Beginner Skiing in France

French resorts that do beginner skiing best.

Alpe d'Huez

Glacier Skiing, Awesome Après Ski, 300 days of sunshine

Great for:

  • Nightlife
  • Off Piste
  • Terrain Parks

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

La Plagne

Paradiski Ski Area, Bobsledding, High Altitude Skiing

Great for:

  • Beginners
  • Glacier Skiing
  • Off Piste

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Courchevel

5 star luxury resort, Vast 3 Valleys, Traditional cho...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Luxury holiday

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Morzine

Family ski destination, Traditional Savoyard charm, 6...

Great for:

  • Beginners
  • Families
  • non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Meribel

3 Valleys ski area , Excellent ski schools , Lively a...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Les Arcs

Paradiski Ski Area, Famille Plus Montagne label, High...

Great for:

  • Snowboarding
  • Off-piste
  • Families

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Val Cenis

Part of Eski-Mo ski area, Traditional villages , Tree...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Intermediates
  • Value for money

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Valmorel

Snowparks and boardercrosses for all levels, Hidden ...

Great for:

  • Events on peak dates
  • Beginners
  • Families

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

La Rosiere

Off piste snow cross, Ski France & Italy, Famille Plu...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Beginners
  • Kite Skiing

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Les 2 Alpes

Glacier Skiing, Awesome après, Loads to do

Great for:

  • Nightlife
  • Off Piste
  • Groups

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Top 10 Most Popular

Many of us donned our first skis in France - and while it may not have turned us all into the next Jean Claude Killys, it’s often the first place we think of when we want to share the mountains with chums or children. Pick a French resort at random and chances are you’ll have a cracking first time on skis - they’re pretty good across the board for beginners. Still, we’ve narrowed down the list to a top 10 that’ll have all ages falling head over heels for the sport (metaphorically rather than literally, of course).

This country recognises that the skiing flame doesn’t just burst out of thin air – it needs good quality nursery slopes, miles of glorious greens, the option of a few fun features and just the right amount of slope-side chocolat chaud. Euros have been invested in the millions to make learners safe, comfortable and happy, and with award-winning ski schools (many of them run by Brits) to take newbies under their wing, that first week on the snow looks set to be an amazing one.

France: Top 10 Ski Resorts for Beginners

With one Europe’s biggest nursery areas, beginners are in good hands in this super-sized resort. 39 runs here are classified ‘easy’ – with speed-restricted areas like Les Bergers where you can master the basics undisturbed. You’ll find plenty of excellent ski schools to nurse you through those first snowploughs, Stu and Mel providing stellar tuition at British Masterclass and ESF’s Piou Piou classes being terrific for little skiers. Choosing where to turn once you’ve got into the swing of things is probably the hardest part of the whole experience. We like to head west and take the Troncon gondola up to a spoiling choice of 7 gentle (and almost mile-long) greens back down to the village. All south facing, these should show you why they call this the isle of the sun...

If you like the prospect of fast-tracking your learning experience, La Plagne will have you skiing with (or at least alongside) the best of them in just a week. Friendly blues outnumber green runs 7:1 here, so you’re gently encouraged to graduate the nursery slopes early. You’ll thank the heavens you did, snaking down snowy boulevards like the Amica. Yet, even as you make your first turns here it’s possible to cover some serious ground, with the ‘Cool Ski Pass’ giving access to drag lifts and designated circuits on wide, gentle learner-only pistes throughout the area (we love the aptly named Gentil down to Plagne Montalbert and the long Mont Blanc to Montchavin). Snow gardens for nippers are dotted around the different villages - the Oxygene school instructors meet in Plagne Centre and a recent refurb has introduced a magic carpet lift, making getting up and down the slope a breeze.

While Courchevel may be better known as the crystal and caviar capital of the Alps, don’t let all that glitz blind you to its spectacular beginner friendliness. A host of independent ski schools like the geniuses at New Gen, will see you out of the four specific ZEN areas (Zones for Evolution of Novices) and roaming the 85km of blues before you can say “Bend Ze Knees”. Stick to 1650 for some wonderfully easy (and often deserted) greens (we like the endless Praline, which joins up with Belvedere), while the routes from the Jardin Alpine make for a nice way to end the day on a high before celebrating your achievement in one of those smart little piano bars. Surprise number deux: young learners are also one of this pristine resort’s priorities – it was the first to introduce the magnestick system (which secures sprogs safely on chairlifts) and has dreamt up loads of fun slopes like the Piste of the Wicked Fairy Godmother in Moriond.

Morzine may be part of the hulking great 650km Portes du Soleil, but beginners usually find the local pass opens up more than enough for your first weeks of skiing. The area’s rolling in beautifully smooth blues, practically all lined with coniferous trees and dotted with hot choc and vin-chaud purveying huts - the winter scene we all pictured before setting ski to snow. We love how hassle-free everything is here, starting with a tourist train that ferries you skis, poles and all between the cable cars and the town. The nursery area’s just a short ride away from the centre (at the top of the Pleney cable car), and fitted with magic carpets – so there’s no need to tackle chairlifts until you’ve picked up the basics. From there your progression’s taken care of - the TS du Belvedere delivering you to an easy green run which branches into pistes B, C and D for the home run (we’d suggest starting with Piste B). If you do feel like testing your new mettle, the Super Morzine gondola will whizz you up to more testing blues around Avoriaz and back again.

