Gluten Free Killington – A Celiac’s Snowboarding Story


The one thing I promised to myself when I found out I was unable to eat anything with gluten, any grain related to wheat, or had to be careful with dairy my whole life was that nothing would really change in my life except the way I eat. I would continue to do everything I love with just a little more meal planning involved. I WOULD NOT be one of those people that lives FOR having an auto immune disorder but one of those people that just so happens to have an auto immune disorder but you would never know.

This is how I have managed to make multiple yearly trips to Killington, Vermont to snowboard a success with Celiac, a grain allergy, and a dairy allergy without making any dietary compromises or health compromises.

1. Lodging makes all the difference.

There are a few options to stay in Killington. You can get a hotel room for about $125/night. It generally sleeps two people comfortably. You will also have to think of the added expense of eating 3 meals a day on the mountain (about $50/day) if you are being conservation and that doesn’t include any alcoholic beverages.

Instead, have a few friends come up and pool your money to rent a condo. They generally rent from $200-$400/night but sleep 6-8 people comfortably. That’s now $50/person per night. The perk is that you get a kitchen so you can grocery shop and save about $40/person a day in food.

Most condos come with access to a club with a hot tub, indoor pool, game room, big screen TV/entertainment room,  and more. If you stay in Killington Village in one of the condos, you also never have to drive. There are vans that pick you up and shuttle you around the mountain to the various base areas.

Total savings for grocery shopping + condo = about 50%
Pros: More space, better food, healthy eating, better boarding, free transportation, etc.
Cons: NONE

2. Groceries in Killington.

If you have any food allergies, the Market in Killington is not the place to shop for gluten free goodies. I suggest if your issues with food are very severe, pack your own food. Bring a cooler for your cold food and bag up groceries ahead of time. This cooler also serves you well to bring you meals to the mountain. Don’t forget the ice packs; these are essential!

Rutland, VT has a great grocery store Hannaford’s with a good organic/specialty/gluten free section and carries brands like Udi’s, Mi-del, and Glutino, Thinkyada, as well as Silk Soy Milk and many other allergy senstitive food brands. It is about 20-25 minutes outside of Killington but you drive right past it if you are coming from New York City to Vermont most of the time.

3. Tell your friends!

Make sure everyone you are traveling with understands your issues with a specific food. Most people do not think twice about using the same spoon in different pots or using a knife repeatedly in the butter and leaving bread crumbs in it. Educating friends and family you are traveling with is the key to a safe trip. Teach them to read labels and look for allergens or explain them what is safe to eat and what isn’t. To be extra safe, buy a separate container of condiments for yourself.

My friends at first were a little freaked out but quickly they learned the rules and I trust them to cook food safe for me.

4. If you are brave and eat on the mountain…

I really make it sound worse than it is. K-1 lodge has a sushi bar that is pretty good as long as you stay away from the soy sauce but 3 pieces of sashimi will run you about $7-8 dollars though.

I generally tend to stay away from the restaurants that make food in the kitchen because you do not know the level of care taken when you can’t see it. I have eaten at the Long Trail Pub before without any issues but be really adamant about your problems with certain food and even exaggerate. The more severe they believe it is, the more care they will take.

Believe it or not, the cafeteria at K-1 gets my seal of approval as being really safe. I spoke extensively to the head cook who makes the burgers and this is the low down on the food served in the cafeteria. All meat cooked on the grill does not come in contact with bread of any nature. The grill is strictly used for meat products. That means burgers are safe. The French fries are made in the same fryer as the chicken fingers and the cook’s advice was skip it. They can be sitting in the same basket as chicken that is breaded but not likely. They have a high French fry turn over. The baked potatoes are safe. They are made separately in tin foil and it is up to you what you put on it. Opt for the pre-sealed butter and you are safe. They also have other toppings like bacon, onions, etc. but they are help yourself so be warned.

