Hit the Slopes
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13 Destinations for Cheap Skiing in 2020

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Hit the Slopes
manonallard/istockphoto

Hit the Slopes

High-end ski resorts claim all the glamour, but a destination such as Aspen or Vail is not the place for budget-friendly skiing. These resorts typically charge well north of $100 for an adult lift ticket, not to mention the cost of lodging, dining, and equipment rental. Instead, head for a destination where the prices are lower, the resort is appealing and unpretentious, and the skiing is still worth the trip. Budget-friendly spots are especially prevalent in the West and Northeast. Don't ski or snowboard? These 20 Winter Resorts are Still Great Getaways.

Jay Peak, Vermont
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Jay Peak, Vermont

Jay Peak is known as the skiing and snowboarding site with the most snow in eastern North America, thanks to an average annual snowfall of 349 inches. There are 81 trails running over 50 miles (the longest stretching 3 miles), more than 100 acres of gladed terrain, and a freestyle terrain park. One-day lift tickets for adults cost $89. Online purchases generate substantial discounts, often depending on the date.

Related:16 Ways to Hit the Slopes on the Cheap This Winter.

Cranmore Mountain, New Hampshire
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Cranmore Mountain, New Hampshire

Located in North Conway, this resort is ideal for frugal families or large groups. If some in the party don't want to ski, they can head out to the adventure park and mountain roller coaster ($13 a ride). Adult lift tickets bought onsite cost $89; teens pay $66, and children cost $52. Plan ahead and pay a lot less by buying tickets online.

Ski Cooper, Colorado
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Ski Cooper, Colorado

Opened in 1941 and a former training site for the Army's 10th Mountain Division, Ski Cooper is about as friendly and unpretentious of a ski area as you're likely to find, especially in resort-laden Colorado. You'll find 60 runs over nearly 500 acres at elevations from 10,500 to 11,700 feet (so a day or two of acclimation in the equally unpretentious nearby town of Leadville might be a good idea). And, as Cooper likes to point out, "you can afford to bring the whole family, too" — full-day lift tickets bought online are $58 for adults and $37 for kids 6-14. If you're just learning to ski or board, you can purchase all-day tickets to the EZ Street Magic Carpet "lift" and bunny hill for only $25.

Related: 50 Best Small Towns to Visit in Winter

The Berkshires, Massachussetts
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The Berkshires, Massachusetts

This scenic region is popular in fall and summer months thanks to top-notch hiking and foliage viewing, and it's also an affordable ski destination in winter. Ski Butternut in Great Barrington offers reasonable prices for a quick ski getaway. One-day adult lift tickets go for $65 on non-holiday weekends, but the real deal is weekday skiing when the cost is only $25. For children 7 to 13, those same tickets are $55/$20, respectively, and kids 6 and under are $25/$15. Four-hour flex tickets, which shave $5 off the regular prices, are available during weekends and holidays.

Blacktail Mountain, Montana
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Blacktail Mountain, Montana

Blacktail Mountain in Lakeside is nicknamed the "upside-down hill," because skiers park and start runs from the top of the mountain before catching a lift to be taken back up. Beginners might want to ski elsewhere, as 65% of the slopes are rated intermediate and 20% are expert. Adults pay $45 for a day of skiing, teens pay $32, tweens pay $22, and children up to age 7 ski free. Freebies are also offered on birthdays, and all fifth-graders are entitled to a free day pass or, for a $10 processing fee, a free season pass.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Santa Fe, New Mexico

At Ski Santa Fe, visitors to New Mexico's capital city can slide down 86 trails running over 660 acres with options for skiers at different levels. A day at this mountain costs $84 for adults, $70 for active-duty and retired military, $64 for teens, and $56 for children taller than 46 inches and up to age 12. The beginner lift, available to young and old alike, costs $40.

Related: Where to Find Indoor Fun in All 50 States This Winter

Mad River Glen, Vermont
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Mad River Glen, Vermont

Skiers who would rather not share the slopes with snowboarders can head to Mad River Glen in Waitsfield, one of only three areas in North America where snowboarders are not allowed. There are 45 trails, with options aplenty for novice, intermediate, and expert skiers. One-day weekend lift tickets are $92 for adults and $74 for children ages 6 through high school (kids under 5 ski free), but tickets bought online in advance are considerably cheaper.

Brighton, Utah
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Brighton, Utah

Located near Park City, about 35 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Brighton Resort boasts an average annual snowfall of 500 inches and has 66 ski runs. Full-day adult lift tickets start at $99, and youth tickets (for ages 11 to 13) start at $55. Lower rates also are available for beginners and night skiing.

Turner Mountain, Montana
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Turner Mountain, Montana

Gorgeous scenery goes hand in hand with bargain prices at Turner Mountain. The 22 runs at this rustic ski area in Libby are best for experienced skiers; 60% are black diamonds and 30% are rated "more difficult." Adult lift tickets are only $38 for the day; kids under 6 ski free; ages 7 to 12 pay $21; and teens cost $26.

Related: 21 Things to Keep in Your Car For Safe Winter Driving

 Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
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Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

In addition to big names such as Heavenly and Squaw Valley, this area is also home to more affordable ski resorts. At scenic Homewood Mountain on the western shore of Lake Tahoe, the lake is visible from the runs. Adult lift tickets start at $64 online ($39 for teens and $29 for kids) for mid-week skiing. Another Tahoe resort, Diamond Peak in Incline Village, Nevada, charges $94 for weekday adult lift passes, $74 for skiers 13 to 23 or seniors over 65, and $39 for kids 7 to 12.

Crested Butte, Colorado
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Crested Butte, Colorado

Located 230 miles from Denver, Crested Butte calls itself "a real Colorado ski town." You won't find pretentious packed restaurants, fancy-schmancy shopping, or even traffic lights here, but you will find low-key yet challenging skiing and boarding on more than 1,500 acres. The 121 trails are pretty much evenly split amongst beginner to expert terrain, making the mountain great for groups with varying skills. Lift tickets start at around $109 for a weekday pass, bought online, for ages 13 to 64, a better deal than the $129 window price. Online passes for kids 5 to 12 cost $63, and seniors pay $92.

Winter is Coming
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Ogden, Utah

North of Salt Lake City, Ogden is home to several ski areas within about a 30-minute drive. Powder Mountain charges $95 for all-day adult lift tickets with slightly discounted passes available online, and $33 for night skiing. The nearly 8,500 skiable acres, which the ski area claims is the most of any resort in the United States, includes 154 runs and two terrain parks. Nordic Valley in Eden, part of the greater Ogden area, offers excellent powder conditions without large crowds. This mountain boasts some of the lowest prices in the area, with full-day weekend and holiday tickets costing $50 for adults and $40 for children ages 11 to 17.

Crystal Mountain, Washington
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Crystal Mountain, Washington

This family-friendly ski area is less than two hours from Seattle, making it ideal for day-trippers and those looking for a quick weekend away. Whether your jam is skiing or snowboarding, there are over 2,600 acres and 57 runs to enjoy. But perhaps one of the best things about Crystal Mountain is the reasonable price — daily lift tickets bought online start as low as $65 for adults, depending on the day of the week. Kids 5 to 12 and seniors alike can ski for as little as $26, and those 13 to 22 pay $57 and up.