If you love skiing or have a particular interest in the sport, the cost involved can be disheartening. Some of the best resorts can be found in North America, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Austria, but these are simply too expensive. While skiing is definitely not a cheap activity, choosing the right resort can go a long way towards cutting down your costs. In fact, there are numerous ski destinations that are tremendously underrated. A little research can help you get you more bang for your buck without hurting your skiing experience. Here is our selection of the top five ski resorts in the U.S on a tiny budget.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort – From $61
Crested Butte has been famed as the last great ski town in Colorado, and rightfully so. It is an excellent ski destination with beautiful scenery, a scarce crowd, and a rich history. Crested Butte Mountain Resort boasts an extensive terrain of at least 1,500 acres that is suitable for all levels of ability. The resort is based in southwest Colorado, within the Elk Mountain Range and Gunnison National Forest. The ski area’s resort town is approximately 3 miles from Crested Butte, which is generally known for its vast terrain. The upper segments of the mountain contain steep and bumpy chutes, cliff drops, bowls, and tree glades.
Crested Butte is also home to some of the most advanced inbounds terrain in North America, and the resort actually hosts a variety of free-skiing championships. The short lift lines and general lack of crowds makes it an ideal resort for getting those untouched powder lines. Dedicated fist timers will find the resort perfect for developing their skills, while intermediates can veer off the East River Lift to explore some of the blue runs. The expert side of the terrain requires substantial snow cover and is ideal with deep base amounts.
Killington Resort – $From 81
Killington Resort is a relatively elegant resort based in Southern Vermont. Killington is also one of the best ski destinations in the East and boasts a diverse trail system that covers 6 mountains. Killington Resort’s terrain is very extensive, ranging from gladed trails and steep mogul runs to learning areas and gentle groomers, in addition to some premier terrain parks to the northeast. Killington region is also a great source of attractions, including memorable nightlife, fine dining, dog sledding, and snowmobile tours. The resort itself can be found in the middle of the Green Mountains, across 6 mountains with 140 trails served by twenty two lifts.
With more than 250-inches of snowfall yearly, a breathtaking 600 acres snowmaking system, and 4,241-ft. peak elevation, Killington Resort is a good bargain for its value. The terrain includes trails for all abilities, from beginners to experts. In particular, beginners have access to learning areas and gentle groomers, while advanced and expert skiers can explore terrain parks, gladed trails, and steep mogul runs.
Bridger Bowl, Bozeman – From $25
Bridger Bowl is a very interesting ski resort. It incorporates the qualities of a big ski resort, but without the price tag and unnecessary hype. Bridger Bowl is located near Bozeman, in the western United States and offers 2,000 acres of skiable terrain. It receives an impressive 350-inches of snow annually, notoriously referred to as “cold smoke” snow, and has a vertical rise of about 2,700-feet serviced by 8 chairlifts. The terrain is suitable for skiers and riders of all ranks, from the very beginner to the most experienced skiers.
The twenty-minute hike of the “The Ridge” has been famed for its open powder fields and steep chutes. There are seventy five named trails that vary from the easiest to the most advanced terrain. The “Ski the Cold Smoke” event is complemented by a family friendly atmosphere in the small town. In addition, the resort offers hotel shuttle, rental & retail shop, daycare, as well as complete snowboard and ski school. Guests also have access to two lodges, one at mid-mountain and another at the base, providing a wide range of food and drinks including a gourmet coffe/espresso bar and fireside table service.
Red Lodge Mountain, Red Lodge – From $15
Red Lodge Mountain is located in Beartooth Range, within the Montana Rocky Mountain against the highest peak in Custer National Forest. The ski area boasts 250-inches of snowfall annually across 1600 acres of skiable terrain serviced by a magic carpet and 6 lifts. Red Lodge Mountain is equipped with 65 trails and 6 additional runs in the Palisade area including 60-acres of accessible glades and 30-acres of advanced chutes. Difficulty ratings in the trails consist of 17 percent for beginners, 45 percent for intermediates, and 38 percent for experts, in addition to a terrain park that accommodates skiers of all skills and levels.
You’ll also have access to two cafeterias, gift shop and ski accessory, espresso shop, and restaurant bars. Additionally, there’s a daycare for children between 6 months and four years, as well as Red Lodge hospital just 6 miles away. Snowboard and ski rental and repair service is available in the area, and kids aged between 3 and 12 years can join in the fun through the children’s programs. The town also provides cross- country rental and repair. The ski programs include: ski and snowboarding lessons, skill building, and first timer packages.
Grand Targhee Resort – From $41
Grand Targhee Resort can be found in Alta, Wyoming, amidst the Caribou/Targhee National forest. The resort is famous for its steep powder and outstanding terrain options. It is nestled close to the border of Wyoming and Idaho, on the west part of the grand Tetons. It receives pacific-born storms consistently, which pile up against the Tetons. The ski destination houses a spectacular trail system, which boasts terrain options for all ski levels. Guests are treated to breathtaking scenery combined with a relaxed atmosphere and spectacular snow. The ski area is full of fun, diverse terrain, and is a paradise for those who love powder.
Grand Targhee Resort spreads across two mountains – Peaked Mountain and Fred’s Mountain – which are connected by 2,602 acres of terrain. Mary’s Nipple provides extra inbounds hike-to-terrain. The resort averages more than 500-inches of snowfall annually and has an impressive vertical rise of 2,270-ft. The un- crowded trails and magnificent scenery are a great attraction for skiers and snowboarders looking for a pocket-friendly ski destination in the small western town. Additionally, guests have a ski and snowboard school at their disposal, which offers adult and children’s programs, as well as equipment sales and rentals. The ski area is also home to back-country and snowshoe tours, full service bar with nightly entertainment, café, slope side restaurant, and snow-cat adventures.