The Best Ski Towns to Live in

Newsroom Best Of Topics The Best Ski Towns to Live in

Inevitably there comes a point on a great ski trip when you or your family brings up the question of what it would be like to live in that ski town. However, romanticizing about living in a ski town and actually doing it are two completely different things. There are a lot of considerations. How much does it cost to live there? Can you work from home? Can you find a job that pays enough to support your new lifestyle? What about the schools? And the list of questions goes on.

We spoke with Evan Wyloge, data journalist for, for its its take on the real estate market in ski towns. As Evan shared, “The past several years have been marked by low inventory, with relatively high demand, leading to broad housing market price increases.” That’s without factoring in rising interest rates. As such, homebuyers who are looking for affordability may have to get creative, or look at lesser-known ski towns. Below, we include some ski towns, particularly on the East Coast, that are more affordable than many of the more popular ski towns.

While we can’t answer a lot of the questions that only you and your family can answer, we’re here to at least narrow the list of possibilities down with a round-up of the best ski towns to live in. When we talk here about living in a ski town, we mean it; this is for those individuals, couples and families who are considering a full-time move to the mountains to live in a ski town. So that means we’re not talking about the ski bum lifestyle here. Let’s get to the list.

America’s best ski towns to live in

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman gives families the best of two worlds when it comes to skiing and riding. Bridger Bowl is just a 17-mile drive from town with terrain for everyone from beginners to experts. Bridger Bowl is considered the locals’ ski area. The ski area has a total of 11 lifts, and night skiing is offered several nights a week. For more of a nearby ski getaway, Big Sky is 45 miles away. Bonus: A shuttle to and from Big Sky is available for a nominal fee.

Bozeman’s town of about 51,000 people is often cited as a great place to live year-round. It has a suburban feel to it, yet is vibrant with Montana State College right there. You’ll find no shortage of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and parks. You won’t lack for things to do in summer with whitewater rafting, hiking, rodeos, farmers’ markets, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more. Many young professionals make their home here, and the schools are excellent.

Bozeman’s median home sale price is $650,000, according to Zillow. However, you’ll find a lot, from condos to modern homes, that go for much more than that. As such, many people rent.

Bozeman, MT, aerial view.
Bozeman, Montana ©Shutterstock

Bend, Oregon

If you enjoy beer, good restaurants, skiing, and the great outdoors year-round, then look no further than Bend, located in Oregon’s high desert. Bend is 22 miles from Mt. Bachelor, via the Cascades Lake Highway, where you can typically count on 400 inches of snowfall each season. Mt. Bachelor is one of the most popular ski areas in the Pacific Northwest, and the largest, with skiing and riding spread out over more than 4,000 acres. The long season begins early and doesn’t slow down until later in May. Smaller ski areas like Hoodoo (44 miles) and Willamette Pass (70 miles) offer some variety.

While Bend doesn’t get nearly the snowfall as Mt. Bachelor, it’s a great mountain town that has it all. Bend is known for its craft beer, home to a number of breweries, including Crux and Deschutes Brewery. Many of the breweries, and restaurants, are within walking distance of one another, making Bend a great walking city. It’s also a great town for dogs, with a number of publications and websites calling Bend one of the top dog-friendly cities. Do you love sunshine? Bend has it shining about 158 days per year compared to the rest of the state’s average of 105 days.

Bend’s median home price is just below $700,000, according to Zillow. So while it’s not the least expensive mountain town, it’s not as expensive as some of the ski towns in Colorado and California.

Ogden, Utah

Ogden is something of a small “big” mountain town, at just under 90,000 residents. Skiers and riders will consider it an ideal location, just 40 miles from Salt Lake City, and near Snowbasin (21 miles away), Powder Mountain (23 miles), and Nordic Valley (16 miles). The incredible snow conditions – Snowbasin accumulated more than 500 inches in the 2022-23 season – make Ogden a great place for skiers to live. Snowbasin is one of the oldest continuously-operating ski areas in the U.S., owned for many years by the Holding Family, who also owns Sun Valley Resort in Idaho. Snowbasin hosted three events (including the downhill) during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Ogden has nearly 40 parks nearby, making it a great destination for hiking, biking, kayaking and more in the summer and fall. Kids and visiting travelers alike enjoy the Lagoon Amusement Park, too.

