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Planning a vacation can be one of the most costly expenses when it comes to leisure and being able to take a break from your responsibilities, but if you’re trying to cut corners on costs then you’ve got to take careful steps along the way.
Winter is a great time to go on vacation and experience different activities like skiing and other winter sports in the great outdoors, but finding a resort that will be both comfortable and affordable may seem like an impossibility.
The truth is that there are many affordable ski resorts that you can visit during the winter months, and some of them are perfectly close to majors urban areas like New York City.
Being able to get to and from your resort is just as important as being able to afford your entire vacation, luckily there are many ski resorts in the United States that won’t cost an arm and a leg to enjoy.
If you’re searching for a ski resort that is affordable, accessible, kid friendly, and not too far away, then take a look at this list of different ski resorts that you can vacation to on a reasonable budget.
10 of the Best Affordable Ski Resorts
There are many ski resorts in the United States that are affordable, easy to get to from surrounding locations, and adequately prepared to provide a safe and fun environment for yourself, your family, or your friends.
Here is a look at some of the best affordable ski resorts in the United States.
1. Taos Ski Valley, Taos, New Mexico
The Taos Ski Valley is found in the Sangre de Cristos area of Northen New Mexico just outside of the town of Taos.
This naturally steep area is a rugged mountainous terrain that is intended for the truly adventurous individuals, offering challenging trails that should not be traversed by individuals who are new to skiing.
The Taos Ski Valley is hidden inside a box canyon nearing the southernmost point of the Rocky Mountains.
Although this mountain is a challenging one to explore, those looking to engage within a beautiful area that has skiing available for everyone from a beginner to expert can find exactly that here.
The diversity of some of the trails within the Taos Ski Valley makes this a hot spot destination for anyone looking to enjoy their winter vacation.
The site features a vertical drop that ranges 2,162 feet, but there are trails across the 1,300 acres of land that beginners can explore as well.
This particular ski destination is truly intended for those who are expert skiers, so there should be caution taken before planning a trip to this destination.
The lift tickets for this mountain are $90 a day, which is comparatively low to many other high end ski resorts with equally difficult terrain.
This is an affordable mountain, but many should take care to stay on trails that are intended for their skill level.
This mountain is not for the faint of heart, it is riddled with rocks and areas full of bumps and drops that are not suggested for the novice skier.
There are areas for new skiers to enjoy along with 300 days of sunshine out of the year and an average snowfall of about 305 inches throughout the course of one year.
The Taos Ski Valley is intended for those willing to go great lengths for an off-the-radar location to meet with their passion of skiing or snowboarding.
Individuals looking to stay in Taos can find a town full of lively activities when they’re off the trails.
You’ll find great art galleries, exciting museums, and plenty of different bars and restaurants to explore.
2. Mount Bachelor Ski Resort, Bend, Oregon
If you’re looking for a lot of terrain to ski through, the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort offers 3,700 acres of land to explore.
This mountain is lift accessible up to the top of this strata-volcano which gives you the ability to enjoy the striking views from above of the breathtaking Cascade mountains.
The views from the top include the Broken Top Crater, the Three Sisters and views pf Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount Thielson in Washington State, as well as some views of Mount Shasta in California.
Mount Bachelor boasts upwards of 400 inches of snowfall annually, making it a perfect place to visit for a ski vacation any time of the year.
This mountain boasts a long vertical drop of 3,365 feet from the top, giving visitors plenty of space to explore and enjoy this beautiful mountain and its challenging terrain.
This is the largest area accessible to skiers in the Pacific Northwest region.
As the second largest single mountain ski resort in all of the United States, this is a perfect place for individuals who are just learning to ski or are looking to practice their expertise.
The Mount Bachelor ski resort offers exceptional ski and lodging deals as well as as environment that is friendly to people of all ages, making this an excellent destination for your winter vacation this year.
