Are you looking for help deciding on the best ski resorts for beginners? With so many destinations renowned for their spectacular vistas and wide range of facilities, it can be difficult to decide where to make your first snowplough into the world of skiing.
If someone in your skiing group is new to the sport, you might need to spend a little more time choosing your resort. To help you choose, we’ve hand-picked seven of the best beginner ski resorts in Europe and North America. All complete with excellent après-ski, a fantastic atmosphere and a variety of beginners’ slopes.
Cortina is home to some of the best beginners’ slopes in the Dolomites. The area is ideal for a slightly longer stay, as there are also progression slopes for when you’ve built up some confidence. You can choose from a selection of ski schools with supportive instructors who can teach in a variety of languages, from English through to Chinese.
The Dolomites mountain range is a UNESCO world heritage site, guaranteeing spectacular views on your way down. Many of the slopes are also floodlit for atmospheric nighttime skiing. Other activities available to enjoy include go-karting, snowshoeing and sledging.
A popular destination for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, Les Arcs has a free beginners’ lift. It also has nursery slopes above every main village throughout the resort, making it an ideal option for first timers.
Located in the Savoie region, you can also expect delicious regional specialities, such as raclette cheese or Tarte aux Myrtilles – sweet blueberry tart. Other après ski options include Restaurant L’Arpette, where you can expect traditional tartiflette along with breathtaking views over the snow-shielded valley. If you have time, stay to watch the sunset from their outdoor deck.
A varied selection of nursery slopes mean you can easily perfect your glide at Tignes. As soon as you’ve gained some confidence, choose from a selection of long blue runs that will build your stamina and technique. Tignes is a particularly high resort, so it has a longer ski season than most resorts and great powder conditions into early spring.
Tignes has an excellent selection of ski schools, including ones that offer women-only courses. As ladies have a different form when they move, this can help develop good skiing technique and posture.
An excellent, snow-sure nursery slope hugs the edge of this bustling village, nicknamed “the pearl of the Alps”. It’s almost traffic-free, with charming chalets surrounded by glinting, snowy peaks. There are also plenty of activities for children and supervised slopes where they can perfect their turns.
Saas-Fee has three T-bars serving up the beginner practice area at its base, and skiing lessons are always readily available. For those looking to push themselves a bit further, the Mittaghorn lift can be taken up for slightly more challenging runs and a spectacular view of Saas-Fee’s gorgeous surroundings. The resort is perfect for a short ski weekend, with plenty of après to be found in the quaint town centre, as well as other winter activities such as tobogganing and sledding.
Finish your activity-filled day with a meal at the Michelin-starred Fletschhorn. The restaurant serves a seasonal menu and offers a selection of 1,200 wines, in cosy yet elegant surroundings. Alternatively, taste some mouthwatering wines at VINarium in the four-star Hotel Schweizerhof.
If you’re going to be skiing in North America, Aspen Snowmass is a solid choice for those with less experience and one of the best ski resorts for beginners. Buttermilk is where beginners coalesce at this resort, and without any expert runs in sight, aggressive skiers won’t be zipping around to the dismay of rookies. There are plenty of instructors available to offer a helping hand, while its 44 runs are always perfectly groomed, making it as easy as possible to get started. It’s not all easy going, though – Buttermilk also plays host to the ever-exhilarating X Games, meaning there are plenty of pipes and snow parks for the more advanced skiers to take advantage of.
Lech is one of the best ski resorts for beginners. A quick glance at Lech’s map might look intimidating for beginners, but don’t let that put you off – less confident skiers can access almost all parts of the mountain, safe in the knowledge that there will be a safe and gentle route down. The exclusivity of this resort is also a bonus for beginners, with runs unlikely to be swamped at any point in the season – Lech has a strict policy of only issuing 14,000 lift passes in a single day, keeping the slopes free from large, obstructive crowds.
Cervinia is the highest altitude resort in Italy, giving it the most reliable snowfall and guaranteeing conditions that are ideal for ski lessons. For those strapping on their ski boots for the first time, there is a nursery slope accessible directly from the village, as well as a number of ski schools to choose from. What makes Cervinia perfect for beginners, is the extent of easy runs available for those looking to take a step up. Cervinia has over 40 kilometres of easy runs that often have long, wide slopes making it one of the best ski resorts for beginners.
This laid-back resort is one of the best ski resorts for beginners. It’s relatively quiet here and sees lots of sunshine on its south-facing slopes. Beginner skiers can make use of two free ski lifts that access nursery slopes – this means you can spend the first couple of days finding your ski legs and learning the basics before committing to a lift pass. There are excellent ski schools on offer in resort – they’ll have you progressing to the wide, gentle blues in no time.
Another plus for La Rosière is its wide variety of ski-in ski-out accommodation; being near the slopes saves walking in your boots with your skis which is a big help when you’re starting out.