5. Eating out in Killington.

This is the tough one. My biggest word of advice is call ahead and speak to a manager. Explain your situation and ask them if they are able to make accommodations. The following restaurants are Celiac/dairy free friendly:

Sushi Yoshi-I called ahead and made a reservation because of my gluten/dairy isssues. It was a courtesy. I spoke to a manager over the phone and he was very clear that they have wheat-free soy sauce for hibachi and accommodations can be made. Be sure to remind the waitress of your food allergies, they are not always on top of everything. What I know is: the miso soup is safe, the salad with carrot ginger dressing is NOT. After explaining twice my problem with wheat, she still served the salad to me until I insisted that she check with the kitchen. She came back and apologized. Thank god I hate carrot ginger dressing huh?
Request this: the hibachi cook made your food first so there was no contamination. This pisses off a lot of people at your table so here is my next rule. DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY OF THIS DURING A PEAK DINNER TIME OR ON FRIDAY OR SATURDAY NIGHT. Your food will get spit in! Be courteous to the restaurant and come in earlier than normal or on an off night like a Tuesday. Ask the manager when a slower night is if you are unsure.

Hemingway’s-This place is expensive even for mountain food but very accommodating. Almost everything they serve is gluten-free or can be modified and since all their food is cooked from scratch, it is a safe place to eat. Again, be smart and call ahead. Speak with a manager and they will bend over backwards to accommodate you. Expect to spent 100/person with alcohol.

I really do prefer to cook at the cabin so these are the only places I have tried. I will post more on my blog as I try them.

6. Snacks!

I love snacks but most mountain snacks are candy or chips so I make my own before I leave. I mix cashews, dried cranberries, maybe some gluten free granola, etc in small snack bags and stick them in my jacket pocket just in case. These travel well in the cold and are easy to eat on the lift. Stay away from chocolate or anything sticky, your hands will be a mess. Stick with dried fruit, nuts, and granola.

7. Stop! I have fallen and I can’t get up!

So you hurt yourself on the mountain and not like ouch I have the wind knocked out of me. I am talking broken bone, knocked out, being taken to the hospital bad. Have some kind of description of your allergies/medical conditions on you at all times. Also have it include information of the people who are with you and how to contact them (this is a good idea even if you don’t have special medical issues.) If you are unconscious, what is someone supposed to do? Make sure it explains everything in detail for people who do not know what your problem (e.g Celiac) is. Have a friend/family member keep and additional copy for you in case. I often get separated from my friends going down the mountain; two copies are essential. We also have walkie talkies just in case which are better than cell phones on the mountain and a lot cheaper if you break them.

These are all tried and true steps I have used and places I have shopped/eaten at over the years. I hope this helps any food allergy newbies, parents with kids, or anyone else struggling with maintaining a normal life around a special diet.

I encourage anyone reading this to post your tips, tricks, places you have tried, etc. in Killington to share. The more information, the easier it is for everyone. I also go up to Killington at least 3 times a year and I would love to try a new place.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. di
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 17:40:24

    Thanks for this. Just heading to Killington for a week’s skiing. I have a life- threatening wheat allergy and my friend is dairy free. We are driving so will definitely stop in Rutland and pick up some groceries at Hannaford’s. I also thought there was a health food shop there called Rutland Sunshine Natural Market.
    Good to know about the K-1 Cafeteria. If I eat out and find other Celiac -friendly or Dairy Free – friendly I’ll let you know.
    Cheers
    Di

    Reply

    • Drinkin & Riding
      Mar 10, 2011 @ 18:20:07

      Great to hear from someone. I have checked out the health food store about a year and a half ago and it wasn’t too bad. That was when Hannaford’s had only regular groceries. They were very expensive and kept really odd hours. This may have changed since then.

      At K-1, just talk to the main guy in the kitchen and explain what your food issues are. They are super accommodating.

      Reply

  2. Natalie
    Mar 09, 2012 @ 21:46:09

    Thanks for these tips! I am heading there next week and both my son and I eat a GF/CF diet!

    Reply

  3. Mike
    Dec 31, 2012 @ 19:29:14

    My girlfriend has celiac disease and we are at killington every weekend over the winter to snowboard. Try Roots in Rutland, they use all local products and have gluten free options and serve gluten free dinner bread. 20 feet down the street from roots is a co-op that has a lot of gluten free/natural items that aren’t found at a regular grocery store.

    Reply

    • Kayla
      Dec 31, 2012 @ 21:14:18

      We are heading up tomorrow and actually Hannafords has a great gluten free selection as of two years ago. I will update this of course when we go grocery shopping tomorrow.In Killington, everyone is super accommodating too. The hibachi restaurant made my food separately without soy sauce.

      Reply

  4. Susan J Ruppel
    Oct 13, 2017 @ 11:48:41

    Thanks! I am thinking about taking my food-allergic son to Killington and trying to figure out how to do it. Your suggestions will help.

    Reply

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