These cheap ski resorts won’t break the bank for a day of fun.
If you ski more than a handful of times a season, the math usually shakes out this way: it’s cheaper to buy a season pass. But those passes come with a hefty up front price tag. There are countless reasons folks might not jump for those massive ski passes; whether it’s being unsure of how much time you’ll have to ski, or breaking into the sport and not even knowing if you’ll like it all that much. Whatever the reason, you deserve to ski affordably. Thankfully, plenty of independent resorts here in Colorado still prioritize making skiing possible for more folks. Take a look at some of the cheap ski resorts in Colorado that still offer plenty of powder, in a low-key, low stress environment. It’s a win-win.
Sunlight Mountain, Glenwood Springs — $59-$82
Just down the hill from the luxurious Aspen Snowmass resorts, lives local’s favorite Sunlight Mountain. With a little something for everyone, Sunlight provides great bang for your buck with the terrain. There’s plenty of green and blue terrain for beginners and budding intermediates, with a ton of steeper chutes and glades for those looking for more challenging terrain.
Being further down the road on I-70 from the Front Range and overall a little quieter than other resorts, the snow at Sunlight sticks around a bit longer. That means more snow to play in, even if you can’t take a trip up there until further out from a storm. Well worth the extra drive, if you ask us. The range of ticket pricing just depends on when you visit, with higher prices on peak season, holiday weekends, and lower prices during the off-season or weekdays.
Powderhorn Mountain Resort, Mesa — $79/$89
For our friends based on the Western Slope, Powderhorn Mountain Resort is a local, independent ski area. Powderhorn offers a range of terrain for a variety of skiers, and is easy to access from the Grand Junction area. With prices topping out at just under $90 for holiday tickets, Powderhorn is one of the cheapest places to ski in Colorado during the holiday season.
To top it off, Powderhorn has a sweet program for first time skiers or snowboarders. Their Bob Beverly Learn to Ski or Ride program is completely free for people who have never ridden before. With rentals included, and a free lift ticket to the entry level lift, there’s not a better way to get someone out on the slopes for the first time.
Loveland Ski Area, Georgetown — $99/$119
A Powder7 staff favorite, Loveland lives right off I-70 just before the tunnel and Loveland Pass. That means quick access off the main intestate and less traffic. Their single day lift ticket prices are a bit steeper than others on this list (buy in advance to save a good chunk of cash), but they still offer one of our favorite deals in the state with the Loveland Four Pack. Four lift tickets to be used whenever you want, with no blackout dates, all for $229. That makes each day under $60 bucks! Ideal for folks who are skiing other mountains most of the time, or just make it up for a handful of days.
One other amazing part about Loveland, is the two ski areas. The Basin is the main area with the majority of terrain, with the Valley just down the street. Loveland Valley is a completely separate area just for beginners or kiddos. Without speed demons racing down the runs while you’re trying to work on your technique, you can ski comfortably and confidently. The bonus? A Loveland Valley ticket is just $50 for adults, and $30 for kids 6-14.
Wolf Creek Ski Area, Pagosa Springs — $85/$95
It’s no secret: we love Wolf Creek. The entire Powder7 staff takes an annual pilgrimage to Wolf Creek every winter in an effort to find the best powder of the season. Wolf Creek owns the claim to the “Most Snow in Colorado”, and always delivers the goods. If you consider snow totals in your lift ticket cost, Wolf Creek is probably the lift ticket with the best value around.
Wolf Creek has an amazing vibe for families, newer skiers and riders, or anyone who likes to ski. A huge variety of terrain offers steeps for advanced skiers, to rolling greens/blues, to mellow glades perfect for those looking to explore a little more. If you’re looking for a quiet ski vacation to spend quality time with your friends and fam, it’s hard to beat Wolf Creek.
Monarch Mountain, Salida — $69-139
Right off of Monarch pass, lives Monarch Mountain. It’s a smaller hill compared to some of the major resorts off I-70, but still offers incredible terrain. Monarch offers beautiful glades and killer scenery of the peaks around you. A relatively quiet mountain with mostly local traffic, Monarch feels like your best friend you’re comfortable hanging around in sweats and eating ice cream with. There’s a big range in ticket pricing depending on what time of year you go, but purchasing online lets you save up to 40% off. At just under $70 bucks, Monarch brings some of the best pricing to the table for early season skiing.
Another sweet deal Monarch offers is their Pass Migration ticket. Just like it sounds, if you show your season pass to another mountain or conglomerate Monarch isn’t partnered with, you get a $64 lift ticket offer! The idea being, you’ll have so much fun at Monarch, you might just migrate your pass on over to a Monarch season pass or the Mountain Collective.
Echo Mountain, Idaho Springs — $58/64
Echo Mountain owns the claim to the closest ski area to Denver, and also one of the cheapest places to ski in Colorado. With a pretty limited amount of terrain, Echo is not where you would go as an advanced skier for a full day of skiing. But it is great for folks breaking into the sport who just want an easy to access ski area that won’t break the bank. And if skiing isn’t everyone’s thing, they also offer tubing. Our second favorite winter sport.
While night skiing is pretty common in other places around the country, it is a little harder to find around Colorado. Luckily, Echo is one of the few resorts that offers night skiing around here (Keystone being the other). While the snow is usually on the firmer side, there’s nothing like sliding around on snow after hours under big lights. Echo also has a little bar at their base, so you can turn it into a whole night out.
Ski Cooper, Leadville — $60/$95
Tucked away up the hill from Leadville, Ski Cooper epitomizes the difference between an “ski resort” and a “ski area.” Cafeteria vibes, fun trails, easy access, and delectable simplicity—Cooper’s all about the skiing.
And while you may already know Cooper as a great place to learn or a great place to save money, get this: It also offers cat skiing on Chicago Ridge!
A word on their history, from the ski area’s website: “Cooper’s origin goes back to World War II. In 1942, the U.S. Army selected a training site near an isolated railroad stop of Pando, CO. Nearby Camp Hale was built as the training site for the ski troopers of the famed 10th Mountain Division. The Army selected the site because of the availability of rail transportation, its rugged mountainous terrain, and a 250-inch average annual snowfall which assured a six-month-long ski training season at the nearby, 11,700-foot-high Cooper Hill.”
Bonus Round: Snowy Range, WY — $49/$59
Alright, it is not in Colorado, but it’s close enough. Just outside of Laramie, Snowy Range is a small, family oriented mountain that serves up great value, especially for beginner/intermediate skiers. With a vast amount of green/blue terrain (with some black runs and a terrain park on the far side of the mountain to keep things spicy), Snowy Range is a great mountain to take beginners or your whole family. You’ll get the $50 ticket on weekdays or non-peak times.
As a student at CSU, my friends and I would take quick trips up to Snowy Range to capitalize on their cheap lift tickets and virtually non-existent lift lines. A weekend or peak season lift ticket costs just under $60 for adults if you buy ahead of time, with discounted pricing for teens and kids.
Looking to make the jump to a ski pass? Read up on our ski pass round up to make the best choice for you.