Beginner Ski Resorts

The best ski resorts for learning to ski.

Les 2 Alpes

Glacier Skiing, Awesome après, Loads to do

Great for:

  • Nightlife
  • Off Piste
  • Groups

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Soldeu El Tarter

Most terrain in Andorra, English speaking ski school...

Great for:

  • Beginners
  • Relaxed intermediates
  • Progressing freestylers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Ellmau

Varied terrain, Part of the Ski Welt, Austria’s fast...

Great for:

  • Beginners
  • Alpine village charm
  • Families

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Lech

Some of the best snow in Austria , Traditional charm...

Great for:

  • Luxury
  • High Altitudes
  • Powder snow

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Bansko

Ski World Cup slopes, Traditional architecture, Bulga...

Great for:

  • Beginners
  • Night Skiing
  • Cheap ski holiday

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Meribel

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

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Breckenridge

Huge ski area, Picturesque historic town, Great non-s...

Great for:

  • Late season
  • Après ski
  • Groups

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

La Plagne

Paradiski Ski Area, Bobsledding, High Altitude Skiing

Great for:

  • Beginners
  • Glacier Skiing
  • Off Piste

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Saas Fee

Traditional pedestrianised resort , Dramatic setting...

Great for:

  • Late season
  • Families
  • Snow sure

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Levi

Bucket list destination , Meet Santa, Great food

Great for:

  • Families
  • Beginners
  • Non-ski activities

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Top 10 Most Popular

All resorts have something for beginners, but these ones have thought of EVERYTHING – then added their own personal touches for good measure. With acclaimed ski schools at the helm, you couldn’t be in better hands for your first week on the snow.
Find your ski legs in dedicated learning areas, then move onto pistes that are cherry picked (sometimes completely reserved) for your level. Learn to ski or board in one of the best resorts on the planet, and let’s just say following ski holidays will have a lot to live up to…

Top 10 Ski Resorts for Beginners

Sometimes it seems like all the easy runs are down in the foothills, while everyone else enjoys the best views and snow conditions higher up. Not so in L2A – where the wonderfully ‘upside down’ nature of the area plonks the gentlest slopes right at the top. It gets better: five of the nursery slope lifts are free, so wait until your instructor thinks you’re ready before buying a ski pass and you can save some pretty pennies. Take the Jandri Express 1 and you’ll reach the fabulously high beginners area, where ski schools get things started on nursery slopes and benevolent greens. More ‘Slow Tranquille’ zones are popping up every time we visit, where it’s all about skiing slowly and building confidence; there’s even one on the glacier where you’ll be snowploughing on some of the most snow sure terrain in the world – no grassy green runs here.

Brits have been learning to ski in Andorra for yonks – it’s cheap and easy-going, but more importantly the level of instruction’s spectacular. Take the main lift out of Soldeu and you’ll find yourself right in front of the ski school, where English-speaking instructors (most of them British born and bred) teach on beginner-only pistes. In recent years, over a billion euros has gone into giving Grandvalira the same top shelf facilities as the big guns in France – and it shows: check out the circus themed children’s area above El Tarter, where 500 meters of fun features make those first few turns magical and exciting. When you’ve perfected the pizza turns, easy-going blues are scattered all over the place – we love the Bosc Fosc that takes a leisurely swerving route through the forested areas to Soldeu, and the equally cruisey Esquirol into El Tarter – two perfect ways to end a day on the hill.

Pretty little Ellmau’s eight beginner slopes are set on the pastures around the village – they give a cracking view over the snow-topped village, and are a short walk from most of the hotels to boot. Little learners are introduced to the snow in the ‘Kinderland’ by the Kirchbichl lift, where forgiving slopes are equipped with magic carpets, diddy slaloms and refreshment stops. Then it’s onwards and upwards on the new Hartkaiserbahn (we love the heated seats), where easy blues lead off in all directions. We like to ski the ones under the Kaiser Express and Ellmis chairs, before winding through the trees and back to base for an all-important hot chocolate.

Bridget got it all wrong when she 'skied' here in The Edge of Reason – a few sessions of world class schooling with the Arlberg Skischule would’ve seen her gliding down that mountain with perfect poise… They’d have taught her the basics on the set of beginner-only T-bars behind the old church, where the gentle, short slopes are part of the golf course in the summer (for an idea how gentle we’re talking). Then she’d have been up and away on the Schlegelkoph chair, to coast down the longer pistes from Oberlech on the other side of town. This area’s all about wide, long cruisers, where you can get into a rhythm and hone technique without too much stopping and starting. Plus the snow quality’s fabulous, so having to contend with ice or slush is a rarity. At least the royals got it right – this is where Wills and Harry took their first ski holiday, and if it’s good enough for them…

From lessons and lift passes to après and accommodation, everything’s cheaper over here - so your first ski trip needn’t cost mountains. But that’s not to say you scrimp on quality: The ULEN and Pirin 2000 ski schools have terrific English-speaking instructors and use a brilliantly gentle patch by the forest to teach the basics. When these are conquered, the ski area’s just the right size and shape – not too big that it becomes overwhelming, but with enough blues to explore the best of the mountain. And from Bansko’s windy forest routes to the open runs that gaze over the Pirin peaks, all point in the same direction, making navigation a breeze. To cap it all, not many resorts have a homeward run so ego-boostingly long (10km!), smooth and downright pretty – and nothing beats ending a ski day on a high.

