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Cheap skiing in Colorado

All prices listed as of November 30. 2018. This post may contain affiliate links.

Family ski days on a budget in Colorado

Here they are: smaller, cheaper Colorado ski resorts perfect for families!

Whether you are driving in from out-of-state, or just planning on skiing a few days this winter, don’t overlook the ski hills and resorts talked about here.

With average prices for adult lift tickets at bigger ski resorts like Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, and Keystone hovering around $100-140 per day (a smidge cheaper with multi-day passes), families on a budget are wise to consider nearby small resorts where the skiing is just as good and you won’t lose each other on the mountain.

But first, be advised on the best way to get the best price on lift tickets. Please note that adult, teen, junior, and/or child prices are available with age delineations differing at each ski resort.

Follow these guidelines when buying lift tickets for any ski resort:

  • Buy in advance to get the lowest price guarantee.

  • Booking online ahead of time will often save you money and you’ll skip the lines!

  • Skiing 3 or more days on the same mountain? Save money by buying a multi-day pass instead.

  • Purchase 7+days in advance for the biggest savings.

  • Keep in mind, some resorts offer teen/youth prices, and/or child lift ticket prices. Senior discounts are amazing, so bring Grandma and Grandpa along too!

  • Currently active duty in a branch of the military? Fantastic discounts for you and your family.

Here’s 10 budget-friendly places to ski and snowboard in Colorado:


Monarch (Salida, CO)

Great family skiing at nearly half the cost of the big ski resorts in Colorado. This family-friendly ski mountain is just up the road from Salida, Co, and about 30 minutes from my favorite little mountain town Buena Vista.

Lift tickets for adults are $64 with teens at $49 and children at $32. There’s a tubing park too!

If you are an REI member, buy 2 adult passes online or in person at REI for just $108.

Also check out for last minute prices.

Arapahoe Basin (Keystone, CO)

Arapahoe Basin is known for a longer ski season than most resorts in the Colorado Rockies, often staying open until early June, and sometimes even early July. Most other ski areas close in early April.

With lift tickets sold online as low as $53 for adults, $41 for youth, and $24 for a child to experience fantastic skiing, you can’t pass this place up. Purchase A-Basin lift tickets here.

Crested Butte (Crested Butte, CO)

This sweet old mining town known for spectacular fall foliage, is also well known for family ski getaways. While the resort is known for its extreme skiing, beginners will also enjoy skiing at Crested Butte. Their number of well-groomed, easy terrain that's simple and safe to access is one Crested Butte’s top qualities.

Lift tickets are around $76 for an adult and $44 for a child. Book online here.


Howelsen Hill (Steamboat Springs, CO)

North America’s oldest operating ski area, Howelsen Hill is run by the City of Steamboat Springs. Since 1915, it has sent more skiers to international competition than any other area in North America.

Howelsen Hill has the biggest and most complete natural ski jumping area in North America and has trained up nearly 90 Olympians. You might just bump into an Olympian while you’re there.

The cheapest lift tickets around: adults pay only $25, youth at $15, and a child just $8 for a one-day lift ticket. During the season, tickets can be purchased at the concession stand, the Winter Sports Club office on the 2nd floor of the Howelsen Hill Lodge, and at the vending machine located inside the Fireplace Room on the first floor of the Howelsen Hill Lodge. 

Learn more about Howlsen Hill here.

Silverton Mountain (Silverton, CO)

“Steep and deep!” Silverton Mountain in southwest Colorado is served by one ski lift and is meant for advanced or expert skiers only. So consider this a place to go with your adventurous, thrill-seeking teenagers who ski or snowboard.

Guided and unguided skiing available on ungroomed terrain. One day of unguided skiing will run you $79 in 2019. Obviously, guided skiing runs higher. Note: Unguided skiing runs from March 21- April 14 in 2019. More unguided information here.

Heli drops happen here too. That’s right! You can be dropped off by a helicopter for some of the most magnificent, ungroomed skiing in all of North America.

Hesperus Ski Area (Durango, CO)

Another southwest Colorado ski mountain, but this one just minutes from downtown Durango, the smaller Hesperus Ski Area offers 26 trails on 60 skiable acres, with 150 inches of annual snowfall.

Well known for night skiing and riding, Hesperus also allows SkiBikes, and offers tubing too. Lift tickets at Hesperus run just $39 per adult, $33 per teen, and $28 per child.


Purgatory (Durango, CO)

Also near Durango, lies Purgatory Ski Resort. Lodge at the resort and ski in and ski out to your heart’s content. Snatch cheap lift tickets online as cheap as $35 during the week. (At the ticket window, you’ll pay $89 per adult, $70 per teen, and $60 per child).

Purgatory offers 99 trails, including 5 terrain parks, 88 trails and 12 lifts, including one six-person and one high speed quad lift. Learn more here.

Want a break from skiing? Take a ride on the Inferno Mountain Coaster! Alpine sliding in the winter? Sign me up!

Granby Ranch (Granby, CO)

“Less driving, more skiing!” Just 90 minutes from Denver, this family-owned ski resort was created for all abilities and ages, but especially with families in mind.

The best part: all of the trails begin at the same point and end at one base. This easy layout helps families ski to their level and easily meet back at one location.

Adult lift tickets run no more than $84/day, juniors are $49, and children ages 0-5 are FREE! Cross-country and snow-showing options available at Granby Ranch too.


Cooper (Leadville, CO)

Not to be confused with Copper Mountain, Cooper is found in the sweet little mountain town of Leadville sits above 10,000 feet, so Cooper Ski Resort offers some of the best elevated, affordable skiing in the Rockies.

With views of fourteeners, and within close proximity to Vail, Cooper manages to provide excellent family skiing without draining your wallet dry.

Here’s the deal: Adults ski one full day for just $58, a child ages 6-14 for just $35, and ages 5 and under ski FREE. See for yourself here.

Loveland Ski Area (Dillon, CO)

Also not far from Denver and sitting above 10,000 feet, Loveland Ski Area has 10 lift chairs. Just outside the town of Georgetown, Colorado before the Eisenhower Tunnel in the Arapahoe National Forest, this ski area has cheap lift tickets too.

At the window, you’ll pay $65-79 for an adult ticket, $31-34 for a child, while ages 5 and under are FREE. Learn more here.


Liftopia for great deals on lift tickets!

Liftopia is your one-stop shop for great deals on lift tickets for all the ski places I mentioned above, plus more in Colorado, North America, and all over the world.

“The best ski resorts in one place. Purchase lift tickets in advance and save.”


Ski and Snowboarding Equipment Rental Tip

Ski and snowboard equipment rental tend to be much more expensive on the mountain or at the resort. Look up a local outfitter in the town closest to the ski resort for better prices on equipment rental.

Planning a ski trip to Colorado soon? Which family-friendly ski resort are you looking forward to checking out next? Let us know below!