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Resort Guide 2023

The 10 Most Affordable Resorts in the West

We know that skiing is expensive. These 10 Western resorts at least give you a great bang for buck.

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When your passion happens to be a pricey pastime like skiing, finding ways to make it more affordable is key. Whether it’s free or cheap parking, simples lunch options that don’t make you balk, daily après deals, or lift tickets that just make sense, ski resort prices go a long way toward making us feel welcome—or nickel-and-dimed.

Resort Guide 2023: The Top 50 Resorts in North America

While there’s no way around the fact that skiing is a monetary commitment—especially with kids in tow—there are ski areas that do a good job of keeping it reasonable. These 10 resorts, voted the most affordable in the 2023 Reader Resort Survey, are a smart place to start.

Top 10 Ski Resorts in the West for Value

No. 10: Winter Park, Colo.

Score: 7.86
Other Strengths: Challenge, Family Friendly
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Grooming

Winter Park Value RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Winter Park)

What Readers Say

“Winter Park is a Colorado classic! This resort has some of the best dining options (there’s just so many) and has so many different runs. I also love that there are two sides to the resort which helps with overcrowding. This past year I think they got some of the best snow in Colorado and it kept coming well into May! I would recommend skiing here to anyone because there are very easy green runs for beginners but there are also great intermediate runs and expert/challenging runs.”

“Great mountain with many terrain options—excellent value for the price. Location couldn’t be better with either 1:45 min drive from DIA or the option of the Ski Train (exclusive to WP).”

Parts of Winter Park are simply fantastic. There are runs that are just perfect for my style of skiing—moderate bumps, nicely groomed steep slopes, above the tree-line bowls—but a good bit of the mountain is left as wild black-diamond moguls, just too expert and consistently challenging to be fun for a day of average skiing. A really good mountain that could be great if it were tamed just a bit more.”

No. 9: Alta Ski Area, Utah

Score: 7.96
Other Strengths: Challenge, Snow
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Après

Alta Value RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Alta Ski Area)

“Alta has been one of my favorite resorts for over 20 years. Best powder ever, excellent terrain, Season passes are a good value.”

“At Alta you always get exactly what you are looking for. The world’s best skier’s mountain. No one is going here for the après-ski or the lodging. Everyone feels like a local here.”

“It’s Alta. Duh. Greatest skiing in North America. The rest is irrelevant. If you have any energy for après (other than a beer at your lodge) or fine dining or anything other than skiing, you have utterly missed the point. I feel profoundly sorry for you.”

No. 8: Copper Mountain, Colo.

Score: 8.03
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Lifts
Weaknesses: Dining, Nightlife

Copper Value RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Copper Mountain)

What Readers Say

“Good variety of slopes for an advanced intermediate skier to enjoy and be challenged. The use of patrol to control faster skiers on the main trail is very commendable and appreciated.”

I love Copper! The terrain is great; the staff is so friendly, great visibility of ski patrol, great lodging and food options, easy to get to. The lift system is great. I would recommend it to all levels of skiers. Great for families and new skiers and has plenty of expert terrain. Wish there were a few more places open to grab dinner on the resort and wish there were a few more non expert-level glades to ski. I’ve been coming here for years with my family and the overall vibe, friendliness, ease of getting around, and great on mountain bars make it special!”

“The skiing is great—more options than most people realize. Plus, it’s an athletes’ mountain. Uphill skiing and fast tracks are bonus options as well to get in runs and beat the crowds.”

We love everything about Copper. The variety of terrain and keeping the level of difficulty separate. We are never bored even when we ski the same routine. We can always head toward a bowl or an area new to us.”

No. 7: Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho

Score: 8.09
Other Strengths: Local Flavor, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Access

Schweitzer Value RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Schweitzer Mountain Resort)

What Readers Say

It’s out of the way but Schweitzer and the town of Sandpoint are enjoyable and affordable. The conditions the one day I was there had dust on the crust and featured bulbs wherever it wasn’t groomed. Would love to hit it on a powder day.”

“The most amazing glades on a powder day, close to town, friendly locals, great terrain, super fun, better and lower cost food and drink options than other resorts.”

“Love Schweitzer! I love how much terrain there is, especially the trees. The steep trees are superb. The free bus service up that mountain road is also incredible, makes getting up there easy.”

No. 6: Lake Louise, Alb.