Ogden’s average home prices are in the $360,000 range, which is very reasonable in comparison to many of the other ski towns on this list. Ogden is clearly more affordable than most other mountain towns of its size and is considered one of the most livable ski towns in the country.

Ogden town and mountains Utah at sunset.
©Jay Dash Photography

Truckee, California

Truckee, California is the perfect place for that winter sports family that gets equally excited about summer as winter. Located near the California/Nevada border, Truckee is just 12 minutes from King’s Beach on the relaxed north shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe, which is the largest alpine lake in America. Ski resort options are endless in Truckee, with Northstar California, Palisades-Tahoe, Sugar Bowl, Mt. Rose, and  Tahoe Donner all within 30 miles of Truckee. Then on the south side of Lake Tahoe you have Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Sierra-at-Tahoe.

Summer really opens things up, with virtually every water sport you can think of being available on Lake Tahoe, and plenty of sunny, warm beaches to enjoy. Closer to Truckee is the much smaller, and low-key Donner Lake. Need a city getaway fix? San Francisco is 187 miles away while the state capitol of Sacramento 88 miles away. The “Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno, Nevada, is practically in your backyard, just 30 miles away. This is also where you’ll find the closest international airport, with Reno-Tahoe International Airport just 35 minutes away from Truckee.

However, the downside is the cost of living, which is significantly more expensive than most of the rest of the country. Truckee’s median home price is around $1,000,000 (yes, million). That’s the price to pay in California and to have access to all that the Lake Tahoe region has to offer. The community of about 17,000 is most certainly one of the best places for skiing families to live in the Golden State.

Truckee town, CA.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte, dubbed “Colorado’s last great ski town,” is conveniently located just a few minutes from Crested Butte Ski Resort. It gives off a small, fun ski town vibe that you won’t find in every Colorado ski town. Its picturesque town streets are lined with all kinds of charming boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Crested Butte Ski Resort receives more than 300 inches of snow each year, and with 1,500 acres of skiable terrain, it’s a playground for skiers of all abilities.

While Crested Butte is more than four hours away from Denver, Gunnison–Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) is 40 minutes from the resort with service to and from Denver and several airline hub cities. The drive to Crested Butte from Denver is doable, but it’ll take at least 4 hours.

Crested Butte’s median home price is $1.2 million, according to Zillow, putting it in the higher range for home prices of mountain towns. In fact it’s higher than most of the country.

View of old town stores on Main Street Crested Butte, CO.
Crested Butte, Colorado ©Shutterstock

Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson is well-known as one of the most desirable ski towns to live in. This isn’t your everyday ski town, however, as Jackson is home to one of North America’s top ski resorts, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (rated OnTheSnow’s Best All-Mountain Terrain resort for both 2022 and 2023), plus it’s the gateway to two of America’s most popular national parks, Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Many people are vacation homeowners, but those who live here year-round experience Jackson Hole’s splendors day after day.

The town of Jackson could be a stage set for a Western movie, with its wooden sidewalks in parts of town, and its saloons and western facade. However, don’t sleep on the great food and drink options here. The Mangy Moose Saloon and Million Dollar Cowboy Bar are among some of Jackson’s legendary establishments.

However, living in Jackson comes with a price. Jackson is significantly higher than most of the U.S. Jackson’s average home price, according to Zillow, is $1.5 million.

Jackson Hole town at sunset, lights, WY.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming ©Shutterstock

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen has earned recognition as not only one of the best places to ski in America, but one of the best places to live. Skiing in Aspen is world-class, thanks to the combination of Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. However, the town of Aspen itself is just as world-class.

Aspen is home to several major academic and cultural institutions, including the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, and the Aspen Music Festival and School, an eight-week gathering of classical music students and professionals putting on more than 400 public concerts each summer season. Aspen’s food and drink scene is as good as any you’ll find in any mountain town. It culminates every summer with the Food & Wine Classic, which sells out months in advance.

Living in such a world-class ski town comes with a price. According to Zillow, the average Aspen home value is nearly $3 million. Aspen’s cost of living makes it one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.

