairs well with both bell-to-bell and leisure skiing.

For me, the days of skiing first chair to last chair are largely behind me. Save for the exceptions when conditions are particularly exceptional, my ski days tend to be social-forward, with a lot of snacking. My local mountain, Mt. Bachelor, is the perfect venue for this type of skier, as it is well-known for its parking lot tailgating. On good weather days — and also not-great weather days — the parking lot is lined with people hanging out, grilling, and, enjoying charcuteski.

So although I’m on the sidelines for the season, I can still take part in mountain life by providing my friends with snacks to enjoy between laps. If you have a desire to be that friend, read on!

What You’ll Need

a person holding snacks on a ski
(Photo/Riley Marshall)

In general, a good charcuterie board will have some combination of the following:

  • 2-3 types of meat
  • 2-3 cheeses
  • 1-2 fruits
  • 1-2 types of crackers
  • Nuts
  • Bread
  • Pickles
  • Mustard
  • A dip or spread

Don’t be afraid to get creative! You don’t always have to make a grocery store run to have a great spread. Recently, I was late running out the door and just grabbed whatever I could find in my kitchen. The mix of hummus and bell peppers with gummy pizza candies was definitely eclectic, but no less delicious than a traditional spread (and bonus: It gave my vegan friends more to enjoy).

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Making Charcuteski 101

It’s all about balance. Balance is important when creating charcuteski not just from a visual standpoint (though let’s be real, that part is important), but also for functionality. When you’re spreading the goodies out on a ski, you want everyone to be able to reach each item. Break up each item into small groups evenly spaced across the ski.

Prep ahead of time. Slice up your meats and cheeses at home, so when you’re ready to enjoy your charcuteski, it’s much quicker to assemble.

Snacks on a ski
(Photo/Riley Marshall)

Set up where you will want to eat. While it’s not impossible to move your charcuteski after creating it, it’s much simpler to just set up your spread where you want to enjoy it, so you don’t have to carry a ski loaded with meat and cheese through snow while wearing ski boots (speaking from experience here).

Prepare yourself for how quickly it disappears. You may spend 30 minutes making this beautiful spread, and then your friends roll up and it is gone in 5 minutes. Whelp, compliments to the chef!

Snowboards count as skis too, in this situation. I know, controversial, but I said what I said.

Don’t forget complementary bevvies of choice!

Charcuteski Safety Tips

(Photo/Riley Marshall)
  • Don’t ski with an open knife in your pack! Falls happen. Impaling yourself is preventable.
  • Don’t set up in a blind spot. If you’re setting up on a ski hill, be sure to be visible and out of the way of traffic.
  • Beware of runaway skis. Make sure that you secure your ski (or board) in the snow so that it’s not at risk of getting knocked over and running away down the mountain … with all your deli goodies.

These pro tips may seem obvious … and well, they should. Whether you’re stuck in the parking lot like I am this season, or you just want to up your ski hill snacking game, these tips will get you started.

If you decide to try your hand at this unique art form, be sure to tag us on social media, because we would love to see what you create!

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