Affordable US Ski Resorts to Hit this Winter

From Breckenridge, Colorado, to Powder Mountain, Utah, here’s where to hit the slopes without putting too deep a dent in the bank balance

Avoiding the slopes because the price of a ski trip makes you feel a little bit faint? Snap. When you tot it all up - chalet, equipment, clothes, lift passes, dinner and enough pocket money for après adventures - whizzing down a few runs over the winter can quickly become a rather expensive hobby.

Head beyond North America's glitziest snow haunts, though, and you'll find a fair few mountain destinations offering high-altitude holidays at prices that won't make you dizzy. They may not have the booze-fuelled après scene of Aspen, or the Moncler-clad crowds of Deer Valley, but that's all part of the laid-back allure. From Colorado to New Mexico, these budget US ski resorts offer mountains of fun without a sky-high price tag.

On-piste, on-budget: the most affordable US ski resorts

Grand Targhee, Wyoming

Best for: powder obsessives

Skip the visiting Kardashians and million-dollar log cabins of Jackson Hole; neighbouring Grand Targhee offers small-town vibes, home-cooked meals and cute independent chalets. Don't let the unassuming offering deceive you, though - this is a top-class ski resort. With over 12m of snowfall a year, the fresh powder count kicks its A-list neighbour's - at 25 per cent less - to the kerb. Ski south towards Peaked Mountain for immaculately groomed slopes, which, on a clear day, promise views over the Grand Teton.

Breckenridge mountain

Breckenridge, Colorado

Best for: canny pro skiers

Beginners beware: Breckenridge Mountain Resort is known for its notoriously devilish downhills, with over 50 per cent of its ski trails made up of single or double black diamond runs. For those confident on their skis, however, this five-mountain town really delivers. The flat fee for all-day slope access to the resort's 155 runs comes in at a pretty modest £150, including lift fees (although, if you're planning multiple trips, we'd recommend buying yourself an annual Epic Pass, allowing access to slopes across the US, and costing from just £700). The town itself - all Wild West architecture cloaked beneath snow drifts - is home to The Bivvi Hostel, where rooms are brightly decorated and represent great value for money. Another bonus? It's just five minutes from the chairlift that will take you up to Peak 10's rugged terrain and multi-mogul downhills.

Read more about Breckenridge, Colorado

Ski Apache, USA

Ski Apache, New Mexico

Best for: sun-seeking freestylers

Did someone say warm-weather skiing? We're in. Some 300km south of Albuquerque, in the Sierra Blanca Mountains, the most southernmost ski resort in the US promises good snow, blue skies - and burnt noses (so pack that Supergoop sunscreen). Half-day lift tickets cost just £44 during the week, providing access to 55 runs, of which most are intermediate level. Keen to practise your Eileen Gu freestyle? Head to the terrain park for jumps, tubes and rails. The condos at nearby Ruidoso River Resort are basic but budget-friendly - and you'll get a discount if you show your Ski Apache pass when paying.

Mount Bachelor Ski Area

Mount Bachelor, Oregon

Best for: savvy snowboarders

Move over, Aspen and Vail. Despite having some of the best snowfall in the Cascades, the Pacific Northwest's largest ski area is something of state secret. Portland powder hounds head up here to tackle 101 named runs, which - thanks to ancient lava flows - roll over gullies and into wind lips, making for a frisky downhill descent. Snowboarders should head to the advanced trails, which weave between old-growth forests and down subalpine bowls.There's no on-resort lodging; instead, bed down at LOGE Bend, a laid-back motel equipped with ski lockers, hammocks in bedrooms and an outdoor Jacuzzi in which to soak sore ski legs.

Bristol Mountain, New York

Best for: economical NYC escapees

New Yorkers wanting to let loose on the slopes have been heading to upstate Bristol Mountain since 1964 - and the prices at this Finger Lakes resort haven't budged much since then. A £53 day pass gives plenty of bang for your buck, offering access to 39 well-maintained runs that cater to nursery-slope novices and black diamond beasts alike. The small scale of the resort works in its favour; it's the perfect high-mountain retreat for urbanites seeking snow, ski and schnapps. A resort-wide night ski scene ensures extra hours on the slopes (at no extra cost), too. Back at base, swap happy hour for Belgian waffles smothered in local maple syrup at Morning Star Café, then retreat to the 1795 Acorn Inn.

Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

Best for: indie-loving daredevils

Albuquerque meets the Alps in this sun-soaked ski valley cocooned by the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Powder hounds will want to lay fresh tracks at Kachina Peak or chase chutes down Honeysuckle - the valley's longest downhill. Al's Run, meanwhile, is a daunting introduction to Taos skiing - if you've only just mastered parallel turns, you might want to sit this one out and head to award-winning The Bavarian Restaurant instead. Thankfully, it's just the slopes that are steep in Taos; Pilsner and bratwurst prices in its myriad eateries and watering holes have stayed low. New lifts, an airline and an 80-room hotel at the base (called The Blake) have elevated the resort's offering in recent years, but prices remain competitive and ski lift prices are still low. Swerve The Blake and check into the less beautiful but less pricey Taos Valley Lodge.

Skier, USA

Powder Mountain, Utah

Best for: nostalgic snow bunnies

Pow Mow flies under the radar for most US skiers, despite offering the largest skiable terrain in the whole of the US. Crowds are kept to a minimum via a closely controlled release of just 1,500 lift tickets a day - so don't worry about sliding into any fellow skiers when you hit one of the 154 mountain runs. The quiet slopes add to the chilled-out atmosphere - lifts are old-school and there's very little in the way of nightlife or slopeside dining. Keeping it basic keeps the ticket prices down, so if you're looking for a low-key, straight-to-the-slopes ski experience, this is where to find it.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Best for: hardcore hair-raisers

A world away from Aspen, Crested Butte bills itself as "Colorado's last great ski town". The downtown area looks like the front of a Christmas card, lifts remain relatively empty even in peak season, and 80 per cent of its 121 trails are suited to intermediate skiers. The rest? They're reserved for hardcore hair-raisers looking to race down 900m vertical drops. Après is best enjoyed at Montanya Distillers - which makes its own small-batch rum from Louisiana-grown sugar cane - followed by a burrito (ideal post-mountain fodder) at Bonez. Staying in The Lodge at Mountaineer Square means you won't have to lug your kit more than a few metres; it's right on the Red Lady lift's doorstep.

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