In our latest issue of SBC Skier, we had the opportunity to chat with Tara Dellolacono Thies, CLIF Bar’s head Nutrition Strategist on proper nutrition.  If you haven’t had a chance to grab our latest issue, check out the article below.

Words by Ruby Woodruff

It snowed 20 cm overnight and you’ve suddenly become too sick to work. Instead, you grab your GORE-TEX gear, freshly waxed skis and head to the lifts where others have already started lining up for, potentially, the best day of the season.  It’s easy to forget to eat properly on days like this, but unfortunately hunger can ruin even the most perfect conditions. Tara DelloIacono Thies, CLIF Bar’s head Nutrition Strategist, weighs in on how to fuel your body with healthy, sustainable nutrients that will keep you going from bell to bell, without bonking or dealing with the lunch time crowds.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s not just eating that’s essential, it’s what you’re eating. Thies suggests a hearty whole grain, slow burning carbohydrate that will serve as a good base. “My favourite thing is oatmeal and then I’ll layer it with Greek yogurt and fruit so I’m getting carbs and protein. You also want a little bit of fat in there because that will help hold you over longer.”

Even if you’ve eaten a balanced breakfast of carbohydrates, proteins and fat, hunger is inevitable after a few hours of skiing. Having some healthy snacks in your pocket, such as almonds, CLIF SHOT Energy Gels, dehydrated fruit, or a CLIF Nut Butter Filled Bar will help you avoid going in for a mid-day meal. That being said, sometimes a break is necessary. If you do head into the lodge, avoid choosing pastries or anything fried as these items are higher in saturated fats and don’t offer any nutritional value. However, that doesn’t mean they’re totally off limits. Thies admits, “I really enjoy French fries on a cold day with a beer. I’ll split them with friends so that I’m not gorging on the entire giant plate by myself and, a bowl of veggie soup.” / Lunch break or not, when you finally call it the first thing you should do is eat something to help your muscles recuperate. If you’ve got a long drive ahead of you, Thies recommends having a snack, such as chocolate milk or a protein bar, that will tide you over until you’re able to have a full meal. Alternatively, if you’re heading straight to après feel free to order that big, juicy burger. “A burger  is a good recovery food because it’s got those base nutrients that you just used up the entire day and you can load it with greens, tomatoes, and onions.” Thies adds, “You can also go the route of salmon and quinoa.” Basically, if you eat a solid combination of carbohydrates and protein after a day of skiing, you should be ready to do it all over again the next day.

Eat Sleep Stay Hydrated, Repeat, CLIF Bar
CLIF Bar Chocolate Brownie energy bar. Photo: Carmen Freeman-Rey


Food is evidently one of the most important factors that will affect your performance, but sleep and hydration play a big part in it too. “You can’t out train a bad diet and you can’t out eat lack of sleep,” says Thies. No matter how many coffees you pound back waiting for first chair, if you spent most of the night at the bar staying “hydrated” on beer, your body  is not going to do you any favours. Water and sleep are your best friends when it comes to feeling good on your skis the next morning (especially if you’re over the age of 20).

Whether you’re out for a weekend getaway or on your hundredth day, fuelling your body with whole nutrients, drinking water and getting a good night’s rest are all simple ways to ski better for longer. Your body  is your most important piece of equipment on the mountain and, like any ski gear, if it’s not properly taken care of, it’s not going to last.

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