Skiing in the Rockies can be notoriously pricey. But you don't have to pawn your parka at Vail or Aspen; the Rockies also are full of lesser known but still high-quality spots. Here are just nine:
* Alta Ski Area, Utah: Pristine slopes, superb skiing. Full-day adult ticket, $31; beginner runs, $22 a day. A 45-minute drive from Salt Lake City, and consistently good value. No snowboarders allowed. Telephone (801) 359-1078, Internet http://www.altaskiarea.com.
* Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah: Skiing for all levels, and wonderful conditions. This resort is a bargain-hunter's dream. Adult lift tickets, $36; two children 10 and under can ski free with each adult. Peak-season lodging starts at $160 to $200 per night for four. Tel. (800) 748-4754, Internet http://www.skisolitude.com.
* Targhee, Wyo.: An intimate ski area near Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Breathtaking scenery. Adult all-day lift tickets, $41. Other deals available on the Web at http://www.grandtarghee.com. Tel.(800) 827-4433.
* Bridger Bowl, Mont.: Near Bozeman, this nonprofit ski area boasts excellent snow quality, varied terrain and challenging runs. All-day adult lift ticket, $30. Packages including three lift tickets and three nights' lodging start at $150 per person double. Tel. (800) 223-9609, Internet http://www.bridgerbowl.com.
* Silver Creek Resort, Colo.: Catering to families, this resort offers packages that include rental equipment and ski lessons. Adult full-day lift ticket, $34. Tel. (888) 283-7458, Internet http://www.silvercreek-resort.com.
* Snowbasin, Utah: One of the hosts for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Adult all-day pass, $34. Just 17 miles from Ogden, a lively college town and base for affordable lodging. Tel. (801) 399-1135, Internet http://www.snowbasin.com.
* Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho: A hidden gem about 90 miles northeast of Spokane, Wash. Short lift lines, spectacular vistas. Adult lift tickets, $30; students 18-23, $25; ages 7-17, $20. Tel. (800) 831-8810, Internet http://www.schweitzer.com.
* Purgatory Resort, Colo.: Untamed runs, back-country double-diamond trails and plenty for experts and beginners. Half an hour away, Durango offers abundant cheap lodgings. Adult full-day ticket, $43; ages 6-12, $21; free for kids in ski school. Tel. (800) 525-0892, Internet http://www.ski-purg.com.
* Ski Santa Fe, N.M.: Sublime skiing and access to a fascinating city. Packages include four nights' lodging at the Santa Fe Holiday Inn and three lift tickets for $275 double (other hotels are slightly more). Adult lift tickets, $40. Tel. (800) 776-7669; Internet http://www.skisantafe.com.