New To Ski

Ski Season: Discover the Best Value and Luxury Destinations in the USA

by Megan Coles | Published: December 12th, 2022
Ski Slope

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The United States is quickly becoming one of the most expensive places to ski in the world. Lift tickets are reaching double, even triple in some places, than in Europe due to lifting ticket prices being adjusted by demand much like the airline industry. 

The price of skiing in the US varies hugely, from luxury, exclusive resorts costing as much as $275 per person for one day of skiing, to small-town resorts only setting you back $50. Whether you’re wanting fine dining and heated sidewalks or a more modest skiing experience, there’s something for everyone. 

Ski Resort 13

You don’t necessarily have to go to the most expensive ski destinations to find the best skiing, there are hidden gems all over the US offering high-quality terrain and skiing. But if you’re looking for a dash of added luxury, there are plenty of resorts, and even private resorts, for you. 

7 Most Expensive Ski Resorts

    1. Deer Valley, Utah

    deer valley
    Photo by Devin Stein licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Lift ticket: $189 – $249

    With 1-day lift tickets ranging from $189 to $259, Deer Valley is one of the most expensive places to ski in all of the US. The resort limits the number of skiers on the mountain resulting in quieter slopes and making for a certain level of exclusivity. They refer to their customers as guests and were voted ‘#1 Guest Services’ by SKI Magazine.

    The resort tops out at 9500ft (2900m) and is one of three remaining ski resorts prohibiting snowboarders. Deer Valley guests don’t even have to carry their ski gear around, the resort provides a valet service specifically for those who don’t want the added weight. 

    2. Beaver Creek, Colorado 

    Beaver Creek Resort
    Photo by Francisco Carbajal licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

    Lift ticket: $191 – $275

    Beaver Creek is known for being the most family-friendly resort in the Vail Valley, providing guests of all ages with an unforgettable luxury experience. The resort is within a gated community and has a whole host of entertainment for all the family, off the slopes you can spend time in the arts center, sliding around the ice rink, or at the free fireworks display.

    Beaver Creek boasts heated sidewalks, a kiosk to swap out your uncomfy ski boots for slippers to enjoy your apres ski, and the kid’s favorite of free warm cookies handed out every day at the bottom of the slopes.

    If that isn’t enough, it’s one of the highest resorts in this line-up topping out at 1150ft (3500m) making it a snow-sure resort. It’s also home to the World Cup Downhill run Birds of Prey for steep skiing lovers and plenty of wide gentle pistes for young or beginner skiers.

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    At up to $275 per 1 day lift ticket (can be cheaper when bought online) and $170 for kids, it’s the most expensive lift ticket found for 2022/23. 

    3. Vail, Colorado

    vail-1

    Lift ticket: $174 – $247

    Known to be one of the top 5 celebrity ski resorts, Vail has the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Taylor Swift, and the Kardashians enjoying its 5300 acres of skiable terrain. Vail is one of the biggest resorts in the US and includes 7 well-known Back Bowls, making it a favorite for serious skiers.

    Vail is an old-fashioned town modeled after the popular resort of St Anton in Austria and offers visitors over 90 restaurants to choose from, a luxury shopping experience, and numerous spa options.

    The popularity of the resort can be known to cause unreasonably long lift queues and crowded pistes, which at up to $247 for a 1-day lift ticket and an average of $307 per night for accommodation, can leave visitors feeling less than looked after. 

    4. Steamboat Springs, Colorado

    steamboat
    Photo by Murray Foubister at licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Lift ticket: $108 – $243

    Many Olympic skiers and snowboarders call Steamboat Springs home due to its unmatched unique powder nicknamed ‘Champagne Powder’. The snow in Steamboat is particularly dry and light which as you may know is the perfect combination for smooth, floaty skiing.

    It’s seen as one of the least pretentious resorts, not the place to be flaunting your newest designer outfit, and provides some reasonably priced accommodation. But with a daily lift ticket of up to $243, it’s certainly earned its place as one of the most expensive US ski destinations.

