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Best Budget Ski Vacations
Budget Trips

Best Budget Ski Vacations

With the exception of the Deep South, you can find a ski resort almost anywhere. Of course, going to a ski resort close to your home is easiest on the budget, but if you plan ahead, you can find great budget ski vacations that are affordable even with the travel and lodging factored in.

For the most part, it’s best to shift your focus from well-known ski resorts to lesser-known ones that are located nearby and that often mirror the same snow conditions. Listed below are some suggestions for every ski region in the country.


Skiers have long flocked to Stowe and Killington for great skiing, but Vermont has other resorts that offer fantastic skiing and affordable lodging. In fact, there are great bargains to be had in every New England state.

• Okemo. Located in Ludlow, Vermont, this ski resort has 119 trails and offers package deals that are easy on the wallet.
• Mad River Glen. Located in northern Vermont, this is a no-frills resort with 49 challenging trails. The skiing conditions are usually excellent, and this is a great resort for serious skiers. Mad River Glen doesn’t make snow and they don’t allow snowboards.
• Saddleback Mountain, located about two hours from Portland, Maine. Lift tickets average about half the cost of the pricier resorts in New England. Saddleback is known for gentle slopes; it is an ideal ski resort for beginners.


There are fabulous ski resorts that are comparable to the well-known and pricey resorts. It’s true that ski conditions are excellent in places like Park City, Vail, Taos, Jackson Hole and LakeTahoe, but you can find nearly identical conditions at dozens of other resorts all over the west and the southwest.

• Mount Rose, located in Reno, Nevada has the same great powder as Lake Tahoe slopes, but much cheaper lift tickets and lodging.
• Teton Pass, near Helena, Montana has a respectable 36 trails and great deals on day passes.

Angel Fire, located north of Taos, New Mexico, is very affordable and family-friendly, and offers night skiing as well. Both Ski Santa Fe and Sipapu are less than two hours from Taos and also have very affordable rates (and the same great powder you find at the world famous Taos Ski Valley).
• Winter Park, Colorado is actually the closest ski resort to the mile high city of Denver, and a far cheaper alternative to Vail.
• Grand Targhee, Wyoming gets as much snow (500 inches a year) as Jackson Hole, but the lift tickets are 1/4 the price. You’re not likely to find any celebrities on the slopes, but you will find uncrowded trails, beautiful vistas, and money left over for a great dinner. Don’t expect lush gardenscapes around, though!
• Kirkwood Mountain, California isn’t far from Lake Tahoe and it gets an average of 600 inches of snow a year. This resort is popular with the locals and has many challenging trails, for both intermediate and expert skiers.
• Mt. Bachelor. This Cascade Mountain resort is near Bend, Oregon. Mt. Bachelor is open for skiing from November to late May, and they offer lots of specials, including free skiing for children.
• Salt Lake City, Utah. The winter Olympics may have been held in Park City, but Salt Lake City has the same great skiing conditions for a lot less money. Lodging is affordable and children under 10 stay free.
• Badger Mountain Ski Area near Waterville, Washington is small with just five trails, but they boast the cheapest lift tickets for any ski resort. The trails are evenly divided between easy, intermediate and advanced. This is a perfect resort for a family on a budget. 


A budget ski vacation doesn’t have to mean skimpy snow and tacky lodging. Many ski resorts offer vacation packages that will fit your budget. Be sure to plan ahead so that you can take advantage of the resort’s specials as well as airfare and car rentals. Make your vacation even more affordable by skiing in the off season (late fall and early spring). You can also save a lot of money on hotel rooms and amenities by renting a condo on the slopes. Bring your own food, cook your own meals and spend the money saved on an extra day of skiing.