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5 Awesome Ski Hills Under $50

Skiing is one of those great family activities that just about anyone can enjoy, but lessons, lift tickets, rentals and lunch at resort prices can quickly blow the family budget. Want to ski for cheaper? Here are five great, affordable ski hills worth checking out.

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Endless Powder without the Price

Ski and travel writer, Hilary Nangle, who’s written about skiing for SKI, Ski Press and Ski Snowboard America and Canada, points out the big pricey hills aren’t the only options, “My favourite family ski memories aren’t from the big resorts we visited, but the smaller hills. These are the essence of family skiing. The frills may be few, the lifts might be slow, but there’s less pressure to have the latest gear and trendiest garb or to have perfect form.”

Nangle explains that the emphasis at smaller hills is on affordable fun, not glitz. Smaller hills tend to be places that welcome new skiers and families-and because of this they offer more incentives, including stay and ski packages like the ones found through Bellstar resorts in BC and Alberta, or ski week specials such as Ontario’s Blue Mountain $39 lift tickets.

Other great deals can be found through Ski Canada-which offers discounted ticket bundles at the beginning of each year. And if you have school aged kids, don’t forget to check out the “kids ski free” deals in Canada and the US-these offer free ski and rental passes to kids in 4th and 5th grade.

Along with these great deals, here are five ski hills in Canada and the US that are family- and budget-friendly.

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1. Marble Mountain Resort, Corner Brook, Newfoundland

Lift Ticket: $49 ($15 for the beginners slope)
Stats: 1700 feet of vertical encompassing 37 runs, including a new novice run and an improved terrain park.

Newfoundland might be the last place to come to mind when you think skiing, but Marble Mountain has been a fixture in Corner Brook since the ski club was established in the 1930s. Since then the hill has grown into a beautiful resort-with a stunning post and beam lodge at the base, and runs with views that extend down the Humboldt River and out Humber Arm to the Bay of Islands. With trails for everyone from beginner to expert, this is a hill for the whole family. And it’s in Newfoundland, making it especially cool. (Photo credit: Alli Johnston)

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2. Homewood Mountain, Lake Tahoe, California

Lift Ticket: $42 when bought online
Stats: 1,650 Vertical Feet to explore, 7 Lifts and 60 Runs including two terrain parks.

This small resort offers big views of Lake Tahoe as well as a wide range of beginner and intermediate runs-from wide open groomed ones to bumps to tree runs. Less crowded and less well-known than some of the larger Tahoe resorts, such as Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, Homewood is recognized as a local’s mountain. Two bases (north and south) can make it confusing when it’s time to reconnect with your family, so be sure to orient yourselves before splitting up. (Photo credit: Matt Theilen)

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3. Camden Snow Bowl, Camden, Maine

Lift Ticket: $22 (Lesson, rental and lift ticket $50)
Stats: Four lifts serve the 850 feet of vertical that includes ten trails and a terrain park.

This community-owned ski and recreation area is located in a town better known as a summer destination for well-heeled yachties than a winter destination for budget-minded skiers. Nevertheless, there is great skiing here, as well as a toboggan chute (that’s home to the National Tobogganing Championships), a tubing park and ice skating on the pond. Since winter is off-season in Camden, hotel prices are a bargain. And of course, it’s Maine, so you can get lobster.

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4. Hudson Bay Mountain, Smithers, B.C.

Lift Ticket: $49
Stats: 36 runs on 1,750 vertical feet accessed by two t-bars and a chairlift.

Ski Smithers got more than a name change when the community hill started its transformation into Hudson Bay Mountain two years ago. The newly expanded and improved hill can be reached by plane, train or automobile. So you have no excuse to miss out on the Buckley Valley’s famous deep powder runs and big mountain views. Hudson Bay offers skiing and riding runs for the novice to expert and no lift lines. Lodging can be found nearby in the friendly alpine town of Smithers.

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5. Mont Saint-Sauveur, Saint-Sauveur, Quebec

Lift Ticket: $49
Stats: Eight lifts, 38 runs and one of the longest ski seasons in the Northeast.

Considered the birthplace of Quebec skiing, Saint-Sauveur became home to the first ski lift in the area in 1934 and installed lights for night skiing in 1976. This family-friendly hill continues to lead the way and has a wide range of runs, a tubing park, a sugar shack and an alpine roller coaster. Saint-Sauveur is just one of six area ski hills owned by MSSI. Multi-day passes let you check out the other mountains, and village events will keep you busy when you’re not on the slopes.