EmailTwitterFacebookShare

In a 2016 survey, Colorado-based RRC Associates identified why people stop skiing and snowboarding

Fully 39% blamed the cost of lift tickets and passes, some of which now top $200 if you walk up to a ticket window.

Ouch. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little research, and by purchasing tickets in advance from from Liftopia, skiing and snowboarding in North America can be surprisingly affordable.

This list  — which is admittedly subjective — was compiled using Liftopia.com pricing for Saturday, January 25, 2020, a non-holiday, mid-season weekend.

Don’t see your favorite best value ski area? Look for it on Liftopia, where you’ll find lift ticket deals for over 100 ski areas and resorts.  

Remember, the more you save, the more you can ski! 

New England

Vermont’s Smugglers’ Notch tops the value list at $61.

Smugglers’ Notch claims the most vertical in Vermont at 2,610’, plus 78 trails on 310 acres with an additional 700 acres of in-bound glades to explore. Snowmaking covers 62% of marked runs on three connected peaks. 

In 2019, SKI Magazine readers ranked Smugglers’ Notch among the Top 10 Eastern resorts for grooming, terrain variety, and value. 

Don’t Miss: The base-to-summit Madonna 1 lift with 360-degree views of Canada, the White Mountains, and Lake Champlain. Choose either blue groomers or steep expert terrain on your way back down.

Runners Up: Magic Mountain, VT ($55), Ragged Mountain, NH ($65), Sugarloaf ($94.00)

The Midwest

An advance purchase adult lift price of just $54 puts Minnesota’s Spirit Mountain at the top of the list.

Spirit Mountain has 700 vertical feet, 22 runs on 175 acres and 3 terrain parks. It’s also located just minutes from Duluth overlooking beautiful Lake Superior. Snowmaking covers 100% of the mountain and the longest run is one mile. 

Don’t Miss: A winter sports wonderland, Spirit Mountain has night skiing, nordic skiing, fat biking, and an alpine coaster. 

Runners Up: Caberfae Peaks, MI ($41) Crystal Mountain, MI ($71), Shanty Creek, MI ($63).

Colorado

A few weeks ago, we bought a Liftopia ticket for a friend visiting Powderhorn Resort in western Colorado. The price for a young adult ticket (up to age 30) was $46.99. 

For this, she skied 1,600 vertical feet and 1,350 skiable acres, much of it accessed by a high-speed lift. She even got fresh snow. What she didn’t get were lift lines. 

For the weekend of January 25, a one-day adult ticket at Powderhorn will set you back just $61. 

Don’t Miss: Powderhorn is famous for glade skiing in old-growth stands of aspen trees. The steepest terrain is on the West End, while the best après is in the new Umbrella Bar. 

Runners Up: Arapahoe Basin ($90), Sunlight Mountain ($68), Purgatory ($85)

Utah

In 2019, Sundance Mountain Resort, near Provo and Salt Lake City, was named the #1 ski resort in North America by readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Yet, a one-day adult lift ticket is just $75 for January 25. 

With 44 trails on 450 acres, Sundance has a 2,150’ vertical drop and terrain is divided 35% beginner, 45% intermediate and 20% advanced/expert. 

Don’t Miss: Mainline adrenaline on Sundance’s Winter Zip Tour. Flying across 3,879 feet of double cable, guests can reach over 65 mph while enjoying stunning views of Mount Timpanogos. 

Runners Up: Eagle Point ($47), Brighton ($92), Snowbird ($128).

California

Mammoth Mountain is as much SoCal as NorCal and it’s one of the finest mountains in North America. Shockingly, a Liftopia one-day adult ticket is just $79.00. 

With majestic glades, high alpine chutes and bowls, gentle cruisers and a vibrant park scene, Mammoth has over 3,500 skiable acres and over 3,100’ of vertical. Plus, the resort gets 400 inches of snow each year and has one of the longest seasons in North America. 

Don’t Miss: Mammoth’s backside has a completely different feel from the frontside. Don’t bypass lifts 13 and 14 or miss The Melt, serving up beer and gourmet grilled cheese. 

Runners Up: Boreal ($73), Homewood ($83), Snow Valley ($60).

Pacific Northwest

Seattle’s home mountain, the Summit at Snoqualmie is actually four ski areas with a combined 2,280 vertical feet and 1,994 skiable acres. Fully 53% rated is advanced and expert and there are 600 acres of night skiing, the most in the U.S. 

Best, an advance adult lift ticket for this Saturday, January 25, is $68.

Don’t Miss: If you enjoy off-piste gated terrain, think glades, chutes, and bowls, head for Alpental and Edelweiss Bowl.

Runners Up: Mt. Ashland, OR ($40), 49 Degrees North, WA ($55), Mission Ridge, WA ($66)

British Columbia

BC’s Sun Peaks ($71.90 USD) has 4,270 skiable acres, the second most in Canada. Spread across three mountains, with 2,894 vertical feet, Sun Peaks was named one of National Geographic’s Best Winter Trips for 2019 for it’s ski terrain and charming, ski-through village.

Don’t Miss: If groomers are your thing, check out the runs on Sundance (intermediate) or 5 Mile Run (beginner) from the top of Mt. Tod. 

Runners Up: Cypress Mountain, BC ($55.84 USD), Mt Seymour, BC ($48.19 USD),  Revelstoke, BC ($83.89 USD). 

Quebec

Quebec’s Le Massif ($65.55 USD) on the St. Lawrence River has the highest vertical in Eastern Canada (2,526’), 53 trails on 307 skiable acres and extensive off-piste skiing. Stay in a village nearby, or in winter-loving Quebec City, just 75 minutes away. 

Don’t Miss: The luge/sled track down Mont Liguori. A winding 7.5 km (4.6 miles) that takes about 2 hours, riders steer with their feet and hands while sitting on two-rail wooden sleds. 

Runners Up: Tremblant ($73.06), Bromont ($41.31), Mont Sutton ($49.57)

EmailTwitterFacebookShare
Enjoyed this post?
Sub-Categories North America / Ski & Snowboard / Travel
Tags

2 responses to “North America’s Best Value Ski Areas”

  1. Anna Slattery says:

    Mammoth at $79.00? Let me know when that happens. The cheapest I could get midweek, no holiday, in January with Liftopia was: $151/day.

  2. Emilio Trampuz says:

    Great article! I love skiing less well known places, where skiing is more affordable and less crowded.

    But I wouldn’t pick Snoqualmie as my number one choice. Both 49 Degrees North and Mt. Spokane are so much better. At Snoqualmie Pass, of the 4 ski areas, 2 of them are closed most of the time. On an icy day, Snoqualmie East has better snow than any of the other 3, but Snoqualmie East is closed most of the time, except on the busiest weekends. One of the fun things the 3 connected areas at Snoqualmie is to travel between them, but if only Snoqualmie Central is open, no such travel is possible. Even when all 3 areas are open, the connecting trails are often closed.

    Skiing at Snoqualmie is an exercise in frustration, either because of the closed areas and trails, or because of ice, rain and Cascade cement snow.

    It also gets crowded because of the proximity to Seattle, and wet because of the proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
    I have experienced some of the worst cement snow at Snoqualmie. And, on another occasion, I was not allowed to ski at Snoqualmie West because it was reserved for some special event that cost money to attend.

    In the State of Washington, in order to get away from wet snow and crowds, head east, and that means: Mission Ridge, 49 Degrees North, Mt. Spokane, and Bluewood. Also, Loop. Loop, Sitzmark, and Echo Valley.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *