Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Resort Guide 2022

10 Resorts in the West Where You Can Stretch Your Dollar

These resorts don't charge you an arm and a leg for the privilege of sliding on snow.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
40% off Season Streamings Sale
$1.14 / week*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Outside, Climbing, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Video: Learn to Bump with Plake and Backcountry Basics with Mike Hattrup
  • Access to the SKI Gear Concierge service
  • Access to the Warren Miller film library and first access to annual film tour
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+
Ski Mag

Print + Digital
50% Off Holiday Sale
$0.50 / week*

  • Annual subscription to SKI magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on SKImag.com
  • Ad-free access to SKImag.com
Join SKI

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Skiing is an expensive sport, no matter how you slice it. And that’s especially true if you’re sliding on snow out West. The ski resorts in this part of the country tend to be bigger and more difficult to get to, and that means skiers are forced to fork over more to take advantage of all that these resorts have to offer. But there are still some ski areas out West that sell lift tickets at reasonable prices, offer great lodging and ski school deals, and don’t charge you and arm and a leg for your morning coffee and breakfast burrito. According to SKI readers, these are those resorts. They may still not offer the cheapest lift tickets around, but readers have decided that these 10 Western resorts at least give you great bang for your buck.

10. Banff Sunshine, Alb.

Score: 8.18
Other Strengths: Grooming (#4), Snow (#5)
Weaknesses: Challenge (#18), Nightlife (#18)

Main Street in Banff, Alberta
(Photo: Courtesy of Banff Sunshine)

What Readers Say

“Perfect hill for beginners and experts. While the hill does not offer a ton of intermediate terrain, the extreme terrain (Delirium Dive and Wild West) at Sunshine is large enough to take weeks to fully explore, assuming every day is spent exclusively line searching. The sheer size and intensity of these areas guarantees the skier with fresh, extreme lines, even in the worst of droughts.”

“Their management has some really cool value days (such as dress up as a Star Wars character and get a $50 lift ticket). However, overcrowding is frequently a problem there.”

“Sunshine Village has nearly 100% natural snow, much superior to ski on then man-made snow. With the multiple mountain faces available they have runs suitable for nearly everybody from beginner to super-experts. Easily accessible from the world-class resort town of Banff, Sunshine easily has the best of everything for skiing and après skiing.”

9. Alta Ski Area, Utah

Score: 8.21
Other Strengths: Snow (#1), Challenge (#8)
Weaknesses: Nightlife (#31), Après (#30)

Alta Ski Area
(Photo: Christopher Whitaker)

What Readers Say

“Alta is a resort for skiers whose priority is skiing. It is my skiing home. There I learned ski technique, adventured with friends and with family, and gained confidence in it on any terrain. The word ‘skiing’ evokes a visceral and cellular reaction in my body; and Alta is the image in my brain that accompanies that sensation. Resort access is easy. And cost effective. As is true for most any Salt Lake valley resort. Caveat: Beware the lines of cars on weekends. On-resort lodging and dining are limited; go for other reasons. But options are near limitless in Salt lake valley, not resort-priced.”

“Great snow, great terrain, great prices.”

“Alta is the very last true skiers mountain. Not just because there are no boarders, but truly because it is everything a mountain needs to be. Its the home of everyone’s perfect ski dream: never crowded, always friendly, and the greatest snow on earth by the bucketful.”

8. Copper Mountain Colo.

Score: 8.25
Other Strengths: Lifts (#5), Access (#5)
Weaknesses: Nightlife (#24), Dining (#23)

Copper Mountain, Colorado
(Photo: Curtis DeVore)

What Readers Say

“1. The season pass pricing with kids, and the age at which a kid is still considered a kid, is fantastic at Copper. 2. It’s a 15-minute drive from my in-laws’ house. 3. It’s not a Vail resort, therefore it’s not as crowded and the food on the mountain costs half as much. 4. It has something for everyone. It’s family-friendly, but there’s enough terrain that could kill me to keep it interesting.”

“No fig-jammers, great value, and relatively easy to get to, which means inexpensive.”

“Surrounded by resorts owned by Vail Resorts, my old company, we don’t try to compete but being true to what Copper would like to be, the athlete’s mountain. Family-friendly, good price points, some memorable employees, and terrain that’s naturally separated.”

7. Snowbasin, Utah

Score: 8.26
Other Strengths: Lifts (#2), Service (#3)
Weaknesses: Lodging (#30), Nightlife (#29)

Snowbasin Resort Utah
(Photo: Courtesy of Snowbasin)

What Readers Say

“Snowbasin is one of the only resorts in Utah that still retains a local flavor and hasn’t been completely overrun/overpriced/oversaturated.”

“Closest to my home and best value for the money, plus Olympic-class runs.”

“This is my home resort. Unless I’m taking a ski vacation, this is my first choice. The food is great and an amazing value for a world-class resort, the terrain and lift system is some of the best I’ve seen, and the staff is over-the-top friendly.”

6. Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah

Score: 8.28
Other Strengths: Snow (#6), Access (#9)
Weaknesses: Dining (#30), Local Flavor (#30)

Solitude Mountain, Utah
(Photo: Sara Huey)

What Readers Say

“Solitude is one of the unknown jewels in Utah. It has steep, narrow runs, glades that keep powder and all kinds of interesting terrain. Love the area, but there is nothing around/near it so I stay in Salt Lake. Resort is never crowded except for some weekend days as well as during the end-of-year holidays. Great value for active-duty military or military retirees.”

