The 15 Most Affordable Ski Resorts for Family Vacations

Chase powder dreams on a budget with these unbeatable ski resorts for families.

Sunset in winter landscape in mountains Julian Alps
Updated May 28, 2024
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Skiing is not a cheap hobby, thanks to the many costs that come with it: equipment, lodging, lift tickets, and ancillary vacation costs. 

That being said, some resorts are making extra efforts to be inclusive for their clientele — including those on a budget.

We did the math for day pass lift tickets and nightly accommodations. So grab your best travel credit card and check out these ski resorts that are just as enchanting as they are affordable for families.

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Belleayre Mountain: Highmount, New York

Courtesy of Belleayre belleayre mountain in highmount, new york

Tucked in the famous Catskill Mountains, this resort is great for families who love skiing intermediate trails without the crowds.

A lift ticket will cost adults $104, teens (13-19) $79, and juniors (7-12) $64. Kids 6 and under only cost $10.

Belleayre recommends a variety of lodging options, but the Cold Spring Lodge & Cabins 10 minutes away blend convenience and affordability; accommodations typically start at around $150 per night.

Brian Head Resort: Brian Head, Utah

Courtesy of Brian Head Resort brian head resort in brian head, utah

Kids under 12 ski for free at this resort in Southern Utah, which is known for powdery snow and red rock views.

Lift tickets for adults start at $29, though they can jump to $83 during peak times.

A night at the Brian Head Resort in a double queen room starts at $100.36, and you may qualify for additional discounts.

Bridger Bowl: Bozeman, Montana

Courtesy of Bridger Bowl bridger bowl in bozeman montana

Located just outside Bozeman, this resort has terrain ranging from beginner to serious expert only in the beautiful Gallatin National Forest.

Lift tickets for adults cost $77, Juniors (13-17) $48, and children (7-12) $35. Pre-schoolers are free if you buy online.

There’s no on-site hotel, but there are plenty of affordable accommodations (starting at just under $100 a night) in nearby Bozeman, about 20 minutes away.

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Chestnut Mountain: Galena, Illinois

Courtesy of Chestnut Mountain chestnut mountain in galena, illinois

Kids six and under get a free lift ticket at this Illinois resort, which may be small but is also fun for the whole family.

Everyone else will pay $80 for weekends and holidays, $50 during the week, and $45 on select Fridays.

Expect to pay about $224 (between $119 and $319 depending on dates) per night at the Chestnut Mountain Resort for a double queen room.

Devil’s Head: Merrimac, Wisconsin

Courtesy of Devil's Head Resort devil’s head in merrimac, wisconsin

This glacier-formed resort in Southern Wisconsin is tucked into the Baraboo Bluffs and always promises to have snow on the ground.

Adults and juniors pay $92 and $82 on weekends/holidays for lift tickets, $82 and $72 mid-week, and $40 at night. Kids under 6 are free.

Four nights in a double room at the Inn costs $667.16, about $167 per night.

Donner Ski Ranch: Norden, California

Courtesy of Donner Ski Ranch donner ski ranch in norden california

Despite its famous location, This Lake Tahoe resort prides itself on being affordable.

True to its word, lift tickets are $109 for adults, $99 for youth (13-17), $59 for children (6-12), and $29 for kids on regular days. Some weekdays may be cheaper.

The Best Western in nearby Truckee starts at $200 a night for a double queen room, a good deal for the area.

Hunter Mountain: Hunter, New York

Courtesy of Hunter Mountain hunter mountain in hunter new york

Everyone in the family can enjoy this resort in the Catskills, which has skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.

Buy online, and lift tickets cost adults $103 and children (7-17) $78 on weekends. Prices drop to $89 and $68 on weekdays. Kids under seven are free.

On-site lodging is on the pricey side, but there are a variety of affordable hotels and rentals within driving distance, starting at around $100 per night.

Magic Mountain: Londonderry, Vermont

Courtesy of Magic Mountain magic mountain in londonderry vermont

Located in picturesque Vermont, this ski resort brands itself as the cheapest in the state and has 1,500 feet of vertical slopes or more.

