It’s a great feeling whenever the first snow falls, letting you know that ski season has arrived. However, seasoned riders know full well that both skiing and snowboarding can turn into quite an expensive hobby. At VacationRenter, we’re on a mission to make your winter getaways as easy and affordable as possible, and in an effort to do so, we’re sharing all the best places to hit the slopes for around $100.
Whether you’re on the West Coast, East Coast, or anywhere in between — we hope this guide will help you find a ski resort at a reasonable price in a state you love. Then, when you’re ready to hit the slopes, don’t forget to use our day-pack checklist for all your mountain necessities. You can also download our ski and snowboarding Spotify playlists, so you can jam out while bombing down a run!
Ski Resorts on the West Coast
The Pacific states might be more well-known for their beaches, wine, and laid-back vibe. While those are all great draws, what sometimes gets overshadowed is their world-class ski mountains. From Washington, down through Oregon, and into California, a trip to one of these mountains may just rejigger your view of the West Coast. A trip here means packing layered clothing since the weather can change (usually for the better) throughout the day. Skiing in a t-shirt? Sign us up!
Roughly two hours south of Seattle is Crystal Mountain Ski Resort located in Enumclaw, Washington. Boasting almost 500 inches of snowfall per year, Crystal Mountain has bottomless amounts of fun for snowsport enthusiasts. It’s the perfect winter wonderland, with over 2,600 skiable acres for your riding enjoyment.
The locale also offers breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountain Range on its Mt. Rainier Gondola, which ascends over 2,500 vertical feet to the state’s highest-elevation restaurant: the Summit House.
Full-Day Lift Ticket Rates:
Adult Day Pass Cost: $110
Kids Day Pass Cost: $60
Adult Season Ticket Cost: $980
Oregon Ski Resorts
With over 4,300 lift-serviced, skiable acres and two Woodward-designed terrain parks, Mt. Bachelor guarantees to satisfy even your wildest snow-sliding desires. The resort opens on the day after Thanksgiving and offers an action-packed event calendar until its closing day in April, so it’s easy to keep yourself entertained while you give your legs a rest. Lift tickets go for anything in-between $65 and $95 (on non-holidays) when you book in advance and you’ll see the deepest discounts on multi-day ticket purchases, so it pays to do your trip planning.
Mt. Bachelor is found in Bend, nestled along the Deschutes River near the Cascade Mountains, and nature-lovers flock here every year in search of adventure and discounted prices.
Oregon’s grandest peak, Mt. Hood is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders of all ages. Not only does Mt. Hood boast the Pacific Northwest’s largest vertical terrain with 3,690 vertical feet, and has 36 fully lit runs, making it the largest night ski area in the United States — but it also features the only ski-in, ski-out accommodations in the state at the Timberline Lodge.
Maybe the best part of all is that this mountain is conveniently located just 90 minutes from Portland International Airport and the city of Portland itself.
Fun fact: Timberline Lodge is the only ski area in the country that offers skiing all year round.
Lift Ticket Rates:
Adult Day Pass Cost: $114
Kids Day Pass Cost: $67
Adult Season Ticket Cost: $949
Mt. Ashland Ski Area
Close to the border of Oregon and California is Mt. Ashland Ski Area, in the town of Ashland, Oregon. Mt. Ashland offers a “Mountain Fun Guarantee” which states that if you are not completely satisfied with the ski conditions within 45 minutes of purchasing your ticket, you can obtain a voucher with the same value for another day in the season.
In the famous Northern Californian region of Lake Tahoe, Homewood Mountain Resort lies in the small town of Homewood, California. Keep in mind that all Homewood lift tickets purchased online vary by day, and increase with demand.
Looking for more information on these great West Coast ski resorts? Check out our complete guide to West Coast ski resorts.
Ski Resorts near the Rockies
Continually classified as some of the best mountains in the continental U.S., let alone the world, you’d have difficulty finding better mountains to compare. Some resorts in Colorado experience an average of nearly 400 inches — or 33 feet — of snowfall, while other years it can exceed 50 feet! Couple that up with an average of 300 days of sunshine, and you’ll be having trouble not smiling while zipping down a powdery run in no time.
Colorado Ski Resorts
Just an hour west of Denver lies the quaint town of Idaho Springs; there you’ll find Echo Mountain, a spot that prides itself in being the most affordable ski resort in the area.
Last on our Colorado ski radar is Wolf Creek in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, which upholds a reputation for getting the most snow in the entire state. As the name suggests, this mountain community is overflowing with hot springs, enabling you to take a relaxing dip after adventuring outdoors in arguably the state’s most rugged mountain range.
With 1,600 skiable acres and almost 450 inches of natural snowfall each season, you’ll practically be swimming in snow as you navigate down the mountain. Day passes are extremely affordable and top out at $92 during peak holiday periods, but we still recommend booking in advance to take advantage of early season discounts and multi-day pass deals.
Next on our affordable ski list is Brundage Mountain in McCall, Idaho. Brundage offers a “Snow Check Guarantee” allowing you to buy a lift ticket at the window, then test a couple runs on the mountain to feel out the conditions. If you’re not happy with the snow conditions within one hour of purchasing your lift pass, you can return to the ticketing window to get a “snow check” for the value of your ticket, so you can use it on another day during the season.
Although holiday rates fall on the higher end of our budget, it’s definitely worth the mention. Aside from skiing and snowboarding, visitors can go on a snowmobile backcountry tour to Yellowstone National Park, offered by Teton Valley Adventures. These guided tours include everything you need for a backcountry winter adventure, including a snowmobile suit, boots, a helmet, and electric hand warmers.
Looking for more information on these great ski resorts by the Rockies? Check out our complete guide to ski resorts around the Rockies.
Ski Resorts on the East Coast
The youngest sibling of the best skiing regions in the US, the East Coast may not quite measure up to the Rockies or the West Coast mountain ranges in size. But these mountains still get a lot of snow, especially in Vermont, and historically have offered some of the best rates for those looking to ski or board on a budget.
Vermont Ski Resorts
Killington Mountain Resort & Ski Area
As the home of the largest ski resort east of the Mississippi river, Killington is a dream destination for snow-sliding enthusiasts. Killington Ski Resort has over 1,500 skiable acres and almost 75 miles of trail spread across five mountains, so you really have room to roam here. We strongly suggest booking your lift tickets in advance to keep costs down — day passes are between $60 to $140 as opposed to the peak season, when the day-of purchase price is $170.
If your little ones are too young to ski, Shawnee also offers Camp Shawnee babysitting services for $50 per day (or $6 per hour). In-resort babysitting services are hard to come by, so this is definitely a good find.
Start your ski season off on the right foot — or left, depending on how you ride — by visiting one of these affordable resorts! Allow us to help you find a vacation rental or a cabin right by your favorite resort.
Ski Trip Necessities: What to Carry on the Mountain
If you’re comfortable skiing or snowboarding with a backpack, fanny pack, or hydration pack, here’s a checklist of things to bring with you! These are all optional, but trust us, they’ll come in handy and save you some cash on the slopes.
Playlists You Can Ski To
There’s something so incredible about feeling the stoke while riding down the mountain to your favorite songs. We want you to be as excited as we are about ski season, so we’re sharing three editor’s pick playlists for this particular occasion. Follow VacationRenter on Spotify to access these playlists anytime, but we’d suggest downloading each playlist to your phone so you can still enjoy some tunes if you lose service on the mountain.