    The price is said to reflect the snow and skiing quality rather than the luxury amenities provided by the resort. 

    5. Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

    Ski Resort 13
    Photo by Rich Pearce under CC BY 2.0

    Lift ticket: $179 – $229

    Aspen Snowmass comprises 4 ski areas with exclusive restaurants and après bars making it another celebrity hotspot. At $179 to $229 for a one-day lift ticket, you could be rubbing shoulders with Aspen regulars, Leonardo DiCaprio, Elton John, or Kylie Jenner. It’s no wonder the après is loved by the rich and famous with performers such as Snoop Dogg playing at the Belly Up.

    The skiing in Aspen isn’t something to turn your nose up at either, it’s regularly considered the number one for expert terrain and has one of the best terrain parks in the US. The terrain park in Aspen has huge features including a massive half-pipe making it one of the hosts of the X-Games.

    The 2022 report from accommodation provider HomeToGo has found Aspen Snowmass to have the second highest-priced ski accommodation on their website at $194.66 on average per person, per night. And this isn’t even including the luxury accommodation that can’t be found on their website!

    6. Breckenridge, Colorado

    breckenridge
    Photo by Jonathan Fox at licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Lift ticket: $161-$216

    The snow-sure resort of Breckenridge has a summit elevation of 13000ft (3900m) making for great skiing and long winters. Breckenridge is an old mining town with plenty of character and beautiful architecture. The main area has various luxury shops and restaurants to choose from and numerous high-end accommodations across the resort.

    Key Takeaway: Breckenridge is known for its huge terrain parks and has been host to many high-profile events such as X-Games and Dew Tour.

    It’s also known for its yearly pond skimming event at the end of the season where participants have to see how far they can ski on skis or a snowboard across a pond of water. A favorite amongst visitors and locals.

    See Also:  The Realities of Escaping an Avalanche for Snowboarders and Skiers (Surviving Concrete Snow)

    A lift ticket for the coming 2022/23 season tops out at $216 a day earning itself a spot in the most expensive ski destinations in the US. 

    7. Jackson Hole, Wyoming 

    skiing in Jackson Hole Wyoming

    Lift ticket: $162 – $225
    Jackson Hole is consistently voted the ‘Best overall ski resort in North America’ by SKI magazine. Its awesome backcountry and ‘Cowboy Powder’ make this resort one for ‘real’ skiers.

    Jackson Hole has tons of terrain and is characteristically steep, it also is home to Corbet’s Couloir which has gained fame from the annual Kings & Queens event now sponsored by Red Bull.

    The resort is the wild west meets skiing with saloon bars but also heaps of high-end accommodation with all the amenities. The privacy, tranquility, and natural beauty of Jackson Hole have made it a retreat for many celebrities such as Kanye, Brad Pitt, and Matthew McConaughey.

    Most Expensive US Ski Resorts Map

    Private Ski Resorts

    Yellowstone Club, Montana is the most expensive ski resort you’ve probably never heard of. If you thought that paying over $200 for a day of skiing was expensive then just wait. There are private ski resorts up and down the US reserved exclusively for the rich and famous. 

    With an initial membership fee of $400,000 and an additional annual fee of $41,500, Yellowstone Club offers quiet slopes, awesome terrain, and around 300” of snow a year. But there’s more, aside from the joining fee and annual membership, members must own a property in the resort that ranged from $3 million to $25 million ranches. 

    Bill Gates, Ben Affleck, and Tom Brady are a few of the names with memberships and access to the 18-lift, 100+-run resort linked to Big Sky resort.

    7 Most Affordable Ski Resorts

      1. Winter Park, Colorado

      WinterPark

      Lift ticket: $100

      Winter Park is Colorado’s longest-operated ski resort and is filled with unique, bumpy, tree-filled terrain.