“Great mountain. Low crowds and good value. Great conditions and terrain variety. Nice selection of on-mountain restaurants.”

“Perfect blend of family-friendly groomer and wicked in-bounds extreme terrain. Who can beat the Utah powder, really? The resort isn’t crowded, food and such are good and reasonable. Did I mention the skiing? The powder? Only downside is there is really no nightlife to speak of but then again you’re there for skiing and with the steeps, chutes, trees and cliffs, you’re too fried to party all night and be able to hit it again the next day.”

5. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, B.C.

Score: 8.5
Other Strengths: Snow (#7), Challenge (#7)
Weaknesses: Lifts (#31), Access (#31)

Revelstoke Challenge
(Photo: Ryan Creary)

What Readers Say

“We are all expert skiers in the family and had always heard great things about Revelstoke. When we finally got there it did not disappoint with amazing terrain that was both lift accessible and an easy hike to get to. The town has a great ski vibe with some wonderful bars and restaurants that are great value. Plus the locals are very friendly as well!”

“Long, long runs. Good value with the American dollar. Nice town with local flavor.”

“THE BEST SNOW YOU WILL EVER SKI! I’m not sure which is more diverse, the snow, the terrain, or the international presence? The sheer amount of vertical is enough to impress, but the international travelers who come here for that B.C. champagne powder is respect to the mountain itself. We made friends with people traveling from Japan who told us that they had never seen snow like ours; that’s a mighty big compliment.”

4. Taos Ski Valley, N.M.

Score: 8.8
Other Strengths: Challenge (#1), Local Flavor (#3)
Weaknesses: Access (#27), Nightlife (#23)

Taos Ski Valley, NM
(Photo: Claire Mylott)

What Readers Say

“This Denverite has discovered that Taos is a better experience than anything up I-70. It’s cheaper, better terrain, better conditions, better people, better for family, and a better drive than the for-the-masses resorts in Colorado.”

“Awesome resort with unpretentious feel, great snow, great value and excellent terrain.”

“The steeps, hike-to, and glades are world class. The base area, lifts, and on-mountain infrastructure continue to grow, improve, & enhance the experience. Taos is a B corp, they’re doing EVERYTHING with sustainability as an imperative and keeping true to a laid-back vibe. We don’t want another Vail or any other over-priced megaresort. We want killer skiing and riding with a community vibe about it. Taos is crushing it!!!”

3. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Colo.

Score: 8.88
Other Strengths: Challenge (#4), Local Flavor (#5)
Weaknesses: Family (#32), Lodging (#31)

Skier at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
(Photo: Casey Day)

What Readers Say

“Local vibe, beautiful scenery, less crowded and good value. On-mountain food is better than average, and there’s challenging terrain. Not a great place for beginners or small children.”

“Not a corporate feel like Vail Resort mountains. Very local old-school vibe and definitely a local’s mountain. I did not ski this year due to back surgery and they immediately credited the price I paid 100% to next year. Still fighting with Vail Resorts and had pass insurance. A-Basin has no lodging or nightlife after 6 p.m. except for special nights but is close to Keystone, Dillon and Silverthorne for nightlife and lodging.”

“It is probably missing some beginner stuff but it is the best resort for me with bumps, chutes, east wall open, above tree line skiing and cheap season passes.”

2. Whitefish Mountain Resort, Mont.

Score: 9.15
Other Strengths: Local Flavor (#2), Service (#4)
Weaknesses: Snow (#23), Lifts (#23)

Whitefish Mountain, Montana
(Photo: Courtesy of Whitefish)

What Readers Say

“Whitefish is beautiful and has varied terrain. I would recommend this resort to all types of skiers and especially families. The lift ticket prices are reasonable and the snow was great. Even during the pandemic it was nice.”

“Price, terrain, and future development is putting Whitefish on the map!”

“Whitefish is the best West skiing at the best price. Unbelievable powder, affordable on-mountain and in-town dining, beautiful surrounding area (Glacier).”

1. Loveland Ski Area, Colo.

Score: 9.48
Other Strengths: Access (#1), Local Flavor (#6)
Weaknesses: Lodging (#33), Nightlife (#33)

Loveland Ski Area, Colorado
(Photo: Liam Doran)

What Readers Say

“A skier’s ski area — definitely not a canned Vail or Alterra experience. Easy access to the slopes, variety of terrain, huge area, and cat skiing (in non-pandemic years). Oh, and free parking. Best value for the money in skiing.”

“It’s so warm and convivial as well as affordable. Must be one of the least expensive day tickets in the state, if not the nation. Very friendly, old-school vibe. And the local crowd is just that. Unpretentious, generally older folks for whom the vibe and congeniality is more important than anything else. Skiing is nice. Nothing too challenging. A big easy to intermediate hill. They do have a race training area that is renowned. Reminded me of VT in the 70s before base area villages were even a thing. If you want a mellow, affordable, no stress, no frills day that will leave you relaxed and peaceful, this is the place.”

“Great mountain for the price. I wish the lifts were upgraded to high speed, but appreciate it’s a tradeoff for the ticket price.”

Read More Top 10s in the West from our 2022 Reader Resort Survey: