Think a ski vacation is out of your budget? Think again — here are the nine most affordable ski resorts in the United States.

By Evie Carrick
Updated October 29, 2020
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Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.

Skiing can be expensive, but there are ways to book an amazing ski trip without breaking the bank — you just have to know where to go. Some ski resorts are near major airports where you can find less expensive flights. Others have more affordable lodging. Then there’s the lift tickets.

Adrienne Saia Isaac, director of marketing and communications for the National Ski Areas Association, told Travel + Leisure by email that last year, “the average adult weekend ticket price [in the US] was $132.04 – meaning, that’s the average of what you’d pay walking up to a ticket window on a peak day.” But, she notes that people find the best deals when they buy tickets online and in advance, or when they purchase multi-day tickets or passes. In many cases, the Ikon or Epic Pass, which offers buyers access to multiple resorts with a single pass, might be the most affordable option.

Timing also plays a big role in booking an affordable ski trip. For example, if you want to travel over the holidays or spring break, you’ll pay more than you might in January or February.

“There is generally a lull in ski travel from New Year’s to MLK and then from MLK to Presidents Day. This year that lull will be even more pronounced because a lot of internationals tend to visit in the month of January,” Dan Sherman, chief marketing officer at Ski.com, told Travel + Leisure by email. He explained that the “relatively low prices combined with great conditions and low crowds make it a bull’s eye.”

Credit: Getty Images/Aurora Open

With that in mind, Sherman and his team at Ski.com, the largest provider of ski vacation packages in North America, pulled a lineup of the season’s most affordable ski resorts. They based their findings on the nightly lodging rate average for January 11-14, 2021, proximity to major airport hubs, flight costs, and the price you’ll pay to get on the mountain. The resorts they pulled also tend to have lower-priced activities and dining.

Related: More trip ideas

Winter Park — Colorado

As Colorado's longest continually operated ski resort, Winter Park is a must for ski fanatics. But its long history aside, the resort also boasts over 3,000 acres of terrain with a little something for everyone — from mellow groomers to the steep and deep. And thanks to its close proximity to Denver (just 67 miles) you can typically find affordable flights, too.

Lodging: $194 per night on average

Lift Tickets: $90 per day (using a 3-day Winter Park lift ticket)

Flights: starting at $197 round trip (New York to Denver)

Copper Mountain — Colorado

If you catch a morning flight into Denver, you can be skiing down Copper Mountain in the afternoon. The resort is a direct 75-mile drive from the capital city, and offers plenty of slopeside lodging and places to meet friends or family for an après-ski beer or hot chocolate.

Lodging: $156 per night on average

Lift Tickets: $118 per day (using a 3-day Copper Mountain lift ticket)

Flights: starting at $99 round trip (Atlanta to Denver)

Big Sky Resort — Montana

Credit: Getty Images/Aurora Open

If you’re not interested in flying into a big city and battling traffic on your way to the resort, head to Big Sky, where you’ll get that remote, mountain town experience without the usual price tag. The resort is an hour drive from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, and it has plenty of well-regarded big mountain skiing and luxe, slopeside accommodations.

Lodging: $283 per night on average

Lift Tickets: $159 per day (using a 3-day Big Sky lift ticket), $124.75 per day (using the Ikon Session Pass 4-Day)

Flights: starting at $177 round trip (Los Angeles to Bozeman)

Heavenly — California

There’s something undeniably special about skiing down a snowy white slope toward the sapphire-blue waters of Lake Tahoe. It’s the norm in Heavenly, where you’ll find 34 miles of wide-open, groomed cruisers alongside thrilling double-black diamond drops. And luckily for you, flying into the nearby town of Reno is cheap and easy.

Lodging: $148 per night on average

Lift Tickets: $107 per day (using the Epic 3-Day Pass, restricted)

Flights: starting at $250 round trip (Chicago to Reno)

Park City, Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, and Snowbasin — Utah

If you and your ski pals want to cover some serious terrain, head to Utah, where you can fly (and stay) in Salt Lake City for cheap, using it as your basecamp as you explore the area’s amazing ski opportunities — from a day (or two) spent at the sprawling Park City Mountain Resort to some time spent exploring Little Cottonwood Canyon, home to Alta and Snowbird.

Lodging: $123 per night on average

Lift Tickets: $107 per day at Park City or Snowbasin (using the Epic 3-Day Pass, restricted); lift tickets to the less expensive resorts haven’t been released yet this year

Flights: starting at $205 round trip (Dallas to Salt Lake City)

Schweitzer Mountain Resort — Idaho

Credit: Getty Images

As the largest resort in Idaho, Schweitzer Mountain Resort has all the amenities — and of course, the amazing skiing that you'd expect. Tree skiers love exploring Schweitzer’s renowned wooded terrain, and the resort’s high number of powder days are hard to top. The best way to get there is by flying into Spokane, Washington and making the two-hour drive to Sandpoint, Idaho. Lodging: $174 per night on average

Lift Tickets: $83.52 per day (using a 3-day Schweitzer lift ticket)

Flights: starting at $220 round trip (Chicago to Spokane)

Keystone Resort — Colorado

You’ll find yourself in Keystone Resort’s winter wonderland just over an hour after you leave the airport in Denver. With long, rolling groomers, the resort is great for families or new skiers, while the base area’s lodging is surprisingly economical.

Lodging: $169 per night on average

Lift Tickets: $107 per day (using the Epic 3-Day Pass, restricted)

Flights: starting at $99 round trip (Houston to Denver)

Whitefish Mountain Resort — Montana

From the airport in Kalispell, the town of Whitefish and the nearby Whitefish Mountain Resort is just a short 30 minute drive. Once you arrive, get ready to fall in love with the mountain town’s charming downtown and stunning views — thanks to its position as the gateway to Glacier National Park. The ski resort is rich in bowl and tree skiing, and it averages around 320 inches of snow a year.

Lodging: $150 per night on average

Lift Tickets: $78 per day (using a 3-day Whitefish lift ticket)

Flights: starting at $250 round trip (New York City to Kalispell)

Okemo Mountain Resort — Vermont

Credit: Getty Images

Located in the town of Ludlow, Vermont, this ski area is a go-to for families due to its mellow slopes and quaint New England countryside feel. If you’re on the East Coast, you may be able to drive, but flying into Boston or Albany and making the two-hour drive to Okemo is an easy alternative.

Lodging: $267 per night on average

Lift Tickets: $107 per day (using the Epic 3-Day Pass, restricted)

Flights: starting at $91 round trip (Washington D.C. to Boston)