By Troy Hawks
The words my keyboard is about to spit out might not go over well in some circles. What I’m putting down might fire up the focaccia fanatics and raise the hackles of hamburger lovers. Nevertheless, I’m throwing caution to the wind and proclaiming the burrito – that spicy Mexican-inspired pocket of goodness with a flavor that cuts through a cold winter’s chill like few others can – as the skier and snowboarder’s BFF (best food friend).
If you’re chasing snow in the High Country, there’s no time for cooking, little time for sit-down meals. I’ve tried all of the available options of traveling food. Fruit is fine, but what I want most is something warm and comfortable, something that occupies enough of my belly’s cubical circumference to last the day. I’ve bitten into the high-stacked toasted bagel, only to have it blow up in my face after only the third bite. Eggs Benedict is a personal favorite, but it’s a sloppy affair, and biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and waffles are equally ill-suited for motoring up the mountain.
Yet no matter whether its breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the world is your burrito; and it has a lot to do with the tortilla, a rather ingenious, all encompassing hand-to-mouth delivery system. The Mesoamerican people are credited for being the first to cleverly wrap their foods in tortillas as early as 1200 BC. It’s through this ingenuity that with proper planning, the intrepid snow chaser can ingest a burrito without moment’s disruption to travel time. (Warning: Only trained professionals should ever attempt to consume a burrito while in transit. Always ask for partner assistance.)
So there’s the dexterous utility and the flavor, but there’s also the philanthropy. Colorado’s own Chipotle Mexican Grill has turned the image of a burrito wrapped in tin foil into an icon, and once again this season the restaurant chain – now boasting more than 1600 locations with 200 more opening this year – threw its support behind Colorado Ski Country USA’s 5th and 6th Grade passport programs. This year nearly 20,000 students received ski passes and more than 2,100 First Class free beginner ski lessons were offered as part of Ski Country’s program. On December 7th, Chipotle offered a free burrito or other entrée to passport holders.
“Through the Passport Program, we’re able to help give fifth and sixth graders an opportunity to develop a healthy lifestyle on the mountain and create a lifelong passion for one of Colorado’s favorite pastimes,” says Danielle Winslow, spokeswoman for Chipotle. “At the core of our effort to change the way people think about, and eat fast food, is our commitment to finding better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use; it’s a value that’s shared by people with an active, healthy lifestyle.”
There are days when the thoughts of consuming a burrito, end up consuming you. Days on the hill when your weary legs dangle from the chairlift, the wind whips through your snow pants, and your mind drifts away to the land of peppers and salsa, rice and beans – all wrapped up in a pudgy tortilla. Here’s an idea: How about a burrito zip line?