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Photo | Pass PowderKeg | Facebook

Skiing Isn’t Only For The Rich: The Best Budget Mountain Ski Hills in Alberta

Discover four mountain ski escapes that save you bucks while avoiding the crowds

Inflation has hit us all hard. From groceries to utilities, costs are rising, especially for electricity, where Albertans pay the highest rates of any province in the country

Recreation is also becoming more expensive. 

Downhill skiing is becoming something only the rich can afford, with day and season passes becoming priced out of reach for the average Albertan.

Yet our slopes should be accessible to everyone. 

This is especially true in Alberta, where so many Albertans consider the mountains their second home. 

To help you enjoy the outdoors this January without blowing your budget, we present a list of the more affordable ski hills in the mountains.

So tuck in your wallet, strap on your skies and hit these affordable slopes.

Pass Powderkeg in Crowsnest Pass – Small-Town Charm on the Slopes

Photo | Pass PowderKeg | Facebook
Photo | Pass PowderKeg | Facebook

A non-profit Ski Hill?

That isn’t something you hear often, but just about everything about Pass Powderkeg is uniquely lowkey and refreshing.

Tucked away in the scenic Crowsnest Pass, PPK “is a throwback to when a family ski day was all about big smiles and exploring, not upsell and lift lines.”

Opened in 1938, everything from their quirky events to the beloved T-BAR screams retro community mountain in the best way.

On top of that, it has to be the best place to learn as all the graduates of their Snow School program earn a FREE Season Pass.

Plus, the bunny hill is FREE for all learners. 

Whether you’re a seasoned skier or introducing your family to the joys of winter, these mountain hills promise an escape where the thrill of the ride is matched only by the beauty surrounding you. 

Embrace the tranquillity, relish the affordability, and discover a new perspective on winter recreation in the heart of Alberta.

Marmot Basin – Jasper’s Serene Ski Haven

Photo | Marmot Basin
Photo | Marmot Basin

Nestled in the heart of Jasper National Park, Marmot Basin is a local favourite, offering unparalleled natural beauty and top-tier skiing. 

You can’t go wrong at just $300 for a 4-person family pass. This is true affordability in an epic location!

Not only will your wallet thank you, but you’ll also avoid the hustle and crowds of larger mountain resorts.

It may be a bit more rustic than its more well-known Banff counterparts, but actually having space to rip down the slopes without dodging newbies makes Marmot Basin’s hills well worth the trip.

Or, if you are a newbie, there is space for the crazies to cruise by you!

Plus, you may have some leftover cash for a burger and beer.


Nakiska in Kananaskis – Olympic Legacy in Affordable Style

Nakiska specializes in helping beginners learn to ski | Nakiska
Nakiska specializes in helping beginners learn to ski | Nakiska

Nakiska is a Cree word aptly meaning “to meet,” and it’s genuinely the perfect place for Calgarians to meet up with friends for a leisurely Saturday on the slopes.

It’s Calgary’s closest ski mountain, but the convenience isn’t its only selling point.

The resort was initially built for the XV Olympic Games in 1988, and its history as a world-class ski mountain show.

Boasting diverse terrain and modern amenities, Nakiska provides an Olympic-grade skiing experience without the hefty price tag. 

Relatively affordable lift tickets and special lessons for beginners make Nakiska a budget-friendly destination, offering an unforgetable winter adventure for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.

Castle Mountain – Southwest Alberta’s Powder Paradise

Photo | Castle Mountain | Facebook
Photo | Castle Mountain | Facebook

Castle Mountain, is an untouched nook in the southwest corner of Alberta, where every day offers that fresh snow feeling.

This ski hill is charmingly uncommercialized, simple, and pleasantly understated. 

The skiing terrain exudes a classic, traditional feel, making it perfect for those who appreciate the pure joys of skiing and snowboarding.

Castle Mountain is a haven for powder enthusiasts.

The area’s reliable snowfall and north slope location means less checking for perfect conditions and more time on the slopes.

Because it is a bit more remote than the other ski resorts, you’ll enjoy plenty of space to play in the powder.

Immerse yourself in the tranquillity surrounded by breathtaking wilderness and discover Castle Mountain’s unique charm – where affordability meets untouched landscapes.

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