Thanks to it’s placement in the town of Bend, Oregon, you can find all sorts of fun activities for your enjoyment off the resort including different breweries to tour and multitudes of shops and galleries offering their open doors in the historic Old Mill District.
3. Bridger Bowl, Bozeman, Montana
In the town of Bozeman, Montana sits the Bridger Bowl, a nonprofit ski area that is condo free and adds to the great options available for skiers in Montana.
Bozeman is a quaint little college town with tons of experiences that visitors can enjoy including excellent vegetarian cafes, coffee shops, art galleries, bookstores and different restaurants that aren’t available in other towns within Montana.
On average, Bridger Bowl accumulates about 350 inches of snow throughout the course of one year, and the expanse of terrain reaches 2,000 acres of available land for skiers to enjoy.
The Bridger Bowl is available to skiers of all skill levels, but many expert skiers visit this particular mountain for Schlasman’s Lift that which boasts backcountry terrain as well as expansive hiking terrain known as The Ridge.
The lift tickets for this beautiful area start at $54 for a full day of exciting terrain and fun skiing experiences, making this location an excellent choice for individuals looking to ski on a budget.
The Bridger Bowl is located just 80 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, making it a perfect pit stop for a multi-location ski excursion, making this an adventurous vacation to take over the winter.
Yellowstone National Park offers cross-country skiing for those looking to enjoy breathtaking views at an easy pace, and one of the greatest perks is the astounding wildlife watching that is available to those who visit.
Bridger Bowl is an excellent choice for a ski vacation if you’re looking to go somewhere that will be fun, exciting, and full of new experiences!
4. Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Holladay, Utah
If you’re looking for one of the best ski resorts in the United States for people of all ages, then you can count on Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Holladay, Utah.
This family friendly ski resort is perfect for individuals of all skill levels thanks to its expansive, yet easy to navigate, terrain.
This area is known for getting upwards of 40 feet of snow throughout the course of one year, making this a place that is abundantly covered for individuals looking to ensure their vacation is full of snow and skiing.
The Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort has the Snowbird’s Cirque, an area that is known for its expert level terrain and is serviced by a tram.
If you’re looking for a family friendly resort that has terrain for beginners or younger individuals, the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort also offers tamer terrain around the base of the mountain.
There is lodging available for individuals looking to spend their nights near the slope at The Iron Blossom or the Cliff House.
Another great part of this destination is its closeness to the famous Salt Lake City, making it easy to get to the airport and back within the same day.
The Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort offers a promotion on your lift ticket that gives you access to the Alta Resort near by as well, making this a double-whammy of a deal.
For access to the lift at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort you will find a daily price of $98 with free admission for kids aged six and under as well as various multi-day pass deals and special packages that incorporate both the cost of your stay and skiing.
5. Eldora Mountain Resort, Nederland, Colorado
Colorado is known for its abundantly mountainous terrain and is an excellent destination for skiers looking to enjoy a varying selection of destinations to enjoy a skiing vacation.
Eldora Mountain Resort located in Nederland, Colorado isn’t always the location at the top of everyone’s list, but this location is a hot destination for those looking to enjoy a skiing vacation on a reasonable budget.
Thanks to its accessibility, it’s easy to get to the Eldora Mountain Resort from Boulder, Colorado in just 40 minutes, or about an hour and fifteen minutes from Denver.
Eldora Mountain Resort is smaller than some other resorts, boasting skiable terrain reaching 680 acres.
This is perfect for individuals looking for a mountain that is relaxing and not as flashy as big name resorts.
The majority of the terrain around Eldora Mountain Resort is meant for more advanced skiers, but there are plenty of easier ski trails for individuals who are just beginning to learn this skill, including an area for cross-country skiers looking to stay away from steep drops.
You can get your hands on a lift ticket for Eldora Mountain Resort at $79 a day, making it an affordable destination for individuals on a tight budget.
There is no lodging available to visitors at the site, but there are plenty of accommodations available in surrounding towns like Boulder and the even nearer town of Nederland.
