How Much Do You Have to Ski to Burn Off Vacation Foods?

Find out how much activity it takes to burn off high-calorie foods when hitting the ski slopes.

Skis and ski poles on top of ski resort

Photo by: Matjaz Boncina ©Matjaz Boncina

Matjaz Boncina, Matjaz Boncina

Planning on hitting the slopes for some fun and exercise this winter? Common ski-resort offerings can cause an avalanche of fat and calories. Here are some of the worst offenders and how much ski time you’ll need to work them off.

Belgian waffle = 500 calories

Better hope there’s a pile of snow on your car. It’ll take 1 hour and 15 minutes of shoveling to burn off the calories in one Belgian waffle with syrup.

Winter Warmer
Hot chocolate with foam in two mugs


Hot chocolate with foam in two mugs

Hot cocoa = 330 calories

Grabbing a hot chocolate may seem like a smart way to warm up in between runs, but a medium-sized cup (14 fluid ounces) of this classic hot toddy will take 45 minutes of snowboarding to work off.

Apres-Ski Grub
Thinkstock image of a burger.

Thinkstock image of a burger.

Cheeseburger and medium fries = 1200 calories

hot dog with ketchup mustard and lettuce

Footlong hot dog with fixings = 540 calories


Photo by: Mshel Drake

Mshel Drake

Grilled cheese = 300 calories

Homemade New England Clam Chowder

Photo by: Brent Hofacker

Brent Hofacker

Clam chowder = 460 calories

Thinking about grabbing a quick burger and fries? Then make time for 3 hours of downhill skiing to get rid of those calories. A hot dog isn’t much better — each one of those equates to an hour of cross-country skiing. Proceed with caution when ordering up soup and a sandwich. Even the smallest grilled cheese (2 slices of bread and 1 slice of cheese) means 30 minutes of snowshoeing to work it off. Finally, that bowl of clam chowder might seem warm and cozy, but you’ll be chilled to the bone after spending 2 hours on a snowmobile to shed those calories.

Best Options

You can get a great workout on the slopes, so don’t undo it all with greasy and heavy food afterward. Instead, reach for sensible options like turkey sandwiches, peanut butter crackers, and large salads with veggies and beans. Stay hydrated with water, a hot cup of tea or a warm bowl of broth-based soup like chicken noodle or beef barley.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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