11 Budget Ski Resorts For Your Next Family Ski Trip

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Getting the most ski bang for your buck can be a real challenge.  With the skyrocketing price of lift tickets and ski school, skiing on a budget can be tricky. 

family skiing together

But the good news is — many budget-friendly ski resorts offer fantastic skiing without the high price tag that usually comes along with bigger ski resorts. We understand that finding cheap ski resorts that still have great skiing can be challenging, so we’ve compiled a list of the affordable ski resorts you can consider for your budget ski trip.

Read Next: Top 50 Kids Ski Free Resorts 2023

The ski destinations below are all family-friendly ski resorts, offering facilities that will make your affordable ski trip incredible.  Make sure to also check out our list of the Best Beginner Ski Resorts in the United States if you’re just learning how to ski!

1. Bridger Bowl, Montana 

man skiing at Bridger Bowl

Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: $70
Kids: $30 for 7-12 juniors.
$45 for 13-18 teens.
Free for 6 and under kids.  

Closest Airport
Bozeman Airport 

Best Places to Stay Near Bridger Bowl
MountainView Lodge & Suites
Fairfield Inn & Suites

What Makes Bridger Bowl a Good Resort for Families?

Bridger Bowl is one of the best affordable ski resorts in Montana. Considering its 350 inches of snowfall, super dry snow, and around 2,000 skiable acres every winter, Bridger Bowl is a wonderful and cheap ski resort. Despite its old-school ski culture, the steep terrain and beautiful mountain views make Bridge Bowl a great ski resort for all skiers.

Bridger Bowl’s calm and less crowded environment makes it unique among other family-friendly ski resorts. The resort’s beginner terrain is perfect for kids who want to learn to ski, and the lesson programs there are very kid-focused and help to really solidify basic skills. Bozeman, is located about a 20-minute drive to the resort and it’s about 90 minutes from Yellowstone National Park.

2. Cranmore Mountain Resort, New Hampshire

kids ski helmet that fits correctly

Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: $99
Kids: $69 for teenagers
FREE for 5 years old and younger kids. 

Closest Airport
Lebanon Municipal Airport

Where to Stay Near Cranmore Mountain Resort
North Conway Grand Hotel
Fairfield Inn and Suites

What Makes Cranmore Ski Resort Family Friendly?

Cranmore Moutain is one of the most affordable places to ski on the East Coast. We love that while Cranmore is a small resort, it’s got great facilities and has a very family friendly atmosphere. While the resort is actually quite small at just about 200 acres, the mountain has an elevation of 2,000 feet and a vertical drop of about 1,200 feet, offering a mix of groomed trails and glades.

Cranmore also has a rich history, as it was one of the first ski areas to open in the United States back in the 1930s. The resort is equipped with modern amenities including high-speed lifts, a tubing park, and a terrain park for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. We love that Cranmore has a big variety of terrain that’s suitable for all ages and abilities. The Cranmore ski school has Kids Rule Mountain Camps that have an excellent reputation and offer affordable lesson packages. Families will find Cranmore particularly appealing as it has a renowned ski school and plenty of activities for children. Beyond the winter season, the resort offers summer activities like mountain biking and zip-lining, making it a year-round destination.

3. Powder Mountain, Utah 

Boy skiing powder in the mountains

Powder Mountain Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: $115
Kids: $69 for ages 7-18.
6 and Younger kids ski free. 

Closest Airport
Ogden Hinckley Airport, SLC is 1 hour away

Where to Stay Near Powder Mountain Resort
Compass Rose Lodge
Eden Mountain Getaway
Snowberry Inn

What Makes Powder Mountain A Great Budget Ski Resort for Families?

Powder Mountain is not just one of the affordable places to ski; it offers the largest ski terrain in the country by skiable acreage. Paying $115 to ski at this resort — where you’ll enjoy powder skiing and completely natural snow — is ridiculously amazing! Truthfully, you’re getting the incredible skiing that you’d expect from a mega-resort at a budget resort price.

If you prefer skiing in cheap ski resorts that are not crowded, Powder Mountain Resort is a good option. Family skiing is amazing at this resort. There is a lot of family-friendly terrain to explore. Moreover, the resort has nine lifts, including a fast Hidden Lake Express for families. Visiting Powder Mountain Resort is an affordable ski vacation every family should consider. 

