Family Travel Stories

Affordable skiing for the family

Do you remember, before you had children, going skiing for the day? Lift tickets were expensive at $40-$50+ each!  But what a great time we had skiing with family and friends.

Now, we have a 9 year-old and a 5 year-old and we want to share this activity with them. You could imagine our surprise when we saw lift tickets for $70+ for 1 day!! Plus, add in rental equipment for the kids and lessons, OH MY!

So we did some investigating. We were able to find a used pair of skis for our oldest son from a ski shop.  Fire on the Mountain in Dover, NH also offers an affordable boot club. You rent a pair of boots each ski season instead of purchasing a pair. This way you have a new pair each year that fits your child.

We live on the seacoast of New Hampshire so there is not a lot of ski areas near by. I took my son to Powderhouse Hill in South Berwick, ME on a Friday night. It cost us $5 each for our lift ticket. Powderhouse Hill has a rope tow lift, and three trails (one big trail divided by the rope tow and some glade trails). This was perfect for my son to start learning to ski. This experience reminded me of growing up in Claremont, NH and learning how to ski at Arrowhead Ski Area. Another town ski area with ticket prices running at $3 and $5.

This weekend we are going to McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester, New Hampshire. The ticket prices are $29 for an adult ticket and $26 for children, which is cheaper than an adult ticket at Gunstock. I am also hoping to get a lesson for him for $35, which is the same cost as Gunstock. Now, I know that these small areas do not have the vertical height, high-speed quad chair lifts, fancy lodges or even (in some cases) snow making, but these quickly disappearing ski gems are great for teaching the young ones how to ski.

We will still visit the traditional ski areas, because after all we have some of the best skiing right here in good ol’ New Hampshire.

The following is a list of some inexpensive local ski areas:

Author: rbisson

I am a licensed land surveyor in New Hampshire and Maine, enjoy the outdoors and being with my wife and two boys.


  1. Thank you SO much for posting this info. My wife and I used to ski when we first met, and then we had six children. Through the years I’ve always wanted to teach them to ski, but I never did because of the cost. I knew if I taught them, they would want to go again, and I thought taking the family skiing meant $70 a head times 8 heads. This was well beyond our means. Our oldest are now 16 and 17 now, and they want to learn to ski. I never knew about affordable places like the ones you mentioned. You have encouraged me that we can do this as a family, and I will give it a try.

    Yesterday my wife and I were in a local used clothing store buying some clothes for my wife and daughter. I happened to see a high quality set of ski’s and bindings for $25. Boots where also $10 and $20 a pair. By visiting a few second hand stores and by purchasing a family pass at a place like Abenaki, all of a sudden has become a real possibility. They say with God, all things are possible and He as showed us the way with your help. Thank you!

  2. Hi David – thanks for your comment. I am psyched we were able to help you find skiing as a fun family, affordable outing again.

    One other resource to consider is the Breathe NH Fun Pass. We just purchased ours for 2011 and it has many buy one adult ticket, get one kid ticket free ski area passes.

    Visit for more information. You can view a list of all the participating attractions and the discounts they offer and purchase for $30.

    Enjoy the season!

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