The best inexpensive ski areas

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 21-28, 1996
The best inexpensive ski areas
South America ski trips
Outdoor offerings in Sheridan, Wyoming
Denali Park: It's worth the permit hassles
Glacier Park's best hiking route
Mount Shasta mountaineering tips

The best inexpensive ski areas
Q: What are the best places in America to ski for the least amount of money?
Rob Taylor
Atlanta, GA
[email protected]

A: Try one of these powder-heavy, laid-back, easy-on-your-wallet alternatives to the usual Rocky Mountain mayhem.

Located about 16 miles north of Bozeman, Montana, on Highway 86, Bridger Bowl Ski Area has 2,000 feet of vertical, great intermediate glade skiing, and some of the gnarliest rock-strewn couloirs in the West. With 25 percent beginner terrain, 35 percent intermediate, 30 percent advanced, and 10 percent hike-in extreme skiing, Bridger has plenty to offer skiers of all levels. Despite the fact that ultra-funky Bozeman is only a 20-minute drive away, Bridger is blissfully crowd-free--thanks to a new quad that has increased lift capacity by 43 percent. For slopeside accommodations, rent a privately owned condo or opt for the low-key bed and breakfast alternative. Be aware that they only have 75 beds on the mountain, so most people stay down the road in Bozeman (the airport is just 10 minutes outside of town). Now for the best news: Lift tickets will set you back only $26 a day. For more information, call 406-587-2111.

If you're looking for an Alta-like experience minus the crowds, I recommend heading out to Snowbasin, Utah--about an hour and 15 minutes north of Salt Lake City. Snowbasin gets an average of 400 inches of revered Utah powder a year, and has more than 2,400 vertical feet and 1,800 acres of terrain--not to mention $26 lift tickets and a delightfully condo-free base area. Plan to bunk about 20 minutes away in low-profile Ogden: Rooms are cheap, comfortable, and easy to come by. If all this isn't enough to keep you here for a week, drive less than an hour down the road for budget-conscious day skiing at Alta, where lift tickets go for a mere $25. Call 801-399-1135 for Snowbasin information and 801-801-742-3333 for Alta, or check out "Rockies Resorts You've Never Heard Of" in our winter 1995-1996 Travel Guide.

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