A day on the slopes in New England can be quite an investment. Premier ski and snowboard destinations like Vermont's Stowe Mountain Resort—one of New England's most expensive ski areas—can cost an adult skier well over $100 a day. Ouch! This is a steep price to pay for the frugal enthusiast looking for a day or weekend trip.
Luckily, there are many options for the college student with limited funds, the parent with four snowboarding kids in tow, or a skier who simply wants to ski more days while paying less. Sure, in some instances, you may sacrifice amenities, but what you'll gain in return is in plenty of exhilarating runs and a wallet full of cash for the après. Stick to our list below while utilizing some budget travel tips to get the most bang for your buck.
Never think to ski in Rhode Island? You're not alone. The Ocean State isn't exactly known for high-altitude fun. Interestingly enough, little Rhody does have one lone ski area: Yawgoo Valley in Exeter. A 90-minute trip from Boston or a two-hour jaunt from Greenwich, Connecticut will earn you about a dozen downhill trails for beginner and advanced skiers and riders. Yawgoo Valley boasts two double chairlifts, two surface lifts, lighted night skiing, a snow tubing park, and 100% snowmaking capacity, making it a reliable spot for affordable winter fun.
2021 Adult Half-Day Weekend Lift Ticket Price: $45
Connecticut has more ski areas than you may realize, and one, Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort in Middlefield, Connecticut, has two distinctions. It's the only place to go tubing on synthetic snow in the summer and fall and it's the cheapest place to ski downhill in Connecticut once winter's here (there's winter snow tubing, too). Powder Ridge, also rents snowbikes: a cool alternative for those who do not ski. With slopes and terrain parks for all abilities and on-site dining at Fire at the Ridge, it's a complete destination for affordable winter fun.
2021 Adult Full-Day Weekend Lift Ticket Price: $49
Plan a weekend ski getaway to off-the-beaten-path Otis Ridge, located on the eastern edge of the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Otis Ridge, a destination since 1946 when it first opened with only a single black-diamond trail, now has 10 trails for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. You can still ski the original steep and curvy Ridge Run and it's cheaper (and more realistic) than building a time machine. After a day of shushing, or for a relaxing lunch break, enjoy slopeside dining and drinks at the Grouse House.
2021 Adult Full-Day Lift Ticket Price: $40
Maine dominates when it comes to cheap skiing, and one budget ski area, Mt. Jefferson, located in Lee, Maine caters to rugged Mainers and loyal local families, as it relies solely on all-natural snow (a rarity these days in the ski industry). Always call ahead to see if Mother Nature is being cooperative. And if she is, get ready for a throwback experience on 15 trails that range from a beginner to expert double black diamonds. Round off your day with snow tube park fun, complete with a rope tow.
2021 Adult Full-Day Lift Ticket Price: $25
Big Squaw hasn't changed much since the 1960s, and the locals are determined to keep it that way. When this ski area in Greenville Junction, Maine closed in 2010, loyal fans rallied together to form a non-profit, Friends of Squaw Mountain, aimed to keep classic New England skiing alive. For a price that's incredibly cheap, you'll find more skiing and facilities here than many budget options, including five miles of groomed cross-country trails. Feel stoked that your lift ticket purchase also supports Big Squaw's mission of keeping skiing and riding affordable for families.
2021 Adult Full-Day Lift Ticket Price: $30
Most of Vermont's big mountains come with big price tags. That is, except for Middlebury Snow Bowl in Hancock, Vermont. While the ski area is affiliated with Middlebury College, it's not just reserved for students. This family-friendly ski spot has 17 trails serviced by three chairlifts, plus 700 acres of open wooded skiing for those who like to play in the glades. Generations of national champions trained on this hill, making it suitable for even the best skiers and snowboarders. Additionally, 55 kilometers of groomed trails welcome skate and classic nordic skiers, snowshoers, and fat bikers. Middlebury's extensive snowmaking assures skiable conditions all winter long.
2021 Adult Full-Day Weekend Lift Ticket Price: $55
Magic Mountain in Londonderry, Vermont is no bunny hill. This historical resort, founded in the 1950s by Swiss skier Hans Thorner, is known for its 1,5000 vertical feet of narrow, twisting trails and gladed tree skiing. While the price tag isn't as cheap as some found on this list, for Vermont skiing, Magic is certainly a bargain. A fixed-grip quad and double chair service the upper mountain, with a fixed-grip double lending access to easier mid-mountain terrain, and a rope tow for the terrain and tubing park. Beginner skiers and young kids can enjoy a ride on the Magic Carpet as a no-stress way to get to the top of the run.
2021 Adult Full-Day Weekend Lift Ticket Price: $74
It's Ivy League skiing at a state school price! This ski area owned by prestigious Dartmouth College is located in Lyme, NH, 20 minutes north of the smallest Ivy's campus. Dartmouth Skiway is a training ground for national champions that is also open to the public. You may be surprised to find big mountain skiing in New Hampshire for nearly 50% less than you'd pay at one of New Hampshire's largest ski areas, Bretton Woods. With trails devoted to beginners, as well as challenging expert terrain, Dartmouth Skiway's 30 trails offer something for everyone in your family.
2021 Adult Full-Day Weekend Lift Ticket Price: $53
King Pine, part of Purity Spring Resort in East Madison, New Hampshire, is home to the longest-running kid's ski camp in the country. Owned and operated by the Hoyt family for five generations, this little hill uses three triple chairs, two rope tows, and one magic carpet to access fifteen ski trails, a terrain park, and a tube park. A separate trail system is accessible to snowshoers only with trails rated beginner to expert (for those who really want to sweat). Check out the Pine Cone Cafe for a quick bite to eat or the Trail's End Tavern for an après-ski beverage.
2021 Adult Full-Day Lift Ticket Price: $65
Black Mountain, another New Hampshire gem, is located in the heart of the White Mountain Valley and boasts spectacular views of Mount Washington from its 2,350-foot summit. Black Mountain's steep vertical drop serves up mostly expert terrain, with an occasional green trail leg break. Don't venture to the top on their Summit Double Quad unless you're an expert skier, as the only way down is by navigating black diamond trails. Recently, Black Mountain joined other trendy ski areas by offering uphill access for those wanting to skin, snowshoe, or split board up, and then ski or snowboard down.
2021 Adult Full-Day Weekend Lift Ticket Price: $62
Uphill Day Ticket: $10