7 ski areas you’ve never heard of and why you should visit them

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Cheap beer, affordable lift tickets, and filled with people who love skiing to their core, these seven ski areas are what skiing and snowboarding should be – fun.

Year after year, the annual ski resort listings recycle the same destinations, except in a rearranged order. Places like Aspen, Vail, Mammoth, or Whistler periodically rank first or near the top. They are all fantastic, but at the same time there are many other ski areas that offer unique experiences that will never make it to the list.

This alternative list of ski areas is not where you go to ski and be seen. On the contrary, these seven ski resorts represent 100% the soul of skiing at a fair price.

7 ski areas you should visit and why

Turner Mountain: For powder lovers

Turner Mountain Ski Resort; (photo/Jordan LeCount, Big Sky Media)

A one-hit wonder in music is still epic even if the band only released one track. Similarly, Turner Mountain only has one lift – but what it offers skiers and snowboarders is epic.

Nestled in a remote part of Montana, their double chair gives you access to over 2,110 vertical feet of skiing. What it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in price. For $40, you’ll have access to powder-filled steep slope skiing.

  • Opening day: To be determined
  • Season: November-March

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Red River: partygoers and families unite

red river
(Photo/Red River Ski Resort)

Skiing is supposed to be fun before, during, and after. In the Land of Enchantment you will find a town and ski area of ​​the same name that offers just that – Red River.

On the surface, it is a family resort. Looking closer, you’ll find varied terrain to cover all skill levels. The legendary blowing New Mexico pow blankets the station.

A rare ski area with slopes that literally descend into town allowing you to reach your hotel or watering hole on foot. And last but not least, the Motherlode Saloon. Rumor has it that this location is where Austin’s music scene got its start.

  • Opening day: To be determined
  • Season: November-March

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Pebble Creek: experts rejoice

hiking the terrain of Pebble Creek Ski Area in Idaho
Hiking terrain at Pebble Creek; (photo/Pebble Creek Ski Resort)

Many ski resorts boast of having steep slopes, but when visiting them you realize that this is not quite the case. Pebble Creek is not one of them. Nicknamed “the Rock”, it is home to cliffs, waterfalls and scenic trails that will put you to the test. Although there are three elevators, almost all 2,200 vertical feet of land can be accessed via the Skyline triple chair.

For the more adventurous souls, you can access an additional 700 vertical feet above the top of the lift via hiking for even more powder fun.

  • Opening day: To be determined
  • Season: December-end of March

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Diamond Peak: The Quiet Side of Tahoe

Diamond Peak Ski Resort - Crystal Ridge
Skiing Crystal Ridge at Diamond Peak; (Photo/Ryan Salm)

Lake Tahoe is home to many legendary ski resorts. Stations roll out like a Hollywood A-List – Heavenly, Tahoe PalisadesKirkwood…but there’s one that stays off the radar but still has a view of Lake Tahoe.

It has deep snow like the others but on a smaller scale. It is the one and only Diamond Peak. Owned by the town of Incline Village, this little slice of heaven has groomers, trees, and plenty of room to enjoy.

  • Opening day: To be determined
  • Season: December-April

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Shames Mountain: Backcountry Access to Drool Over

Shames Mountain Ski Resort
(Photo/Shames Mountain Ski Resort)

Shames Mountain is Canada’s first ever not-for-profit community service ski co-op, meaning the mountain is run by a co-op, board and members. (Even kids can apply for membership and play a part!) Everyone involved is working to help make the mountain as accessible, affordable, sustainable and collaborative as possible for the community.

Shames is another example of a ski area that you shouldn’t base your opinion on the amount of lifts or ski area. Let’s start with the annual snowfall: nearly 475 inches of white snow fall on its slopes every year.

Within its patrolled boundaries you’ll find 28 trails that descend 1,600 vertical feet to the base. Its wow factor is what is outside its limits. Shames is surrounded by over 7,800 acres of countryside terrain to explore via a “bump” on their ski lifts. Ancient forests. Very open alpine. Stiff and deep kindness. What more could you ask for?

  • Opening day: To be determined
  • Season: November-April

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Wolf Creek: calm and cool in Colorado

Wolf Creek Ski Resort
(Photo/Wolf Creek Ski Resort)

If you’re wondering which ski area in Colorado gets the most snow, you’re probably wrong. It’s not like Vail, Aspen, or Crested Butte, more like a little place called Wolf Creek. On average, they receive over 430 inches of snow per year.

Combine that with a base elevation of 10,000 feet and many seasons by Halloween the folks at Wolf Creek are skiing on real snow. With such an abundance of cold, dry snow, it’s often face heaven due to its lack of crowds, excellent tree skiing and gorgeous powder.

  • Opening day: To be determined
  • Season: Eearly November-April

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Beaver Mountain: Utah’s Untouched Goodness

Mount Beaver Ski Resort
Beaver Mountain Ski Resort; (photo/Matt Logan)

The biggest snow in the world normally comes at a high price. Fierce competition, crowds, high prices and lots of powder frenzy. Not necessary if you venture further north to Beaver Mountain.

A family resort for nearly 80 years, it offers uncrowded, unspoilt terrain at a fraction of the price. Only an hour and a half from Salt Lake City, you can easily combine a few days here with some of the other major resorts.

What these places lack in amenities like heated seats and high-speed elevators, they more than make up for in soul, terrain, and plenty of elbow room. Even if you don’t visit one of these exciting places, consider adding another smaller ski area to your next trip. You will not regret it.

  • Opening day: To be determined
  • Season: December-April

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