Define "cheap" - keeping in mind what is cheap for some isn't for others, and the variable expectations that arrive with each person's defintion. I know a place in Summit County where you can get a room for under $50/night - pretty much any week of the year. The mattresses suck, the cleanliness is so-so, and there's hardly enough room to turn around in - but, if it's one or two people who are really on the economy, don't mind the worn-out mattress, aren't going to do anything in the room but crash after the party, shower and ski the next day - it's a very good and cheap option. Of course, the lodging options go up from this point.
If the question is cheap lift tickets - check out the 4-packs for Keystone, A-Basin & Breck (www.coloradopass.com
) or the 4-packs for Winter Park & Copper (www.passwagon.com)
. Those will certainly be far cheaper than ANY multi-day pass at Vail. (the Breck, K & A/b pass is blacked out for part of the December dates - so check that too). For the type of terrain you're looking for, I would recommend Keystone (the front mountain), Peaks 9 & 10 at Breck, some parts of Copper, the WP portion of WP/MJ, and of course, the front of Vail - and probably tell you to not do A-Basin.
(Another little hint: the full "three star" hotel on hotwire.com in Silverthorne/Frisco is usually the Holiday Inn - and it's very often a damn good deal. That's been my experience, but please don't take this as gospel, as hotwire has been know to shift hotels, bookings, etc and they don't tell us. But, SO FAR, every time I've booked the 3 star hotel in frisco on hotwire, I've ended up at the holiday inn.)