With winter only a few short months away, a vacation rental company has come out with a list of most and least expensive resorts to help people plan this year’s ski vacations, and Big Sky Resort didn’t fare so well.

HomeToGo used equipment rental fees, lift ticket, lunch and accommodation prices to determine the total price of staying at 50 ski resorts in the U.S. and Canada, and Big Sky came in at No. 8 for most expensive resorts, costing an estimated average of $304.75 a day.

Whitefish Mountain Resort was ranked the 12th least expensive, and Canada’s Fernie Alpine Resort, just over the border from Whitefish, was named the best deal overall, costing about $178.14 a day.

There were a few caveats to keep in mind. The study used Yelp to find a mid-range restaurant on the mountain to find the price of a standard cheeseburger and soda. Big Sky public relations manager Stacie Mesuda pointed out that not all mountains offer cafeterias where people can bring in outside food like Big Sky does, and the study didn’t take into account parking prices.

She also said there were hotel rooms available at cheaper prices than the one listed in the company’s study, which used its own metasearch data to determine prices for accommodation.

She also said that buying lift tickets online ahead of time can help a lot with cost, rather than buying them on the ski day itself.

“Just as guests are advised not to buy airfare the same day as travel for the best possible rates, skiers that buy lift tickets in advance benefit from much more attractive rates,” she said in an email.

A single-day lift ticket for Big Sky, purchased that day, is $155 this season. The HomeToGo study placed Big Sky’s lift ticket price at $145.

Find out more about the study and its methodology here.Abby Lynes can be reached at alynes@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

Abby Lynes can be reached at alynes@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

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