At age 3, Cary Adgate was snowplowing down Thunder Mountain, the tiny ski resort his parents owned in Boyne City. Even at that age, Adgate’s skiing had a certain snap – perhaps due in part to the bowl of Rice Krispies he downed before hitting the slopes.
By age 19, Adgate had earned himself a place on the U.S. Ski Team. He went on to win six United States National Ski Championships – and ski on snowy peaks all over the globe while competing in the World Cup and in two Winter Olympics. Adgate learned early on not to experiment with breakfast before a race (no wakeup sushi in Japan, for instance), but he did develop a taste for birchermuesli, the Swiss cereal packed with grains and nuts and topped with yogurt and fresh fruit. There’s a good chance muesli was on his breakfast menu when Adgate was the top American slalom finisher at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
He powered up with a good breakfast, too, the day he beat his teammate and four-time World Cup champion and Olympic medalist Phil Mahre for the U.S. National Slalom title at Copper Mountain, Colorado, in 1976. “Back then we stayed in condos, and if you could work it right for meals you went over to the women’s team condo and poached on their program,” he remembers. “They were nuts, sticks and pine bark kinds of eaters,” he laughs.
Skiing is still a huge part of Adgate’s life. In 2005, shortly after he became the Boyne USA Resorts ski ambassador, Adgate rocked the ski world again when he won the Masters National Championships against men years younger – and after he missed a gate on his second slalom run and had to hike back up to catch it. Breakfast that day was the buffet at Summit Resort in Big Sky, Montana, where the races were held. Adgate is particularly fond of that buffet, for the quality of food and for the opportunity to pile his plate with the sampler of carbohydrates, protein and, yes, even a little fat, that he says skiers – racers and recreational – need. Beyond those foods, Adgate always adds a banana to his breakfast menu because the potassium helps stave off muscle cramps. And he warns that hydrating properly – water or juice – is especially important in skiing because cold air saps body fluid.
“I prepare for a day of skiing as if it were an athletic endurance event – because it is one,” Adgate says. “I don’t think many people realize the importance of having adequate fuel. They do the cafeteria coffee-and-doughnut routine or skip breakfast altogether. After a couple of hours on the slopes, skiers start to feel cold and light-headed – not a good thing.”
Thunder Mountain closed in the 1970’s. But Adgate, along with his wife, Jody, and their two children, still lives in a home he built on a piece of the old property. So what do the Adgates have for breakfast? When they’re ready to conquer the mountain, they use Cary’s tried-and-true fueling ingredients in these favorite family recipes.
Note: This article was originally published in January 2008 and was updated for the web February 2008.