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How to Beat the Crowds and Save at these Offbeat Ski Resorts

Luke Armstrong | Nov 3, 2021


This blog post was updated November 3, 2021.


Ski season has fallen upon us one fluffy flake at a time. While some folks are hunkering indoors under blankets waiting for spring, skiers and snowboarders don’t think the weather outside is frightful. They’re thinking about how a ski getaway would be delightful!

What’s not delightful about such a trip is the cost and the crowds. Lodging, gear rental, transportation, and lift passes all add up quickly, and   you don’t want your budget to melt before the snow! A great way to save money  and miss the crowds is to skip the name-brand resorts in favor of less famous mountains. Your budget will stretch further, and you’ll have more of the mountain to yourself. It pays to do your research — check for deals and promos. Sometimes it’s actually cheaper to leave the country for a ski trip.

Here are a few comparisons:

1. Beaver Creek Resort versus Vail   

My “Park Rat” friend Ray lives equidistant between Beaver Creek Resort and Vail Resort in Colorado. Because he works for a resort, he has the “golden lift ticket” and rides free in any resort in the state. Yet every season he finds himself passing up the runs of internationally known Vail for Beaver Creek.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Ray says. “Vail’s great, but on the Beaver Creek’s slopes I never have to wait long for the lift to enjoy them. Beaver Creek also gives clients free cookies. And what’s not to love about free cookies?”

So, pack an extra pair of wool socks and enjoy the runs the local ski bums are bombing down to get their free cookies.

2. Find Amazing Ski Resort Deals South of the Border

That’s right — it’s not all palm trees and beaches south of Texas. It’s also powder and gnar shredding!

Latin America boasts an impressive range of ski resorts. These are places where your passion for international travel and winter sports can meet up for lovely time.

There’s breathtaking Catedral Alta Patagonia in Argentina, famous for its tree skiing and powder (with 40 lifts and 1,500 skiable acres to boot)!

There’s a half dozen ski resorts in Chile to check out. And there’s my personal favorite, Monterreal in Mexico. Located 90 minutes from Monterrey, Monterreal is a charmingly quaint ski resort with postcard views of the Sierra Madre range.

For the price of a lift ticket at most U.S. ski resorts, Monterreal will provide you three days lodging in a cabin, a basket of fruit, a bottle of red wine, and a lift ticket — you’ll ski like a king! It’s also a short flight away from places like Puerto Escondido and Cancun. This makes it conceivable to plan a ski/beach trip combo in Mexico. Just don’t tell any of your friends if you manage to pull such an epic travel feat — jealousy can ruin a relationship!

3. Ski into Nature at Eagle Point Resort

In your ski daydreams, odds are it’s just you, the snow, and a majestic view. Eagle Point built their resort with the idea of providing clients with a place to, “reconnect with nature and with each other … interrupted only by your breath, or maybe some very distant laughter.”

Maybe that distant laughter is the sound of your kids having a blast. Or maybe it’s your spouse laughing for joy at how much money you saved. The price tag at Eagle Point won’t shave too much off your bank account, and kids under six ski free!


4. Ski Huff Hills in North Dakota

Wait a second, North Dakota is too flat to have a downhill ski resort, right? That’s what makes Huff Hills one of the most unexpected ski resorts to pop up in the country. Situated on perhaps the steepest downhill slope in the whole state, Huff Hills is a 40-minute drive from the Bismarck airport and offers an affordable, family-friendly environment for you to ski while beating the crowds.  

And if you enjoy cross-country skiing, most of the Peace Garden State transforms into a cross-country ski course in the winter.

5. Ski Red Mountain Resort in Canada

Not to be confused with the Red Mountain Resort in Utah, Red Mountain Resort in BC, Canada has affordable pricing and friendly Canadian staff.

Billing itself as the “last great, unspoiled resort,” Red Mountain is known for its short lines and awesome times. With 110 runs to choose from, covering almost 3,000 acres, this is a resort you’ll want to return to with friends. Just don’t tell too many people, we don’t want to spoil it — they’d have to change their tag line!

As with any sporting activity, remember to take care of yourself. Be prepared for winter travel (snow tires, winter survival kit in car, etc.) Be sure you have proper winter gear for conditions you could face on the slopes and follow the instructions of signs and staff.

With so much invested in a trip that depends on something as unreliable as the weather, trip protection insurance is a smart call for any ski trip. Seven Corners’ RoundTrip Choice plan offers a special benefit to protect your skip trip in the event of a cancellation or delay that occurs due to one of the plan's covered reasons.  You even have the option to protect your ski equipment by choosing optional Sports & Golf Equipment Rental coverage.

If you are traveling outside your home country, talk to a travel insurance specialist and protect yourself with a travel medical policy that covers accidents and illnesses that occur when you are traveling.

luke armstrong

About the Author

Luke Maguire Armstrong is the author of "The Nomad's Nomad." He has spent the last decade traveling, writing and designing, and funding philanthropic programs around the world.

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