      For the coming 2022/23 season the resort is offering a flexible lift ticket where you book now at a standard price of $100 per day and can decide on the arrival date later. Flexibility like this can allow you to work out the cheapest accommodation and travel costs resulting in a potentially cheaper stay.

      Winter Park is a high resort from 8700 to 12060ft (2,650 to 3,680m) making it snow-sure and it offers plenty of reasonably priced accommodation. The resort also prides itself on its cross-country skiing and has some of the best trails in North America.

      2. Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho

      schweitzer

      Lift ticket: $95-$105

      Schweitzer Mountain has been voted ‘The best-kept secret in North America’ by SKI magazine which means quiet slopes and incredible skiing.

      It’s got 10 lifts and a variety of slope levels from green to double black diamond making it ideal for families and is considered one of the most family-friendly resorts in the pacific Northwest. Accessed by Spokane airport, Schweitzer is Idaho’s largest resort.

      3. Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

      bachelor
      Photo by U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

      Lift ticket: $82-$122

      Mt. Bachelor provides a unique skiing experience with part of its terrain atop a dormant volcano. Established in 1958, it’s the 6th largest ski resort in North America with 3365ft of vertical and a mix of steep and gentle terrain.

      Accommodation is a 35km drive away in the nearby town Bend and tends to offer very reasonably priced lodging. Bend is a vibrant town with apres ski and micro-breweries at the heart of it.

      Lift tickets are well-priced and you can save up to 25% when booking multi-day tickets. 

      4. Whitefish Mountain, Montana

      whitefish-mountain

      Lift ticket: $89

      Located near Glacier National Park, Whitefish Mountain is a year-round scenic resort. Whitefish also offer discounts with multi-day passes and children under 6 skis for free resulting in some great savings.

      The 3000 acres ski area allows for huge amounts of variation and exploring and prides itself on its friendly staff and great value.

      HomeToGo’s 2022 found Whitefish to be one of their top most affordable ski accommodation at an average of only $55.48 per person per night.

      5. Sugar Mountain, North Carolina 

      1. sugar mountain

      Lift ticket: $50-$84

      Sugar Mountain offers the cheapest lift ticket by far at $50-$84 and $26 for night skiing, and they only get cheaper in March! The resort run March Madness where you can get a full day of skiing for just $38.

      Key Takeaway: Sugar Mountain is a small town resort but has plenty of things to do, the outdoor ice rink and alpine rollercoaster are great for keeping the kids entertained and the winery and breweries will be sure to keep the adults entertained.

      It’s not the most snowsure resort but the sporadic snowfall can be preferred by families with small children.

      6. Cranmore, New Hampshire 

      Cranmore
      Photo by Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

      Lift ticket: $89-$109

      Setting up for its 85th ski season, Cranmore is a short 2.5h drive from Boston and offers family-friendly, sunny, south-facing slopes. It’s a small resort with 9 lifts, 200 acres of terrain, and no double black diamonds which draws families to the resort.

      Beginner skiers can get a super cheap lift ticket for the beginner’s chairlift for $19 a day Tuesday to Thursday and $39 Friday through Monday. It’s also got an awesome tubing park for kids and adults. 

      7. Red Lodge Mountain, Montana

      Skier and Snowboarder

      Lift ticket: $69

      Red Lodge Mountain is a small ski resort with a diverse mix of terrain and caters to all skiing levels. The resort explains itself to be pure and simple skiing, favoring great skiing and people over the glamour of other resorts.

      At $69 the lift ticket is among the cheapest in the country and they’ve got even more deals to reduce costs further.

      Their Learn 4 Life program is exclusively for first-timers and includes 4 lessons, lift tickets, and rentals for $299. Upon completing the program, the recipient also gets a completely free season pass for the rest of the season. You can’t get much more affordable than free!

      Most Affordable US Ski Resorts Map

      Final Thoughts

      Depending on your preferences, and bank balance, there’s a resort for everyone. The most expensive ski destinations in the US will offer great skiing with all the added extras to make your time unforgettable, but the same could be said for the more affordable resorts too!

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