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For Rosie and Stephen Boren of Midvale, skiing and snowboarding is not a pastime. It's a fact of life.
"That's what you do on Saturdays," Stephen Boren said.
Nate and Amy Jensen feel the same way. During ski season, Amy Jensen said, skiing is a "100,000 percent priority."
"It's kind of funny," she said. "Everyone makes fun of me because I don't mean to, but I lie to all of my babysitters: 'Oh, we'll be home at 1 p.m. — but we can't stop (skiing); we're home at 3 or 4."
Hunger is a fact of life, too, and during their days on the slopes, skiers and snowboarders get peckish. But many locals, except on very special occasions, eschew the resorts' more expensive restaurants for food that is more affordable, approachable, convenient and nourishingly warm after a cold day in the snow.
When the Borens snowboard, usually at Park City Mountain Resort, they eat what Stephen Boren called "regular food" rather than making the time to clean up and head to a ritzy restaurant for some apres-ski fine dining.
"We usually smell bad after snowboarding all day, so we just go home," Rosie Boren said. "Or Cobra Dogs."
Cobra Dogs is a funky, skier-friendly hot dog place set right in the middle of Three Kings Terrain Park at Park City resort.
The Borens said they like it because it's inexpensive, convenient and filling, with tasty dogs and toppings.
"We like to stay on the mountain, so we want our food to be close and quick," she said.
Besides the on-the-mountain convenience of Cobra Dogs, the Borens often stop at the end of a ski day at Davanza's Pizza on Park City's Park Avenue for pizza, tacos and burgers; as well as Kimball Junction's Maxwell's East Coast Eatery, an Italian restaurant featuring everything from pizza to sauteéd clams with linguine
Once or twice, they've gone a little fancier, Rosie Boren said, most notably on a trip to Park City's Prime Steakhouse: "Their steak is amazing and just melts in your mouth."
However, she doesn't anticipate a lot of those trips in the immediate future now that they have added Frank, age 6 months, to their family.
"We're probably in the stage where we pack sandwiches," Rosie Boren said.
Bringing food in is one strategy used by the Jensens when they take their four kids out for a day at their favorite resort, Solitude, sometimes with their friend, Daniel Bailey of West Valley.
"The locals all cook," Bailey said. "It's just tourists who pay $12 for a cheeseburger."
The Jensens and Baileys own small grills, which they set up in Solitude's parking lot to cook hot dogs and brats.
"Hibachi is great," Bailey said. "We do sausages, hamburgers, whatever is hot and filling and cheap."
Amy Jensen said fancy culinary food won't usually cut it, either before or after a day of skiing.
"You want something hearty and heavy that will sustain you and warm the soul," she said. "Nothing like a hot dog to warm the soul, and it's good kid food!"
On the last day of the ski season, Amy Jensen said, Solitude's ski tailgaters go all out. Nate Jensen, an accomplished griller, brings his smoker to the event, everyone wears costumes and they cook more labor-intensive food like pulled pork and brisket.
"The entire parking lot is a huge party, and the food is a big part of it," Amy Jensen said.
Of course, they do sometimes splurge on a meal out.
Other post-ski stops for the Jensens include the laid-back, still-on-the-mountain ambience of Molly Green's at Brighton and, on the way home, the conveniently located Lone Star Taqueria on Fort Union Boulevard and, surprisingly, the Sinclair gas station at 7200 South and 3000 East, which Amy Jensen said sells good made-to-order sandwiches.
Amy Stoeger has a somewhat different skiing-dining experience.
Stoeger and her husband, Joey, have both worked as ski instructors at Snowbird, where Joey Stoeger still works.
She said they have enjoyed several wonderful meals at fancy restaurants near ski resorts, courtesy of their clients.
Because the Stoegers have spent so much time at Snowbird, they have eaten at many of the resort's restaurants, most notably El Chanate, a Mexican restaurant featuring the cuisine of northern Mexico, and the Seven Summits Club, an exclusive buffet-style lounge reserved for Snowbird clients who have a Seven Summits pass or who book a private ski instructor.
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