This winter, there is no better way to beat the winter blues and absorb some of that valuable–and rare–Vitamin D than on the slopes soaking up the sun and good times. You’ll also be refining your balance and eating adrenaline while looking out over the majestic white scenery that only winter provides.
However, nothing dampens an amazing day on the slopes like pricey lift tickets and long wait times. This is why smaller ski areas are a good option for keeping you stoked while also keeping some money in your pocket! Here are five benefits that you will enjoy when you visit a smaller, and perhaps lesser-known ski area:
1. Overall, you’ll find that smaller ski areas are often significantly more affordable than large resorts, and offer their own unique ski and ride experiences. Not only that, but supporting smaller “ma and pop” places encourages businesses that are run for years within families for the sheer love of the sport. These skiers and riders live and breathe mountain sports, for generations in some cases, and knowing the terrain and conditions are second nature.
2. In addition to their cheap prices, smaller ski areas often offer many deals throughout the season, including half-off day passes, two-for-one deals, and even occasionally free skiing if you buy through certain local companies. As just one example, you can enjoy four beautiful days at Ski Cooper in Leadville, Colorado for $109 on an XP Pass. How can you possibly beat those prices at the more popular resorts?
3. The ski areas that run off of local contributions and promote local business often have a much “homier” feel to them, meaning that the people who work there are working for the love of it, rather than bragging rights. What better opportunity to make awesome new friends than in the local ski area?
4. Smaller “ma and pop” ski areas are not only cheaper, but are also often much less busy than big, popular resorts. This means no waiting in those long lines at the ski lifts. Imagine flying down the ski slopes and getting right back on the lift to look out over the beautiful view. Yes, please!
5. Finally, with as many small ski areas as there are out there, researching smaller resorts as options for your annual ski trip can lead to you and your friends’ own discovery of unique, unadulterated mountain towns complete with cheaper lodging, dining, and nightlife than popular resort ski areas. Often these small-town resorts bring unexpected delights that not many people know about.