7 Best Dirtbag Resorts

7 Best Dirtbag Resorts

Hav­ing trou­ble ski­ing on a dime? Here are the sev­en best dirt­bag resorts for skiers and snow­board­ers who need mon­ey for ramen:

Jay Peak
Most folks trav­el a long way to ski here for good rea­son. It has the MOST snow in the North­east thanks to the Jay Cloud and the micro-cli­mate cre­at­ed by the pass. While Stowe also boasts great Back and Side Coun­try access, the lines are way too long, the tick­ets are expen­sive and the trees are often tight. At Jay, the lines are short, the tick­ets are cheap, and there’s sim­ply noth­ing quite like pulling high speed GS turns in thigh deep pow­der deep in the woods. If you learn the moun­tain you can eas­i­ly spend the day ski­ing pow­der turns all day even a few days after a good storm.

Bear Moun­tain
Big Bear Moun­tain Resorts is actu­al­ly two ski areas: Bear Moun­tain and Snow Sum­mit. A dual moun­tain pass pro­vides access to both and a shut­tle ser­vice is pro­vid­ed between the two ski areas. They can’t quite com­pare to Mam­moth or Tahoe Resorts but, if you’re in SoCal and want  to ski 30 plus days a year, Big Bear is hands down the best choice. Bear Moun­tain appeals more to the 20 some­thing crowd and though it wel­comes both skiers and board­ers, most of the resort is ded­i­cat­ed park ter­rain. Lit­tle Sean White corked his first rodeo on these slopes and the bar is set high here, but if you  keep your flow you’ll be fine. Bear Moun­tain placed 33rd in Out­side Mag­a­zines 2012 top 40 nation­wide resort rank­ings and it’s a spot well deserved. 

Red Lodge
Red Lodge Moun­tain Resort is as much about the charm­ing town of Red Lodge at the base of the Beartooth High­way from Cooke City as it is the moun­tain itself, because Red Lodge has about the friend­liest peo­ple in the coun­try. Their $30 col­lege rate was hard to find any­where else, espe­cial­ly when you con­sid­er the qual­i­ty ski­ing they have. Red Lodge is the kind of resort that puts ski­ing above every­thing else. There’s no fan­cy lodge, but the lifts are great and the ter­rain var­ied.  This is one of the best resorts to take your first crack at hit­ting fea­tures in the ter­rain park.

Grand Targhee
For­get for a moment all those adver­tise­ments about Utah. The best snow in my opin­ion is in Wyoming. This is not the place for peo­ple who like to ski groomers though, as groomed runs are prac­ti­cal­ly non-exis­tent here. The locals don’t even show up unless there’s at least 10″ of fresh snow because it hap­pens so often. For pow­der hounds, this place is heav­en. Because of its remote­ness, very few peo­ple come here. Most peo­ple go to Jack­son hole, which is on the oth­er side of the moun­tain range, and does­n’t get all the good snow dumps like Grand Targhee. They get more than 500 inch­es of snow annu­al­ly and with over 2,200 ver­ti­cal feet, it’s hard to not nab your own first tracks.

Bridger Bowl
Bridger Bowl is renowned for its extreme inbounds ter­rain and its cold, super dry snow. Being on the east­ern side of the con­ti­nen­tal divide, snow qual­i­ty is deli­cious­ly dry, hence Bridger’s moniker ‘Ski the Cold Smoke’. The ski area is locat­ed on the east slope of the Bridger Range and extends 2 miles from the ridge­line down to the base area at 6,100’. Bridger Bowl is flanked by large bowls to the North and South. The name has a reason—most of the ski area offers wide open ter­rain with a vari­ety of land­scapes includ­ing long slopes, glades, chutes and gul­lies in addi­tion to oth­er small­er bowls.

Mount Shas­ta7 Best Dirtbag Resorts
With 1,390 feet of ver­ti­cal and fab­u­lous­ly groomed trails, Mount Shas­ta is a great place for any lev­el of ski­er or snow­board­er. They have the Rev­o­lu­tion Ter­rain Park and Super pipe, which is not for the faint of heart (a net­work of box­es and rails along with a 1,000 feet ver­ti­cal ter­rain run). Not only is Mount Shas­ta known for it’s great trails and ter­rain parks, but their gold medal learn­ing cen­ter which is con­sid­ered one of the finest in the indus­try. Whether you’re a begin­ner or advanced ski­er, there’s some­thing at Mount Shas­ta Ski Park for everyone.

Pow­der­horn
Nes­tled deep in the heart of the Grand Mesa on the sto­ried West­ern Slope of Col­orado, Pow­der­horn is a scenic, fam­i­ly-friend­ly resort fea­tur­ing 1,600 acres of ter­rain suit­ed to a vari­ety of abil­i­ties and pref­er­ences. Pow­der­horn is known for extend­ing excep­tion­al val­ue to each guest, thanks to improve­ments at the resort and moun­tain focused on cre­at­ing a one-of-a-kind, year-round expe­ri­ence. West­ern Col­orado is known for its wide-open spaces, dis­tinc­tive topog­ra­phy and friend­ly local res­i­dents. It is also rec­og­nized for its vine­yards, winer­ies and agri­cul­ture. The cli­mate allows for ski­ing or snow­board­ing in the morn­ing and play­ing a round of golf or enjoy­ing a hike or moun­tain bike ride in the after­noon. The options for explor­ing, both moun­tain and the Grand Mesa, are mind-boggling.