10 Destinations for Cheap Skiing in 2016
High-end ski resorts claim all the glamour, but a destination such as Aspen or Vail is not the place for cheap skiing. These resorts typically charge well north of $100 for an adult lift ticket, not to mention the cost of lodging, dining, and equipment rental. Instead, head for a destination where the prices are lower, the resort appealing and unpretentious, and the skiing still worth the trip. Most of the budget-friendly spots featured here are found in the western and northeastern regions of the country.
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Jay Peak, Vermont.Jay Peak is known as the skiing and snowboarding site with the most snow in eastern North America, thanks to average annual snowfall of 377 inches. There are 78 trails running over 50 miles (the longest stretching 3 miles), more than 100 acres of gladed terrain, freestyle terrain parks, and the state's only aerial tram. One-day lift tickets for adults cost $79 but are discounted to $65 for Vermont residents.
Saddleback Mountain, Maine.This versatile and family-friendly winter sport destination in Rangeley offers packages at various price points. There are 60 trails and glades, including 25 rated "easiest." Young beginners can get one-on-one instruction or join small group classes. Adult lift tickets cost $59 Sunday through Friday and $69 on Saturday and holidays; youth tickets are less. Check the site for deals, such as a $10 "bring a friend" ticket on certain days and special prices for Maine residents. Ski & Stay packages include lodging and lift tickets, with daily mid-week rates starting at $69 a person; a minimum two-night stay is required.
Cranmore Mountain, New Hampshire.Located in North Conway, this resort is ideal for frugal families or large groups. If some in the party don't want to ski, they can head out to the adventure park and mountain roller coaster ($13 a ride). In early January, 16 trails were open. Adult lift tickets cost $70 for the day, teens pay $57, and children cost $43. Plan ahead and save up to 39 percent when buying tickets online in advance.
Mad River Glen, Vermont.If you're a skier who would rather not share the slopes with snowboarders, head to Mad River Glen in Waitsfield, where snowboarders are not welcome. There are 45 trails, with options aplenty for novice, intermediate, and expert skiers. One-day weekend lift tickets are $79 for adults and $63 for children ages 6 through high school (kids under 5 ski for free) but tickets bought online in advance are considerably cheaper.
Blacktail Mountain, Montana.Blacktail Mountain in Lakeside is nicknamed the "upside-down hill" because skiers go from top to bottom before catching a lift. Beginners might want to ski elsewhere -- 70 percent of the slopes are rated intermediate and 15 percent as expert. Adults pay $40 for a day of skiing, teens pay $28, tweens pay $19, and children up to age 7 ski free. Freebies are also offered on birthdays and all fifth graders are entitled to a free day pass or, for a $10 processing fee, a free season pass.
Turner Mountain, Montana.Gorgeous scenery goes hand in hand with bargain prices at this rustic ski area in Libby. The 22 runs at Turner Mountain Ski Area are best for experienced skiers; 60 percent are black diamonds and 30 percent are rated "more difficult." Adult lift tickets are only $37 for the day; kids under 6 ski free; ages 7 to 12 pay $20; and teens cost $25.
Santa Fe, New Mexico.At Ski Santa Fe, visitors to New Mexico's capital city can enjoy 79 trails running over 660 acres with options for skiers at different levels. A day at this mountain costs $72 for adults, $60 for active-duty and retired military, $58 for teens, and $52 for children taller than 46 inches and up to age 12. The beginner lift, available to young and old alike, costs $38. Nightly accommodation at nearby facilities starts at well under $100 a night; package deals are also offered.
Brighton, Utah.Located near Park City, about 35 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Brighton Resort has average annual snowfall of 500 inches and 66 ski runs. A full-day adult lift ticket is $75, youth (ages 11 to 13) are $45, and kids under 10 ski free with a paying adult. A reloadable Go Card lets skiers purchase passes at a discount online, and lower rates are available for beginners and night skiing. Lodging on the mountain starts at $129 a night for a dorm ($149 for a queen) and includes continental breakfast.
Ogden, Utah.North of Salt Lake City, Ogden is home to several ski areas within about a half-hour drive. Powder Mountain is a bit cheaper than Snowbasin, at $73 for all-day adult lift tickets -- with discounted passes available online -- and $25 for night skiing. The 7,000 skiable acres include 144 runs, backcountry skiing, and two terrain parks. Nordic Valley in Eden, part of the greater Ogden area, offers excellent powder conditions without large crowds. This mountain has 22 runs but boasts the lowest prices in the area, with full-day weekend tickets costing $45 for adults and $35 for children.
Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada.In addition to big names such as Heavenly and Squaw Valley, this area is home to more affordable ski resorts. At scenic Homewood Mountain on the western shore of Lake Tahoe, the lake is visible from the runs. And now may be the time to visit: A proposed expansion is likely to drive up prices. The full adult rate for lift tickets is $89 ($72 for teens and $44 for kids), but savings can top 40 percent for advance purchases online.. Another Tahoe resort, Diamond Peak in Incline Village, Nevada, charges a family rate of $226 for two adults and two kids (children under 6 are free).