Aspen-Snowmass at night.
Aspen-Snowmass @Shutterstock

Park City, Utah

Park City, located 30 miles from Salt Lake City, has built a reputation as a great ski community and place to live. It’s no wonder considering how many incredible ski resorts are nearby, including Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley, both of which are in the town’s city limits. A new resort – Mayflower – broke ground in 2021 and is not far from opening. Meanwhile, several of Utah’s top ski resorts are within an hour’s drive, including Sundance, Alta, Snowbird, Snowbasin, Solitude and Brighton.

Numerous outdoor companies, including Rossignol, are based in Park City, so there are some good jobs to be had. Plus, Park City is a cornucopia of great restaurants, nightlife and shopping.

Park City’s median home price, according to Zillow, is $1.3 million. While Park City’s cost of living is higher, there are few ski towns that offer the quality of life, skiing opportunities and convenience to a large city that Park City does.

Park City, Old Town, apres ski, Utah.
©Dan Campbell/Park City Mountain Resort/Vail Resorts

Taos, New Mexico

Taos Ski Valley has long been a world-class ski resort in its own distinctive way since it was founded by the legendary Ernie Blake and his wife Rhoda who opened the resort more than 60 years ago. New owners have brought much of the mountain and base community up to what we consider world-class today, without letting go of the charm for which the resort is famous.

The town of Taos, 19 miles from the ski area, is home to the Taos Pueblo, a World Heritage Site, which isn’t something that just any ski town can boast. New Mexico cuisine, adobe architecture and art that is deeply rooted in Southwest history makes Taos one of the most unique ski towns to live in.

The town of Taos, New Mexico

Cost of living here is among the most reasonable in America’s ski towns. Taos’ median home price is less than $500,000, according to Zillow, making it a steal among mountain towns out west. With a population of around 6,500 people, and a reasonable cost of living coupled with Southwestern culture, Taos is a one-of-a-kind ski town. Bonus, Taos is just 90 minutes from Santa Fe.

Manchester, Vermont

Many people probably think Stowe when they think great New England ski towns, and it’s for good reason. However, Manchester is a lovely town in a skiing triangle with Bromley (6 miles), Stratton (20 miles) and Magic Mountain (13 miles) all nearby. The magnificent Equinox Hotel graces Main Street, while great restaurants and bars dot the town. Manchester Designer Outlets is a street boutique shopping experience with more than 25 upscale shops.

Main entrance to the Equinox Hotel and Resort on a sunny day in Manchester
©Shutterstock/Lee Snider Photo Images

The variety of skiing and snowboarding is what makes Manchester such a fun ski destination. Stratton is upscale and glamorous, Bromley is warm, friendly and comfortable as an old ski boot, and Magic Mountain is a bit of a throwback and a local favorite for its challenges.

Manchester’s schools – particularly the historic Burr & Burton Academy (an independent, coeducational New England secondary school) – are very good. Manchester’s median home price, according to Zillow, is less than $400,000, which is a bargain for a ski town, and much lower than Stowe. It’s worth noting, too, that Manchester is much closer than other New England ski towns to some of the Northeast’s major cities, like Boston.

North Conway, New Hampshire

Don’t sleep on New Hampshire. North Conway is a small New England ski town, with just under 2,500 residents. While it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of many other ski towns, that’s exactly what makes it such a great town to live in. Cranmore Mountain is the hometown ski resort, with 170 acres of skiable terrain and 56 trails served by 8 lifts. It’s one of New England’s oldest ski resorts, opening in the 1930s. Beyond Cranmore Mountain there are several other ski resorts within a 30-minute drive, including Attitash, Shawnee Peak, and Wildcat Mountain. Bretton Woods is just 40 minutes away.

Located to the backdrop of White Mountain National Forest, and near New England’s tallest peak of Mt. Washington, North Conway is an incredible 4-season destination. While winter and early spring beckons skiers, summer is for exploring the White Mountains, camping, golfing, fishing, waterfall hikes, lazy lake days, and tax-free shopping at North Conway’s Settlers Green Outlet Village. And let us not forget the beautiful fall foliage.

Rainbow over North Conway, New Hampshire on a summer day
©Shutterstock/Keith J Finks

North Conway’s price of living is just right, at just over $400,000 according to Zillow. If you want a small-town feel that’s away from it all, North Conway is a great place to live.

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