If you’re looking for a place to vacation and are interested in visiting Colorado, this resort is an excellent option for those who are interested in advanced trails and lesser occupancy on the mountainside.
6. Bear Mountain Resort, Bear Lake, California
If you’re looking for different mountains to enjoy on one trip, then heading over to Bear Lake, California to list Bear Mountain Resort may be the plan for you.
The terrain for Bear Mountain Resort is sprawled across four different mountain peaks in the San Bernardino Mountains.
This destination is a hot spot for skiers from Southern California thanks to its 749 acres of available land for skiers to enjoy, making it a destination that you can count on for an enjoyable time.
This mountain boasts trails for skiers of all levels and the added perk of night skiing on the weekends and holidays.
If you’re a beginning skier and enjoy freestyle skiing, there is an area available for novice skiers called Skill Builders Park, although most of the terrain is designated for intermediate level skiers.
The Bear Mountain Resort is known for having top-notch parks covered in terrain that is diverse and exciting to explore.
With over 150 snow features ranging from walls, boxes, pipes, and 130 rails, this destination in Southern California is bound to show you a good time.
Thanks to it’s accessible location, there are accommodations available for individuals on any kind of budget.
As of right now, full day lift tickets are available online for $49, but these prices vary throughout the course of the year as well as year to year.
For those looking for lodging in the area, there are Air BnB’s, regular bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and plenty of hotels for those looking for a longer stay.
7. Sipapu Ski Resort, Vadito, New Mexico
The ever beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains holds the Sipapu Ski Resort in Vadito, New Mexico, just a short 20 miles southeast of the neighboring town of Taos which houses the Taos Ski Valley.
If you’re looking for a destination that offers you two great options for skiing, this area of New Mexico will provide you that and more.
The Sipapu Ski Resort is a family owned resort that has been in operation since 1952, making this a popular destination with a history for making vacations for people of all ages not only possible, but fun.
This destination is perfect for families looking to ski in an area that offers diverse terrain at a budget-friendly price, making it one of the best locations for a winter vacation.
Although the annual snowfall averages around 190 a year, much less than other skiable mountains, the Sipapu Ski Resort offers 51 runs that stay open year round thanks to the snow making system that covers up to 70% of the 200 acres of skiable terrain.
The Sipapu Ski Resort is known for offering the best tree skiing available in New Mexico, making it a hot destination for many individuals.
There are two terrain parks on the expansive land, and long trails meant for cruising that novice skiers can enjoy at a manageable pace, making this a safe place to learn how to ski.
The lift ticket for this resort is only $55 and a full day ticket allows you access to lodging in Taos at their best inns for every person who purchases a ticket at full price.
8. Whitefish Mountain Resort, Big Mountain, Montana
When it comes to skiing destinations, Montana is hard to beat thanks to its affordable slopes and less crowded mountains that are located in areas with astounding views.
West of Glacier National Park, you can find the family-friendly Whitefish Mountain Resort.
This resort is surrounded by manageable beginner terrain that allows novice skiers to learn their new skill and progress onto managing more difficult terrain.
The mountains surrounding Whitefish Mountain Resort showcase long, wide slopes that help train new skiers for harder terrain.
This beautiful mountain is vast, boasting 3,000 acres of skiable terrain and over 90 different trails to explore.
Skiers of all levels are able to try their hand at these roller-coaster style trails near Whitefish Mountain Resort,, and experts will find challenging terrain that is steep and addled with backcountry terrain for a more engaging experience.
This area is known for remaining uncrowded through the year with the exception of big holidays where vacationers flock to the mountainside to enjoy the trails and the breathtaking views of Glacier National Park from the Summit House cafeteria.
Lift tickets are inexpensive for Whitefish Mountain Resort, and there are plenty of packages available for individuals looking to save on their lodging by purchasing a lift ticket promotion.
9. Mad River Glen, Fayston, Vermont
Vermont is a beautiful state through and through, so it’s no wonder that Mad River Glen located in Fayston, Vermon is breathtaking.
