10 Ski-Town Hostels That Are Far From “Cheap”

This article originally appeared on Ski Mag

At some point over the last few decades, hostels became synonymous with bottom-of-the-barrel accommodations for backpackers and ski bums. But modern-day hostels no longer pack ’em in like sardines in dorm-style bunk rooms and with grungy shared bathrooms. Especially newer ones going up near ski resorts.

Ski towns are famously pricey, so this influx of hostels is a welcome value option. After all, hostel life has been a mainstay of European mountain culture for generations. Now there are just more choices, including a wide array of modern and classic mountain lodges, often with private rooms and family-friendly accommodations, hot tubs, ski storage, and more. Bunks usually start around $40 a night, with rooms ranging into the low hundreds during peak season. Here’s a mix of our favorite ski hostels--some new and chic and others classic and time-tested--to keep on your radar for next season.

10 Hot Hostels For Savvy Ski Travelers

The Pad | Silverthorne, Colo.

  • Closest Skiing: Keystone, 10 miles

  • Book now

The Pad
(Photo: David Lauer)

Opened in 2021, The Pad is a design-forward hostel/hotel with a pending B-Corp certification. The Pad is within 15 miles of popular ski areas in Colorado (like Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Copper Mountain) and was intentionally designed to funnel guests into common spaces for a more classic hostel feel. Room options range from large, deluxe private suites to eight-person shared dorms. And the common spaces are far from ordinary, including a sleek rooftop bar, hot tub, and co-working space ready for remote workers or apres-seekers alike.

SnowMansion Adventure Lodge | Taos, N.M.

  • Closest Skiing: Taos Ski Valley, 10 miles

  • Book now

SnowMansion Taos
(Photo: Sarah Mytych)

The SnowMansion's accommodations may be modest, but the cozy atmosphere, location, and prices are well worth the more basic guest rooms. The hostel is family-friendly, with plenty of suite options (large groups can reserve the whole lodge). Expect to find a shabby-chic-style hodgepodge of furniture, plenty of wood paneling, and a small fireplace in the center of the common area. Plus the lodge is the only hostel in Taos, making it one of the cheapest ways to visit the ski area--and it's only a 15-minute drive from the resort.

Nowhere Special | Rossland, B.C.

  • Closest Skiing: RED Mountain Resort, slopeside

  • Book now

Nowhere Special RED
(Photo: Ashley Voykin)

Live hostel life in style by staying at this mountainside property: at Nowhere Special, guests get to watch lifts spin from the patio while they grill or drink beers by the fire pit. Just a two-minute walk to RED Mountain Resort, this property is a ski bum's dream. Ski and bike storage is available, along with modern rooms, both private and shared and a sleek communal kitchen.

The Hostel | Teton Village, Wyo.

  • Closest Skiing: Jackson Hole, slopeside

  • Book here

Simply named The Hostel, this gem has an unbeatable location in the heart of Teton, Village. It also has a pretty unbeatable price for Jackson Hole: Book a private quad room in high season from $99. Just steps from the big red box, The Hostel consistently ranks as one of the top ski hostels in the world and is a no-brainer for anyone traveling to the ski area and looking to stay within a budget. If its location isn't enough, the property is constantly upgrading its facilities--there's a ski tuning room for guests and travelers can bring along their dogs for a $10 per day fee.

Hostel of Maine | Carrabassett Valley, Maine

  • Closest Skiing: Sugarloaf, 2 miles

  • Book now

Hostel of Maine
(Photo: Corey Butler)

Hostel of Maine embraces a classic ski-lodge style with a cozy interior and a large stone fireplace anchoring the common area. Skiers can opt for either a bunk or a private room. A multi-use trail system (perfect for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing) is right out the door, plus Sugarloaf is a five-minute free shuttle ride away. Locally owned and operated by hosts Melanie, Justin, and their dog, Zoe, Hostel of Maine is a value-oriented option that feels like a second home tucked away in the woods.

Mellow Mountain Hostel | South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

  • Closest Skiing: Heavenly, slopeside

  • Book now

Mellow Mountain Tahoe
(Photo: Courtesy of Mellow Mountain Hostel)

The barebones 54-bed Mellow Mountain Hostel is a revamped motel smack in the middle of South Lake Tahoe, with Heavenly's gondola just a 10-minute walk away. The dorm-style rooms each accommodate four people with a shared bathroom. Colorful murals and a big communal kitchen, laundry room, and common space make this an ideal spot for the younger crowd, and more closely resembles what you might find in traditional European hostels. The paired-down prices, plenty of funky art, and a staff with a ski-centric mindset make it a great choice for the budget traveler.

Balmers Hostel | Interlaken, Switzerland

Balmers Hostels
(Photo: Courtesy of Balmers Hostel)

Planning to ski the Alps? Balmers Hostel in Switzerland is a classic. The hostel occupies three traditional Swiss chalets and has been operating since 1907. With a whopping 350-plus bed layout, this social hotspot is always hopping, so it's not surprising that there's an 18-and-over age requirement to bed down here. The action begins at 10 p.m. nightly with drink specials and music. As for skiing, there are several options within a 30-minute drive, including Wengen, Grindelwald, and the small but charming Beatenberg-Niederhorn.

Hostel Tevere | Warren, Vt.

Hostel Tevere is located a snowball's throw from the Sugarbush and Mad River Glen ski areas, making it an ideal low-cost weekend trip for Boston city-dwellers looking for their ski fix. The hostel is a newly renovated home, and there's also an on-site bar and restaurant. The four shared rooms can sleep between four and seven people, and the bar and restaurants, which are also open to the public, serve dinner and bevvies until 10 p.m.

Freeride Lodge | Niseko, Japan

  • Closest Skiing: Niseko Annupuri Ski Area, 1.5 miles

  • Book here

Freeride Lodge Niseko
(Photo: Courtesy of Freeride Lodge Niseko)

Ready to ski some of Japan's powder? Freeride Lodge is located only a five-minute walk to the closest lift, which will funnel you into the rest of the United Niseko ski area. The Lodge has private and shared dorm options, spacious and well-lit rooms, and offers easy access to restaurants in Niseko village. What better way to meet new ski buddies than over a Sapporo in the chic lounge?

The Bivvi | Placerville, Colo.

  • Closest Skiing: Telluride Ski Resort, 26 miles

  • Book here

The Bivvi Telluride
(Photo: Courtesy of The Bivvi Telluride)

Another Colorado classic, The Bivvi, set about 30 minutes outside of Telluride in the town of Placerville, offers a value-minded option in a place with very few reasonably priced hotels. You do have a longer drive, but it'll be worth it to some to save big bucks. There's a variety of shared and private room options, all of which include daily complimentary continental breakfast. There's also a hot tub, bar, gear storage, and extensive lounge areas, making it easy to refuel and relax so you can ski hard another day.

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