Powder Mountain offers a variety of skiing options, including groomed trails, powder glades, and backcountry areas. The resort is especially loved for its deep powder, often accumulating more than 500 inches of snow per season. It has a laid-back atmosphere, which attracts a crowd more interested in the quality of skiing than in luxurious amenities.

The resort also offers “Powder Safari” guided tours and “Snowcat Powder Expeditions,” which take you to untouched terrains only accessible by snowcat. For those interested in skinning or splitboarding, the resort provides uphill trails specifically designated for uphill travel, allowing adventurers to explore even more terrain. While it may lack some of the high-end amenities of other resorts, Powder Mountain offers an unrivaled family experience that’s great for all abilities.

4. Arizona Snowbowl, Arizona

mountains in Arizona Snowbowl

Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: The price ranges between $29 and $124, depending on the date of the online purchase
Kids: $44 for ages 8-12.
$66 for ages 13-17.
All kids 12 and younger ski free with the Power Kids Pass, so it’s worth signing up for that

Closest Airport
Flagstaff Airport

Where to Stay Near Arizona SnowBowl
Snowbowl Off Piste Vacation Rental
Sonesta ES Suites

What Makes Arizona Snowbowl Resort Great for Family Skiing?

Arizona Snowbowl makes the list of the best budget ski resorts not only because of the cheap skiing but because of its magnificent steeps and views. Located in the mountains outside of Flagstaff, it’s one of the only places to ski in Arizona. This resort is ideal for an affordable ski vacation, and the unbelievable cheap lift tickets can make this one of the most affordable places to ski in the United States.

Most families looking for cheap places to ski choose Arizona bowl for its family-friendly outdoor activities. Kids ski free with the Power Kids season ticket, and you can take them to any of their associated resorts to ski free as well.

With a peak elevation of about 11,500 feet, the resort provides a surprising amount of vertical drop and varied terrain, suitable for beginners to experts. It offers over 55 trails across 777 acres of skiable area, serviced by multiple lifts including a high-speed six-person lift. Snowbowl is known for its stunning views of the Grand Canyon and the red rocks of Sedona, offering a unique backdrop while you ski or snowboard.

The resort has invested in snowmaking capabilities, making it more reliable for winter sports despite Arizona’s generally warm climate. It typically operates from late November through April, although the season can vary. Arizona Snowbowl also offers ski and snowboard lessons, making it a family-friendly option. Its proximity to Flagstaff provides convenient access to lodging, dining, and other amenities, rounding out the ski experience.

5. Big Bear Mountain Resort, California 

Mountain views at Big Bear Mountain Resort

Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: $42 for adults
$124 for a family of two adults and all their 17 and under kids
Kids: $30 for kids 6 and above. Kids 5 and younger ski free. 

Closest Airport
Newburgh (SWF) Airport

Where to Stay Near Big Bear Mountain Resort
Storybook Cottage Retreat
Big Bear Chateau
Family Friendly Vacation Rental Townhome

What Makes Big Bear A Great Budget Ski Resort?

If you’re skiing on a budget, Bear Moutain Resort is one of the best budget ski resorts in the country. Their family lift ticket price is the cheapest you’d find in the region, and the skiing experience is extraordinary. From ski competitions to engaging skiing lessons, skiing at Big Bear can be a great experience.

Big Bear Mountain Resort in Southern California is a popular winter destination that consists of two separate ski areas: Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. Located about two hours from Los Angeles, it’s an easily accessible getaway for Southern Californians looking for ski and snowboard activities. The resort offers a combined 438 developed acres of skiable terrain, with a mix of runs suitable for all skill levels—from beginner to advanced. Snow Summit is generally considered more family-friendly with a variety of easier slopes and groomed runs, while Bear Mountain attracts a younger crowd with its freestyle parks and more challenging terrain.

Both areas have snow-making capabilities, which significantly enhance the natural snowfall, ensuring a more consistent snow base throughout the season. The resort typically operates from November to April, although the exact dates can vary depending on the weather.

Looking for more resorts in California that are family-friendly? Read our California Skiing article next!

6. Sugar Mountain, North Carolina  

night time skiing at sugar mountain north carolina

Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: $50 on weekdays and $84 on weekends. 
Kids: $40 for kids 5-11
Kids 4 and under SKI FREE

Closest Airport
Asheville Regional Airport

Where to Stay Near Sugar Mountain
Sugar Ski Cottage
Mountain Lodge at Banner Elk

What Makes Skiing at Sugar Mountain Great?

Sugar Mountain Resort is a popular ski destination located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It is particularly well-known for its variety of slopes catering to both beginners and experienced skiers, as well as snowboarders. The resort typically offers 21 slopes spread across 125 acres, with the longest run being 1.5 miles. The skiing season varies but generally runs from late November to late March, depending on the weather conditions.

The elevation is a significant draw, as the summit is over 5,300 feet, offering a vertical drop of 1,200 feet. In terms of amenities, Sugar Mountain provides ski and snowboard rentals, as well as lessons for those new to the sport. Beyond skiing and snowboarding, the resort also offers amenities like ice skating and snowshoeing, making it a comprehensive winter sports destination. The nearby village provides lodging options and restaurants for visitors, so it’s convenient for weekend getaways or longer vacations.

Overall, Sugar Mountain is considered a family-friendly destination with a mix of slopes for various skill levels, and it’s a popular choice for those looking for skiing in the southeastern United States

7. Wildcat Mountain, New Hampshire 

Ski trail on wildcat mountain

Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: $70
Kids: $50 

Closest Airport
Washington Regional Airport

Where to Stay Near Wildcat Mountain
The Glen House Hotel
Eagle Mountain House
Ledge and Lake Chalet

What Makes Wildcat Mountain a Good Place to Ski on a Budget?

Opened in the 1958-1959 ski season, Wildcat Mountain has been a staple of New Hampshire skiing for decades. Located near the legendary Pinkham Notch, a visit to Wildcat Moutain is the affordable ski trip your family needs this winter if you’re near New Hampshire. This place is an ideal ski resort for a family planning a budget skiing in a location with amazing slopes and picturesque mountain views.

Aside from the cheap skiing, it offers many exciting adventures for the whole family. Wildcat Mountain Resort is a wonderful resort for kids to learn skiing. The instructors are super-friendly, and they make kids enjoy skiing.

While there is only 1 chairlift, there are 48 trails, and since its high-speed quad, you won’t spend all day on the chairlift. Wildcat offers a diverse range of trails, from beginner to advanced. The mountain is known for its long, challenging trails and its wide groomers. Wildcat’s longest trail, the Polecat, is a beginner-friendly run that spans from the summit all the way to the base, offering 2.75 miles of scenic skiing.

8. Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana 

big mountain skiing at altitude

Lift Ticket Prices 

Adult: $83 
Kids: $42 for 7-12 kids
Kids 6 and under kids ski FREE

Closest Airport
Glacier Park International Airport 

Where To Stay near Whitefish
Kandahar Lodge at Whitefish
Haleys Run Condo
The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

What Makes Whitefish Mountain Resort Good for Budget Skiing for Families?

One of the most defining features of skiing in Whitefish is the breathtaking view of Glacier National Park and Flathead Valley. On a clear day, the panorama from the summit is truly unforgettable. WHile there is a little bit of something for everyone, the standout terrain at Whitefish is the tree skiing, which is great for intermediate and advanced skiers.

In true Montana fashion, plan to be welcomed with open arms. The town of Whitefish and the mountain resort are known for their welcoming, laid-back vibe. Locals and staff are often more than happy to share their favorite spots on the mountain or in town, so open up, be friendly and ask questions!

We love Whitefish for skiing with kids because the crowds are really small. That means that whether the kids are in ski school or you’re having a family ski day, there are plenty of wide open runs and space for everyone to improve their skills. While whitefish is a bit of a drive, since it’s located in Northern Montana, it’s convenient to access it by flying into Glacier Park airport.

9. Purgatory Resort, Colorado 

snow mountain views at Purgatory Resort

Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: $29 and up – variable pricing depending on the day
Kids 12 and under SKI FREE with a Kids POWER PASS

Closest Airport
The La Plata County Airport

Best Places To Stay near Purgatory
Purgatory Ski-In Ski-Out Condos

Purgatory is situated in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. It’s about 25 miles north of the historic town of Durango. Purgatory offers a wide variety of terrain across its 1,525 acres. The mountain boasts about 105 trails with a good mix catering to beginners (20%), intermediates (45%), and advanced/expert skiers (35%).

The money-saving lift ticket deal at Purgatory Resort is one of the cheapest among the best budget ski resorts. And with a Kids Power Pass, all kids 12 and under ski for FREE! And with their online ticket purchasing program, lift ticket prices start at just $29 for adults (depending on the date and availability). The resort offers more than cheap skiing — its remarkable downtown, beginner-friendly terrain, and scenery can make your family return for more. 

Family skiing adventure at Purgatory Resort is fun. You can enjoy tubing hill with family, go on scenic chairlift rides, and visit the Animas City Adventure Park. Coupled with the town of Durango, visitors to Purgatory can enjoy a blend of Old West charm and modern amenities. Durango offers additional dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Purgatory is one of the best places for cheap skiing with kids in the United States! They also offer childcare if you want to have some adult-only skiing. While you can stay in Durango, there are plenty of ski-in ski-out condos available, so we recommend staying right on the mountain.

10. Schweitzer Mountain, Idaho

snow views at Schweitzer Mountain

Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: $125 
Kids: $65

Closest Airport
Trail (YZZ) Airport 

Where To Stay Near Schweitzer Mountain
Humbird Hotel
Luxury Log Cabin with Hot Tub
Schweitzer Premium Mountain Chalet

What Makes Schweitzer a Great Family Ski Resort?

An affordable ski trip to Schweitzer Mountain is exhilarating and won’t break the bank. Schweitzer Mountain Resort, located in northern Idaho near the town of Sandpoint, is a premier ski destination and is particularly well-suited for families with children. Its 2900 skiable acres of terrain, the largest in Idaho or Washinton, offers an exceptional skiing experience.  The terrain has steep corduroy, glades, wide-open cruisers, and open bowls. In total, you’ll find access to 92 trails, 10 ski lifts, and gondolas. 

Planning your affordable ski vacation to Schweitzer Mountain means you can access many fun-filled activities available at other family-friendly ski resorts, including family crafts projects and tours.  It might be one of the cheap places to ski, but the value you’ll get from the resort is singular. A budget ski trip to this resort makes you enjoy top-notch accommodation and dining.

11. Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah 

Man skiing at Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah, USA

Lift Ticket Prices 
Adult: $99 and up
Kids 5-12: $54 and up
Kids 4 and under SKI FREE

Closest Airport
Salt Lake City International Airport 

Where To Stay Near Solitude
The Inn at Solitude
Courtyard by Marriott Cottonwood
Solitude Ski-In Ski-Out Condos

What Makes Solitude Great for Skiing with Kids on a Budget?

Looking for affordable places to ski in Utah? Solitude Mountain is a good option that offers mid range lift tickets and exceptional terrain. You’ll get access to the legendary Cottonwood Canyons Skiing at a price that won’t break the bank. And you have access to the resort’s 1200 skiable acres, including three bowls, eight chairlifts, and 77 runs. 

After skiing Solitude for 3 years straight, I can honestly say that if you’re intermediate or expert skiers, this is an amazing place to ski. We love that there’s great terrain for all abilities, and the set-up of the resort funnels everyone into 2 main base areas, so you don’t have to panic about losing your kids.

Solitude has some really great amenities, but with a laid back vibe. You can enjoy the fine dining experiences, or head out to the parking lot and enjoy the tailgating scene. Our kids have taken numerous lessons at Solitude and we’ve always been very impressed with the quality of the ski instructors at Solitude.
If you’re looking for Epic Utah Skiing at a great price, Solitude gives you the most bang for your buck!

Written by Jessica Averett

Hi, I'm Jessica! After meeting my husband on a chairlift, we now live in the mountains of Utah with our 5 kids. As a former ski instructor and mom, I'm here to help you make your family ski trips as easy, and FUN, as possible!