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Best Budget-Friendly Ski Resorts in America

January 14, 2021

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Skiing and snowboarding aren’t exactly the cheapest sports in the world—between renting gear, buying the lift ticket, lodging, and gas money—the costs can add up quickly. Luckily, there are plenty of ski resorts across the nation that offer some crazy good deals. So, if you’ve been dreaming of that day on the slopes but think it’s out of your price-range—you just haven’t found the right resort yet.

Here are some affordable, budget-friendly ski resorts in America that have incredible runs, breathtaking scenery, and lift prices ($130 and under) that won’t drain your bank account.

Note: Check local government health regulations and restrictions before planning your trip.

Heavenly Ski Resort – California

Overlooking the royal blue waters of gorgeous Lake Tahoe, the aptly-named Heavenly Ski Resort is offering daily lift tickets for around $130. The varied terrain at Heavenly is perfect for all skill levels. With 97 trails ranging from wide-open casual cruisers to drastic, plunging 1,600-foot chutes, you can spend days at the resort, never taking the same trail twice. Heavenly also boasts two terrain parks for the more adventurous skiers and snowboarders. Buy passes, make reservations, and more via the Heavenly website

Heavenly Ski Resort - CaliforniaPhoto Credit: Heavenly Ski Resort


Brighton Ski Resort – Utah

Located just 35 miles from Salt Lake City, Brighton Ski Resort is known for epic powder, excellent grooming, and 1,000 acres of skiable terrain. The mountain averages around 500 inches of snow each winter and people flock here because all of that white goodness is light, fluffy, and dry—paradise for both riders and skiers alike. Pick up a daily or multi-day pass for around $100 per day. Purchase tickets, passes, and view mountain stats at the Brighton website


Mad River Glen – Vermont

Offering some of the most challenging and diverse ski terrain in New England, Mad River Glen’s trails were cut to follow the mountain’s natural contours. Relying completely on natural snowfall, skiers can expect a unique experience as they explore the 45 trails ranging from expert to novice—perfect for avid skiers as well as families (no snowboarding allowed). They also boast one of only two single chairlifts left in the country. One-day tickets start at just $90 per person. Check the Mad River Glen website for mountain conditions, ticket deals, and current health rules and regulations. 

Mad River Glen - ChairliftPhoto Credit: Reddit / u/Head_Menitino


Schweitzer Mountain Resort – Idaho

Considered by skiers and snowboarders as some of the best snow in all of Idaho, Schweitzer Mountain Resort is an independently owned operation with over 2,900 acres of incredible terrain. Located in the Selkirk Mountains, family-friendly Schweitzer is just 80 miles east of Spokane, Washington. With 92 named runs and open bowls operated by 10 lifts, the fun is endless. Don’t forget to hit the Little Blue Ridge Run—the resort’s longest continuous groomed run at 2.1 miles. Daily lift tickets start at just $17 (seriously!) for adults and $14 for kids. Learn more at the Schweitzer Mountain Resort website


Sugar Mountain Resort – North Carolina

Although it’s not the largest ski resort, Sugar Mountain Resort has 125 incredible skiable acres located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 21 slopes are serviced by one high-speed, six-passenger chairlift and range from wide-open ‘Magic Carpet’ areas to double black-diamond trails (the very difficult and very challenging Whoopdedoo trail). Lift tickets start around $36 for adults and get cheaper if you opt for night skiing. Visit Sugar Mountain Resort’s website for details—all tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Sugar Mountain Resort - North CarolinaPhoto Credit: Sugar Mountain Resort


Taos Ski Valley – New Mexico

Just 15 minutes from the city of Taos, Taos Ski Valley is a ski resort designed for the adventurous. It’s rugged, authentic, and stop-you-in-your-tracks gorgeous. With nearly 1,300 skiable acres, Taos Ski Valley has 110 trails (24% beginning, 25% intermediate, 51% expert) and two terrain parks. The resort’s Kachina lift serves one of the highest elevations of any triple chair in North America, peaking at an elevation of 12,481 feet. Day passes start around $85 for adults and kids 6 and under always ski free with a paying adult. Buy tickets, passes, view mountain conditions, and more via the Taos Ski Valley website

Taos Ski Valley - New MexicoPhoto Credit: Taos Ski Valley


Hoodoo Ski Area – Oregon

Open since 1938, the Hoodoo Ski Area is the most centrally-located mountain destination in the state. Just 44 miles west of Bend, 85 miles east of Eugene, and just over 2 hour south of Portland, Hoodoo sits on the summit of Oregon’s Santiam Pass. The family-friendly ski and snowboard area has 800 acres of terrain, 34 runs of varying difficulty, and one of the largest tubing parks in the western United States. Lift tickets start at just $25 and kids under 7 always ski free. Explore Hoodoo Ski Area’s website for tickets, passes, hours, directions, and more. 

Hoodoo Ski Area - OregonPhoto Credit: Hoodoo Ski Area


Whitefish Mountain Resort – Montana

Just four short miles from the charming town of Whitefish, Montana is Whitefish Mountain Resort. Separated into three faces, each offering a variety of terrain and trails of varying skill levels, Whitefish Mountain Resort has 113 marked trails over 3,000 acres. The longest run, Hellfire, is an impressive 3.3 miles and they also boast four terrain parks as well as a skier/boardercross course. Lift tickets start at $78 per day and children under 6 ski for free. Check mountain conditions, purchase tickets, and more through the Whitefish Mountain Resort website

Written by Ashley Brewer for Knockaround.

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