Score: 8.17
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Challenge
Weaknesses: Lodging, Nightlife

Lake Louise Value RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Lake Louise)

What Readers Say

“Gobs of ultra-light powder. Unparalleled views. Great terrain. Mountain layout makes accessing all terrain easy. Great vibe with stoked, friendly people everywhere. My favorite day skiing ever. Can’t wait to go back.

“Lake Louise is an iconic ski and hiking destination in Canada. It is located in Banff National Park which is Canada’s premier national park. The skiing here is only topped by the beautiful scenery. Lineups on weekdays are basically 5-10 minutes at most. The town of Banff has several hotels ranging in a variety of prices and the food is phenomenal.”

“The place is huge, well laid out, very wide variety of terrain and conditions, excellent staff, good parking/access. LOVE the Banff/Lake Louise shuttle bus service.”

No. 5: Banff Sunshine, Alb.

Score: 8.30
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Challenge
Weaknesses: Dining, Nightlife

Sunshine Value RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Banff Sunshine)

What Readers Say

“Banff Sunshine has jaw-dropping vistas and the most beautiful mountain ranges you could ever see while skiing. You’re literally on the continental divide between Alberta and British Columbia. Canadian hospitality is without peer. The scenery and the mountains the views are absolutely spectacular. There are more high-speed quads here than you can count. Many good options for food as well. Free shuttles to the ski areas from Banff are always appreciated.”

“Just 20 minutes from Banff and under two hours from Calgary. Great snow, endless terrain, and the longest ski season in North America.

No. 4: Grand Targhee, Wyo.

Score: 8.54
Other Strengths: Local Flavor, Snow
Weaknesses: Access, Nightlife

Targhee Value RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Grand Targhee)

What Readers Say

“Some of the best and most reliable snow anywhere. Not much super expert terrain but lots of variety and tons of black terrain that’s perfect for the frequent powder days you’ll have. Uncrowded slopes that you can ski powder on a day or two after a big snowstorm.”

“Incredible snow quality as the temps are very cold. Short lift lines, long runs, friendly staff, and great food make for a great experience.

“Grand Targhee is a really fun hill and when the snow is good, it’s great! Changes being made on the hill sound like they will really make it an even better hill. Small resorts really are the best bet in skiing as the vibe is always better than any of the giant resorts.”

No. 3: Arapahoe Basin, Colo.

Score: 8.77
Other Strengths: Challenge, Local Flavor
Weaknesses: Lodging, Nightlife

Arapahoe Basin Value RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Arapahoe Basin)

What Readers Say

“My favorite ski mountain. Great expert terrain, great value, and great experience for guests.”

“One of my absolute favorites as it is a skier’s resort. Love the parking lot vibe, staircases to expert terrain, exhibition run under the chair and of course, Pallavicini.”

“Extremely easy to get to, parking is free and close to the lift. A-Basin has experts-only terrain and greens that all filter to the same lifts. Dad and mom can go drop some chutes and the kids can rip some groomers.”

No. 2: Powder Mountain, Utah

Score: 8.78
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Local Flavor
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Après

Powder Mountain Value RG23
Powder Mountain – Ian Matteson (Photo: Courtesy of Powder Mountain)

What Readers Say

Great value and they limited the number of skiers per day.”

“Powder Mountain is as family friendly as it gets: staff is great, snow never gets skied out, the rental shop is great, and there is free parking.

“Powder Mountain is my home! It has been the most amazing place to improve my riding. The resort is never crowded (even at full capacity days), the vibe is always friendly and you can even find untracked powder a few days post storm. Pow Mow is special for so many reasons, my favorite resort!

No. 1: Whitefish Mountain Resort, Mont.

Score: 8.81
Other Strengths: Local Flavor, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Access, Nightlife

Whitefish Value RG23
(Photo: Courtesy of Whitefish Mountain Resort)

What Readers Say

“Has been my favorite resort since it was called Big Mountain. A little off the beaten track, not corporate, tons of locals and local flavor, and great skiing. Fog sucks but you get over it. Would recommend to anyone who likes to ski.”

“Please DO NOT come to Whitefish. Because, regardless of what type of skier or rider you are, you won’t want to leave. GO TO Bozeman.

“Whitefish is the best. The terrain, the town, the prices (cheap), and the staff. Haven’t found a better resort in the states that has is all and still has a vibe and remains independent.