6 Best Budget Ski Destinations for 2018

Want to hit the slopes hard this year without running through your entire vacation budget for the foreseeable future? This year, we’ve picked ski resorts based on best overall value and how inexpensive it is to get you there to help you keep costs reasonable.

budget ski vacations

Without further ado, check out the best ski trips for 2018!

Taos Ski Valley, Taos, New Mexico

taos, new mexico
We’re putting Taos on the list this year as a “Best for Beginners” trip, and one big reason is that their bargain lift ticket prices for novice skiers are simply the best! Taos is usually a safe bet in general as a “Best Ski Value” and this year is no different. The New Mexico destination offers challenging terrain, amazing ski conditions, affordable prices, and short lines at the ski lift. About the only drawback is the hike from Albuquerque – a three hour drive from the airport. But it’s a beautiful drive and the trip is well worth it.

Lift ticket: Adult $105, child $65 when you buy online. If you’re a beginner and you plan to stay in the beginner’s area, your price is only $50.

Airfare: Flights from Dallas to Albuquerque start at $144 on Frontier.

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Banff, Alberta, Canada

banff, alberta, ca
Are you surprised to hear that an international ski trip might be a bargain? It’s true! Lots of options in the hotel department for less than $100/night and the 3-day pass is more reasonable than most U.S. prices ($86/day). As an added bonus, Banff also has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

Lift ticket: Adult $96

Airfare: Flights from SFO start at around $250 into Calgary on Alaska Air.

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Sugar Bowl, Lake Tahoe, California

lake tahoe, ca
The skiing in Lake Tahoe is fantastic, but it’s not generally known to be a bargain ski and snowboard destination. One notable exception is Sugar Bowl. With an excellent reputation for kids’ lessons, 12 ski lifts and approximately 75% trails for the intermediate or expert level, there’s no better family destination on the lake. Sugar Bowl offers generous discounts for booking online and has reasonable half-day prices for all ages.

Lift ticket: Adult $115, Child $67

Airfare: Frontier has flights from Chicago (ORD) to Reno for $191.*

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Alyeska Ski Resort, Girdwood Alaska

alyeska resort, girdwood, alaska
credit: shutterstock.com

Lift tickets are already reasonable at the stunning, Anchorage-area Aleyeska resort, but if you can take advantage of Alaska Air’s free lift ticket promotion you’ll ski free the day you arrive! You must be flying from one of these cities: Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, or Spokane. To redeem your free ticket, just show your boarding pass with matching ID at any ticket office, Monday through Friday.

Lift Ticket: Adults $85 for holidays & weekends/$65 midweek, Child $35/$30

Airfare: Nonstop flights from Portland and Seattle are under $300* for some dates in March and April on Alaska Air.

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Crested Butte, Colorado

crested butte co
Crested Butte offers family friendly skiing at a very reasonable price. This low-key spot is a great place to escape the crowds while enjoying the mostly mild Colorado ski weather. The resort also offers a discount “Stay and Ski” package when you book your accommodation alongside your lift tickets.

Lift ticket: Adult $111, child $61 when you buy online.

Airfare: Nonstop flights from LAX to Denver on Spirit are going for $71* right now on Spirit.

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Sugarbush Resort, Warren, Vermont


Sugarbush doesn’t get the love that nearby Stowe does, and that’s a shame because it’s got great terrain spread over two mountains (Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen), a good mix of beginner to expert runs for every level of skier/snowboarder, and it’s cheaper than any other Vermont resort of equal stature. It’s also not as crowded so you won’t have to queue up for lengthy lift lines. Bottom line – it’s a great value. Check it out.

Lift ticket: Adult $79, child $65.

Airfare: A quick flight from New York (JFK) to Burlington will only set you back about $137* on Delta.

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Don’t forget that mid-week flights are typically cheaper for ski destinations (as are accommodations, typically) if you’re looking to save even more. And if you can forgo the more convenient (but usually more expensive) nonstops, you’ll also save more for your entertainment budget.

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*Airfares include taxes and fees and are valid as of 1/30/18 on select dates between 2/01/18 and 4/30/18. Lowest fare seats are capacity controlled and may not be available on every airline, flight, or date. Fares subject to change without notice.

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