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The Cheapest U.S. Ski Resorts

If you’re itching to get out into this snow and go skiing in the U.S., where you go can make a huge difference on how much it will cost you. When I used to live in New York City I saw this firsthand in Vermont, where lift tickets even ten years ago could vary by $30 a day. Now the variance can be more than $40 between the cheapest and the most expensive.

Budget Travel magazine has a great spread on ski resort savings strategies in its February print issue. It’s got some excellent tips on scoring discounts and how to take a family skiing without taking out a second mortgage first. There’s a cool grid that places resorts based on four factors: family scene, focus on the slopes, party crowd, and activities galore. The idea being you decide what’s really important to you and pick a resort based on that. At Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, you get awesome terrain, but better bring your own food. At Smuggler’s Notch Vermont, it’s all about the kids.

The best takeaway from the feature is available online though: a ski pass price finder that gives the full lift ticket cost at a wide range of resorts. That link goes to a PDF file, so give it a minute to load.

It’ll cost you three bucks shy of $100 to go skiing at Vail right now. Here are some better options if you’re not loaded:

  • Lost Trail Powder Mountain, MT – $34
  • Badger Pass, CA – $42
  • Willamette Pass, OR – $45
  • Bridger Bowl, MT – $45
  • Bogus Basin, ID – $48 (worth going for the name alone)
  • Wolf Creek, CO – $52

Unfortunately you have to pass the $60 level to start getting into resorts in the east—probably because of all that snowmaking cost in most years. Smuggler’s Notch and Mad River Glen are both $66. Keep in mind though that deals are rampant for Vermont ski resorts if you look around for coupons and promotions, especially if you can avoid the weekend. If you’re not in the area already, Budget Travel says to check,, and

Got a line on bargain-priced lift tickets from other resorts? Share it in the comments.

[photo from Lost Trail Powder Mountain]

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Monday 26th of September 2011

For breckenridge, Keystone Co. buy the lift tickets at homeland in Frisco, Co. They are half price of what you pay anywhere else.


Thursday 2nd of December 2010

Whether you're skiing, snowboarding or just looking for a place to play, winter at Snowshoe Mountain is the real deal. Snowshoe Mountain offers 57 trails including Yew Pine, Gangway, Skidway, Log Slide, Cap Four, and Poweridge.


Wednesday 3rd of November 2010

Great post here! My favorite place to ski is Snowbird. I have found that there back country is the toughest and most fun terrain that i hve found thus far. Cant wait untill the end of the month!

alex jordan

Tuesday 22nd of June 2010

Bogus Basin, ID - Is my favorite of all time. Soooooo beautiful. Its mid june right now and ou got me just wishing I could go already.

Ski Lift Ticket Prices

Monday 31st of May 2010

Here's a site that lists lift ticket prices for ski resorts all over the world. A lot of ski resorts allow kids to ski free which is a huge bonus if you have a large family.