There are lots of Brits here, from the regulars who visit each year to the ski schools who’ve made Meri their home – so being the only English learner in your group or having to translate your instructor’s Franglais needn’t be a worry. This lets you enjoy the beginner’s offerings to the fullest, and boy are they good: Three ZEN Zones in the Platieres, Chatelet and Mottaret areas are reserved solely for first-timers, where you’re able to find your ski legs without worrying about being mowed down by speed-kings OR having to spend a cent, as access is usually free. For little learners, the Moon Wild area is a chance to discover local wildlife whilst enjoying the snow and the Acticross is the perfect place to test out small jumps, bumps and a mini-slalom. And when the time’s right, you’re in the heart of one of the world’s largest ski areas which means the choice of lovely blues and meandering lanes is limitless.

Breck’s roomy groomers and enthusiastic instructors make for an incredible first week on the white stuff. There are SO many beginner runs here – and the best of them can be found on Peak 9. Head halfway up the mountain and it’s all about the greens: take the QuickSilver chair for the long and sweeping Frontier as well as Riperoo’s forest, where you can follow arrows between trees, over bridges and through igloos. Head up top to link onto them from glorious sweeping blues, the kind of wide, open motorway runs Breck’s so loved for. The Bonzano Zone is speed controlled solely for the purpose of letting you practice at your own pace. This alone is more than your average ski resort, but it doesn’t end here. Peak 8 also has some corkers – the Four O’clock is a favourite that carries you right into town, while Peaks 7 and 6 are pretty much entirely covered in blue runs.

Learners progress quickly in LP, where instructors nurture nursery slope novices to confident blue-run cruisers in double-quick time. There are ski schools and protected beginner’s areas in each of the main villages, meaning no big treks between breakfast and lessons. And with the altitude of the villages in mind, snow cover’s usually great, with access to the rest of the ski area a breeze. This ease of getting around is a huge bonus, as you’ll soon be itching to explore surrounding blues. From Centre, the Colorado chair unveils two flattering groomers while Soleil’s Bergerie chair serves Ecartée, where you can get some speed up without leaving your comfort zone. The clever folk at the ticket office recently came up with the ‘Cool Ski Pass’, which allows access to these and other of the smoothest pistes in the area - favourites include the Gentil to Plagne Montalbert and the Mont Blanc to Montchavin, which is nice and long for building up a rhythm.

Pouring into a snowy bowl and surrounded by Switzerland’s highest peaks, Saas-Fee has some of the most snow-sure and scenic beginner skiing on the planet. The fondues aren’t bad either, and with a chocolate-box village to call home, we’ll eat our helmets if you don’t fall in love with Alpine life. Independent ski schools (like Brit-run Optimum) abound - using smoothly sloping nursery runs and the cool Kid’s Village area for starters, then moving you onto the main area when you’ve mastered the art of the snowplough. Here, blues trails wiggle their way across open white expanses and dip down through the trees, delivering you back to base when it’s time for that fondue...

Levi’s not your typical ski resort, but that’s why we like it. Rather than towering peaks, you’re skiing unintimidating fells – where most of the runs are blue, and all of them are groomed to perfection. The family area is fabulous, with fun pistes and a Lappish “kota” tepee (where you can grill sausages over the fire – genius) and they’ve also placed warming fire pits and resting points at the end of most runs. The fact that this is a big Winter Wonderland destination has two big advantages: Firstly, with most visitors here for the Lapland experience, the slopes are often wonderfully empty which sees confidence soar. Secondly, there are always other things to do if you need a break from skiing or decide it’s not for you – from meeting Santa to reindeer safaris and husky rides.

When choosing the best resort in which to learn, focus on the reason why you're going. Pick a beginner friendly ski resort.
So what makes a great beginners' ski area?
• Specially designated nursery slopes, where everyone must ski carefully (in Meribel they're called "Zen Zones" and help to make your first snowplough a fun affair).
• Highly recommended beginner ski schools where you can choose between the more cost effective group lessons and the more personal attention of private lessons.
• Free lifts on the nursery slopes (so you don't pay for a huge area lift pass that you won't use for the first few days), in places like Val d'Isere, Alpe d'Huez, Tignes and the free beginners magic carpet in Chamonix.
For an in-depth look at the best beginner resorts in each country, see our Top Tens in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria.

If you're looking for a cheap place to learn to ski, then consider not only the price of the package holiday, but all of the extras too.

The very cheapest ski resorts for beginners are those in the eastern European countries, like Bulgaria and Slovenia, where the price of your ski holiday is kept right down because the extras like equipment rental and lessons are also much cheaper than in the rest of the world.

For a less budget approach, consider learning to ski in a resort with Club Med, whose all inclusive approach to ski holidays means that your food, drink, lift pass and even lessons are included in your holiday, leaving only your ski/boot rental to add to the price.


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