Student Universe (
Hostelling International/American Youth Hostels (
For example, the historic HI-Fireside Inn is only five minutes from the Breckenridge, Colo., ski resort and less than a half-hour by free bus from other Colorado ski areas, such as Copper Mountain, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. Beds cost $22 to $35 per night. The HI-Crested Butte International Hostel, where beds range from $18 to $28 per night in dormitory and private rooms, is only 150 feet from the free ski shuttle.
In Canada, where the dollar stretches to more than $1.50 Canadian, there are lots of ways for students and backpackers to ski cheaply.
Moose Travel Network West (
These include Moose's seven-day Okanagan Powder Package, which offers return transportation between Vancouver and Kelowna, lift tickets for five days, shuttle service and accommodation at the recently upgraded Big White and Silver Star hostels (with breakfasts) for $490. Moose also offers a seven-day Rocky Ripper adventure, which includes round-trip transportation to Banff from Vancouver. In Banff, passengers join Giddy Goat Adventure Tours (which runs backpacker day trips from Banff) for five days of skiing at Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Kimberley and Fernie ski areas.
The $541 package includes transportation, lift tickets and accommodation with breakfasts at hostels operated by the SameSun Hostel Network, Hostelling International or the new Banff Global Village Backpackers.
For more information on Moose Travel Network West, including new three-day packages from Vancouver, call (888) 244-6673.
Hostelling International/Canada (
HI Canada winter packages are available at Mont Tremblant and Val David (cross-country skiing) in Quebec; Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, Banff, Nakiska/Kananaskis and Marmot Basin (Jasper) in Alberta; and Grouse Mountain (Vancouver), Whistler, Sun Peaks (Kamloops), Vernon (snowshoeing and cross-country skiing) and Fernie in British Columbia.
For travelers going through Vancouver, there is a new HI hostel at 1025 Granville St., (888) 203-8333, that's been converted from a hotel. The hostel has private rooms (many with attached bathrooms and TVs), spacious four-bed dorm rooms, a bar and a free shuttle to bus and train stations. Rates begin at $12.75 for HI members in a four-bed dorm. All three Vancouver HI hostels are offering a night's accommodation and a lift ticket to ski Grouse Mountain (less than 30 minutes from downtown) for $37.
You can stay two nights at any of the HI Vancouver hostels and get a ticket to a Vancouver Canucks (National Hockey League) game for $48.
From Dec. 29 to April 6, Moose Travel Network East will operate seven-day winter packages from Toronto. The backpacker bus, called the Snowplow, links Toronto to Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant and Ottawa, returning to Toronto. For $256 you get transportation in 21-passenger buses to resorts, hostels and activities.
Travelers need to budget $11.50 to $14 per night for hostel beds and fees for activities, which range from skiing and snowboarding to visiting an outdoor wildlife park, tubing, skating on Ottawa's eight-mile rink (the Rideau Canal), a visit to a sugar shack, ice fishing and dog sledding.
Contact Moose Travel Network East at (888) 816-6673,
Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer and author of "Izon's Backpacker Journal." Contact her through her Web site,