While skiing and snowboarding is a thrilling sport that many students enjoy on their winter break from college, it doesn’t come cheap. Gear (whether rented or bought new), lodging, food and lift tickets all exact a heavy toll on one’s wallet, making getting away seem a fleeting dream to many.
Don’t lose heart, as there are still resorts across America where one can get a lift ticket for a reasonable price. The resorts below are among the cheapest ski resorts in America, so scourge through your couch for change and return those beer bottles, and you might have that snowsports trip that you’ve been longing for recently…
1) Bridger Bowl (Montana)
A 2,600 foot vertical drop, 350 inches of snow annually, and there’s rarely ever a wait at the lifts … sounds like a place that you would shred in your dreams, or at least when you are out in the real world with a job? Nope. As it turns out, you can ski or board Bridger Bowl for the paltry sum of $49.
Even better, your apres ski will have you living it up in Bozeman, one of America’s highest ranked college towns for parties, atmosphere and overall quality of life. Ummm … one plane ticket to Bozeman please!
2) Powderhorn (Colorado)
Colorado may be filled with snow resorts, but most seem to be obsessed with becoming the next Vail or Aspen, making them unsuitable for our purposes.
For those of us that take skiing or boarding seriously (so much so that our gear bills leave us close to broke), places like Powderhorn are a breath of fresh Rocky Mountain air, as this area offers some of the best technical skiing in the state, as well as views of the rusty red rocks that herald the start of the deserts of the American southwest.
At only $61 for a lift ticket, you won’t believe your luck as you blast through powder stashes in challenging glades that get tracked out in hours at other resorts.
3) Mount Shasta Board and Ski Park (California)
Located in the shadow of Mount Shasta, California’s 14,000 foot sleeping volcano, you’ll find a ski and boarding park that offers something that’s really hard to find in this state these days – an honest-to-goodness deal.
For $49 for a weekday adult lift ticket, you can shred 275 inches of powder (and with El Nino set to roll through this winter, it may be a lot more than that!) over 425 acres of controlled terrain, during the day or at night.
With 75% of all trails being rated beginner or intermediate, Shasta is also a friendly place to bring your neophyte friends to get them hooked on the powder bug, and with an excellent snowsports school here, they’ll be planning a return trip with you before you know it!
4) Burke Mountain (Vermont)
In the northeast, Vermont has some of the best skiing, as the Appalachians has blessed them with some truly epic pistes. With the price inflation induced by affluent New Yorkers and Bostonians though, you may find that your wallet will be a lot lighter after visiting your average hill here.
Burke Mountain is the rare convergence of a quality hill at an unbeatable price, as $64 will buy you access to a peak full of runs that will test your mettle. 86% of the runs at Burke rank as intermediate or harder, keeping out the yuppies that cause collisions with their inattention, leaving only those that revel in a true mountain experience.
5) Dartmouth Skiway (New Hampshire)
In case you are wondering if there a college that actually has a snow resort in its backyard … yes. Yes, there is.
Dartmouth College in New Hampshire owns a hill 20 miles north of its campus in Hanover, using it to train its collegiate snowsports athletes, but also allowing the general public to carve up its nearly 1,000 feet of vertical for no more than $47 per lift ticket.
Looking for a reason to take a road trip up to see your Greek brothers or sisters in the ol’ NH? Now you have your excuse!
BONUS: Grouse Mountain (British Columbia, Canada)
While this is a list of American ski/boarding areas, we realize some of you have your passport and want to visit our Canuck cousins this winter. While you might be frightened by the cost of living up there, there are even snow areas here that are totally affordable.
Mix in a visit to friends at UBC with an outing to Grouse Mountain on the North Shore of Vancouver. With 1,300 feet of vertical, massive Pacific dumps of snow, and a killer view of one of North America’s most modern cities below, it is a killer deal, especially when you can get a lift ticket for no more than $58 CDN (~$64 USD).
*Image of a girl snowboarding via Shutterstock