If you buy your lift tickets online, adults pay $89, and youth (6-17) pay $79. Kids under five are free.

You can stay at the affordable Upper Pass Lodge at the base of the mountain; a family suite costs start at about $150 per night.

Mohawk Mountain: Cornwall, Connecticut

Microgen/Adobe male skiing instructor wearing protective gear teaching little boy to skii in snow

If you don’t mind 95% manufactured snow, this resort has trails for most skill levels. Sorry, there are no double diamonds.

Lift tickets for adults and juniors on holidays cost $77 and $67, respectively, and $42 on weekends/holidays. Kids cost $25 and $20, respectively.

Mohawk Mountain recommends the family-friendly Cornwall Inn for lodgings, with double rooms starting at just over $200 per night.

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Nub’s Nob: Harbor Springs, Michigan

Scott Bufkin/Adobe Skiiers on mountain

Nub’s Nob might be small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in great skiing.

Adults pay $102 for weekend lift tickets, teens (13-19) $85, and kids (9-12) $72. Prices drop to $48-$65 on weekdays. Children eight and under are free.

The Best Western in Harbor Springs costs only $143.73 per night for a double queen room. It’s a five-minute drive to the slopes.

Schuss Mountain: Bellaire, Michigan

Courtesy of Schuss Mountain schuss mountain in bellaire

Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort gives families low rates on skiing and tubing on a variety of terrains.

A weekend day on the mountain costs $93 for adults, $81 for teens (13-17), and $70 for juniors (9-12). Prices drop to $70, $65, and $55 on weekdays. Kids are always $6.

There are a variety of lodgings at Shanty Creek Resort, with prices starting at $195.50 per night.

Ski Apache: Mescalero, New Mexico

Courtesy of Ski Apache ski apache in mescalero new mexico

Yes, not only is there great skiing in New Mexico, but it’s also affordable at this resort that gets over 15 feet of snow every year.

Adults pay $125 on weekends, and kids (6-12) pay $114 for a lift ticket. On weekends, adults pay $110, and kids pay $80. Children five and under ride free.

Ski Apache recommends staying at the Inn of the Mountain Gods seven miles away. Rates start at a reasonable $129 per night.

Sugarloaf Mountain: Carrabassett Valley, Maine

Courtesy of Sugarloaf sugarloaf mountain in carrabassett valley

This ski resort is the biggest in Maine, family-friendly, popular with locals, and packed with amenities.

Lift tickets for adults cost an average of $122 on weekends, $95 for teens (13-18), and $86 for juniors (6-12). Prices drop about $20 to $30 during the week, and kids under six are $5.

There are a variety of on-site lodgings; your best bet is to book a condo, and rates start at $291.33 per night.

Taos Ski Valley: Taos, New Mexico

Courtesy of Taos Ski Valley taos ski valley in taos

The secret to affordable skiing at this legendary resort with all the amenities and oodles of double diamonds is booking three days in advance.

Adults will pay $95 for a lift ticket (saving $100!), youth (7-17) $75 (half off), and younger kids are always free.

The on-mountain lodgings are not cheap, but you can save by booking a hotel in Taos 20 minutes away. Rates start at just over $100 a night.

Whitefish Mountain: Whitefish, Montana

Courtesy of Whitefish Mountain whitefish mountain in whitefish

Beat the crowds at this resort west of Glacier National Park with 3,000 acres of trails to enjoy.

Whitefish prides itself on affordability; adults pay $97 for lift tickets, teens (13-18) $83, juniors (7-12) $49, and kids six and under are free. Buy your tickets two days in advance for 10% off.

On-site lodging for four starts at $195.20 per night for a unit with a double bed and a sleeper sofa.

Bottom line

Oksana Perkins/Adobe ski mountain

Don't let the price tag deter you from a magical family ski vacation. By choosing budget-conscious destinations and exploring package deals that bundle lodging and other expenses, you can turn a dream into reality. 

So, research family-friendly resorts, compare prices, and don't forget to grab your favorite travel credit card to earn travel rewards for your next trip. 

With a little planning, you can score a slopeside steal and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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Cat Lafuente

Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.