This mountain is not for the faint of heart, it’s motto “Ski It If You Can” acting as a nod to the challenging trails and steep terrain.
Mad River Glen is known for being clear of snowboarders, making it perfect for skiers looking to be engaged in terrain that is devoid of many distractions or crowded terrain.
The vertical drop on this mountain side is 2,000 feet, making it a great place for expert skiers to test their skills.
With an average snowfall of about 250 inches of snow annually, there is bound to be plenty of snow on the ground to keep up with your grind.
Being a less populated mountain, the atmosphere throughout Mad River Glen is relaxing and low-key compared to other surrounding slopes.
All the the chair lift for this mountain isn’t high speed, a lift ticket will run you around $65 to $79 for a full day’s access to the mountain.
There are plenty of accommodations available to out of town visitors ranging from bed and breakfasts to condos, hotels and hostels near to the mountainside.
This slope is not kid friendly, so there is a need for someone to care for your children while you ski.
There is an area near the lift for children called the Cricket Club Daycare, and is accessible while you ski to keep an eye on your kids as you go up and down the mountain.
There are affordable places to dine near the slopes, and plenty of cheap places to visit along the way.
If you’re looking for a gnarly slope to master, Mad River Glen may be the perfect destination for you.
It’s a perfect destination for the budget-conscious traveler, and a great way to enjoy a challenging mountain with many slopes without having to keep too close of a watch on your little ones.
10. Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Sandpoint, Idaho
If you’re interested in visiting Northern Idaho for an exciting skiing vacation, then you can visit the up-and-coming Schweitzer Mountain Resort near Sandpoint, Idaho.
The Schweitzer Mountain Resort is located in a mountainous area that is intimate, quiet and inexpensive, making it the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to ski on a budget.
Northern Idaho is attempting to create a personae for itself surrounding the skiing community, but they are new to the game, making their prices affordable and their experience relaxing and fun.
This is the best kept secret for skiers across the board as it is usually not as crowded as bigger name resorts and has a vast amount of land available, making it comparable to well known resorts across North America.
These slopes cover an astounding 3,000 skiable acres that boast 95 different trails for skiers to enjoy while they are on their vacation at Schweitzer Mountain Resort.
This mountain is consistent with their snowfall throughout the year, usually reaching about 300 inches annually.
The activities available for individuals that visit Schweitzer Mountain Resort don’t just include downhill skiing, there are vast ways to enjoy a winter vacation on this beautiful and vast terrain.
People who are interested in diversifying their time on vacation can partake in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cat skiing.
There is a quaint little village that is near the slopes that mimics the European style, and the neighboring Sandpoint is full of activities for travelers to enjoy while they are on their winter vacation.
Off the slopes, the entertainment available to the visitors of Sandpoint include numerous shopping areas and numerous restaurants and bars to experience.
There is a theater by the name of Panida Theater that offers viewings of international films and live acts ranging from stage performances to concerts.
If you’re looking for a doubly good time, then you can visit Schweitzer Mountain Resort over the course of the Martin Luther King holiday weekend to enjoy the Sandpoint Winter Carnival.
There are plenty of things to do in Northern Idaho if you’re interested in visiting for your winter vacation, and the ease of planning a great stay with the affordable prices and relaxing appeal, you’ll have an excellent time there.
The Final Notes
Planning a winter vacation can be a lengthy task, especially if you’re looking to save on everything from accommodations to excursions and dining.
Being able to plan for a budget friendly vacation is the key to a successful vacation with a frugal mindset, and these different resorts allow you the ability to achieve this without breaking a sweat.
If you’re visiting a new town and want to cut costs on lodging, the best way to do this is by incorporating AirBnB into your search for accommodations.
In very small towns it may be harder to locate lodging through this website, but you can find accommodations through the websites for many these resorts.
No matter your destination, you’re bound to enjoy a budget friendly ski vacation if you pick one of these destinations.