A softly softly approach prevails in Meribel. While seasoned skiers are out in the 3 Valleys, the Sittelle run (accessed from the Platieres gondola), Le Rossignol (get the Chatelet chair) and Le Doron (down in Mottaret) here are complete beginner territory, where you can build confidence in peace – usually without having to pay a penny for a lift pass. This resort’s bursting with Brit-run ski schools like Parallel Lines, TDCski, Marmalade and New Gen, who know just how to put you through your paces without wearing you out. Kids also get tonnes of kicks in Méribel. The MoonPark has a brilliant series of child-friendly whoops. Enter your number on the console at the start-line and cameras will send you a video of your performance to whoop over later.

Don’t be put off by the lack of greens on the Les Arcs piste map. It’s widely known that the blues here are total softies, and much more like the greens in other resorts (the tourist office doesn’t adhere to the standard rating system). The easy skiing back to each of the Arc villages is a huge draw which, if you’re staying in one of Les Arcs’ many slope-side lodgings, will save you from having to cart those strange new skis and poles about. Start your journey in one of several Ski Tranquille zones, where designated slow skiing means you won’t have to worry about more accomplished skiers bombing past. Next move on up the Carreley and Villards chairs for oodles of those mellow blues, like the loooong Plan Vert piste for consolidating skills. The beauty of Les Arcs is that as you advance, a lovely mix of high, open plan skiing and tree-line runs lets you change things up according to your mood and the weather. In a nice touch, they’ve also implemented a variegated sticker system –so if you’re sporting a beginner badge, resort staff will give you tips and advice.

Europe’s longest green, the 10km L’Escargot from the Col du Mont Cenis couldn’t be a better transition from nursery slopes to full-blown skiing, and marks quite an achievement for your first days in the sport. Practice first on the flattering nursery slopes above Termignon, and once you’ve bagged L’Escargot, move up in the world to the Girade and Forestiere blues, which wind between trees to deliver you back into the village for a celebratory chocolate chaud. With recent seasons seeing less than a quarter of the people here than in Val D’Isere on a peak day, there’s usually a lot more space and time to progress. Look out for special Beginner passes that cover a number of chairs, button lifts and the Val Cenis Le Haut gondola for a lot less dosh than the main pass.

Over 200,000 Euros have recently been poured into making this even more of a family hotspot, kitting the place out especially well for young beginners and bagging this the “Most improved Family Ski resort” gong at the World Snow Awards 2014. Even better news if you’re bringing youngsters for their first experience of the slopes - the discounted child’s ski pass here has been known to stretch to 21-year old “children” in recent years. Sparkly new fun zones like the Pirates and Princesses area at Beaudin have also magically appeared, which is built around a huge castle of snow and has a monitored Snowpark for some whole-family freestyling. If you’d rather leave these new-fangled courses to the nippers, the recently laid Sweet Green run’s just one of several massive motorway slopes, where you can hone technique on a 3km stretch without having to catch a lift. Gear up for another go with a vin chaud pitstop in Doucy at the bottom…

Quiet, easy-going and snow sure – the runs in La Ros meet a new skier’s criteria swimmingly and they’re served by top notch British school Elite ski, and the English-speaking Evolution. Specialised ski clinics will have you over the border snaffling pizza in La Thuile before the week’s out - quite a boast when you’re back in Blighty (friends don’t have to know you took the draglift if you find the trails too daunting). Thanks to south-facing slopes, it’s France not Italy for once which catches the sun in this part of the world, which you’ll enjoy even if you don’t actually end up straying far from the nursery slopes. These and the ski school rendezvous point have cleverly been built shouldering the village, so you never have to trudge too far in your unfamiliar kit to get started. Sure, choice for progression isn’t huge, but the softies next to the Clarines and Lievre Blanc drag lifts are great for conquering stopping and turning –and it’s the manageability of this resort that makes it so appealing.

Our favourite thing about L2A for beginners is that it’s an upside down resort: While in other resorts the beginner terrain’s near the base, here some of the easiest runs are right at the top – letting learners enjoy the most snow sure slopes and some gloriously scenic skiing. To top it off, 5 of the button lifts are free to use – check with your instructor whether it’s worth holding off on the bigger ski pass while you get to grips on these and you’ll save some euros, making your first ski trip even better. It doesn’t end here – look out for the ‘Slow Zone’ sign which marks patrolled pistes where you can perfect the snowplough in peace and quiet. There are bundles of easy runs on the glacier - the 8km run Jandri down to the village is great first thing in the day, but as it turns into a stream of skiers when lifts start closing, we’d say the best bet down is the gondola.

There's no denying that France is one of the best countries in the world when it comes to learning to ski - the British ski schools, dedicated slow slopes and presence of free learner lifts make progressing on the piste a fun and easy experience.

If you'd like to expand your search to other skiing nations, our list of the Best Beginner Resorts Worldwide will show you our favourite places to learn on the planet - including a handful of French resorts, besides ones from Austria, North America and even Finland.


← online or call ↴
020 3472 8899
more