Ski Resorts For Beginners: 10 Of The Best Beginner Ski Resorts
Here are the best ski resorts for beginners, and those still getting to grips with skiing.
It's easy to forget when you've reached a decent standard on planks, but skiing can be a pretty daunting experience for the beginner. During the technique-honing and basics-mastering phase, you certainly don't want to be tearing uncontrollably down vertical black runs and icy cliff-faces. You want to take it easy. You want to practice in a controlled environment, on gentle slopes, where you're less likely to hurt yourself or others. What you want is this list of best ski resorts for beginners.
And so, with that in mind, where in the world are the best places to go skiing if you're a complete beginner? Let's face it. There's no point running before you can walk, or in this case ski, so you're best off giving Wyoming's challenging Jackson Hole resort a wide berth while you're still a rookie. Spend a week in one of the following locations instead, and you'll spend more time learning to ski and less time falling over and cursing the sky in frustration.
Make sure you check out the best skis for beginners here.
Best Ski Resorts For Beginners
1) Ski In The UK
What on earth are you talking about Mpora? Why are you wasting my time with these crazy suggestions? I'm looking for places where I can learn to ski, and develop my beginner skills, here. I haven't got time for your editorial nonsense.
First and foremost, if that was your reaction to our first suggestion, you need to take your beans and put them in the fridge for a few hours until they're nice and chilled.
The United Kingdom, for your information, is chockablock with indoor snow centres and dry slopes perfectly suited to your initial learning (and that's before we even get into the whole subject of skiing in Scotland). These British winter sports centres offer lessons ideal for a variety of needs, don't require you to go on a Lord of the Rings style mission to the Alps, and allow you to pick-up entry-level technique before your holiday/vacation/season in the mountains has even begun.
Everyone knows that there's no better feeling than showing up at the ocean without your armbands, because you've already done all of the basics in a paddling pool in your back garden. Yes, we're mixing metaphors and sports here. Just go with it.
2) Soldeu, Andorra
As well as being the home to a football team that even England are capable of beating on a fairly regular basis the tiny country of Andorra (population: 80,000), sandwiched between France and Spain, is also home to one of the best beginner ski resorts in Europe.
The terrain at Soldeu is excellent, especially if you're a beginner who's just starting out or an intermediate wanting to get to grips with specific of aspects of your technique. The ski school here also has a well-reputed British section perfect for English-speaking visitors.
Soldeu sits in the heart of a beautiful wooded valley, and is a great destination for first-time skiers who want to ditch the rookie tag. For more information on this resort, pay a visit to the Soldeu website.
3) Winklmoosalm-Steinplatte, Germany
The ski area of Winklmoosalm-Steinplatte, situated in the centre of the Chiemgau Alps, offers a wide variety of slopes, cross-country ski runs, and romantic winter hiking trails. For beginners, and family units, it's absolutely ideal.
Those learning to ski here are free to explore the gentle slopes of Winklmoosalm, a one hour drive from Munich, at their own leisure. The more experienced skiers, and those beginners efficiently getting to grips with the basics, are advised to hit the more challenging pistes of the Steinplatte.
Check out the Winklmoosalm-Steinplatte website, if you'd like to know more.
4) La Plagne, France
La Plagne, in the French Alps, has built up a great reputation over the years for being a resort that's perfectly suited to the needs of skiing beginners. Of the 132 pistes located at La Plagne, 10 of them are green and 73 of them are blue. What this means, in a nutshell, is that you'll be able to easily mix-up where you practice without feeling the need to hop on a black or red before you're confident enough to do so.
Another great thing about La Plagne is the quality of ski school on offer. The Ecole Du Ski Francais (aka The ESF), for example, have a good reputation for developing skiers and are worth hooking up with if you want to take your skiing to a new level. For more information on the resort in general, check out the La Plagne website.
5) Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Kranjska Gora is a beautiful small resort, in Slovenia's Julian Alps. It's well-suited for ski resort for families and beginners looking to cement their confidence on the slopes. Everything in Kranjska Gora is geared towards making your entry-level ski experience as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. And, what's more, it's also great value for money.
The Kranjska Gora Ski School has an excellent reputation, so it might be worth tapping them up if you're a rookie skier who doesn't know you're "pizza" from your "french fries." For those quick-learning beginners, Kranjska Gora is home to a number of more challenging runs, including a famous black run used for FIS World Cup races. If you'd like to know more about skiing in this part of Slovenia, check out the Kranjska Gora website.
6) Pamporovo, Bulgaria
Pamporovo is ideal for those people new to skiing, and the ones who aren't that fussed about speeding down steep runs at supersonic speeds. The gentle profile of the Rhodope mountains, with their softly curved slopes and summits, make it an accommodating place to learn how to ski. That being said, if you're the type of beginner who quickly gets bored of nursery slopes, Pamporovo does offer its visitors an extremely difficult ski run known rather ominously as "The Wall."
Pamporovo claims to be the sunniest ski resort in Bulgaria, offering the skiers who go there an almost unprecedented 270 days of sunshine every year. If you thought that might impact on the snow quality in Pamporovo, fear not. The resort has a whole heap of snow-making machines, meaning you're virtually always guaranteed good pistes to practice transforming those plough-turns into parallels. If you'd like to know more about this Bulgarian resort, have a look at the Ski Pamporovo website.
7) Val di Fassa, Italy
The Dolomites are arguably the world's most beautiful mountains so, in terms of scenery, beginner skiers new to the area are in for a real treat whenever they stop to rest their aching legs. Val di Fassa itself is made up of seven resorts including Campitello, and Pozza di Fassa. These resorts surround the Sella Ronda, which is part of Dolomiti Superski (the largest ski area in Europe - offering action sports enthusiasts an incredible 1,200km of piste to get stuck into).
The rugged peaks of the Sella Massif, which have been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, have created a wide variety of red runs making the Dolomites an ideal area for beginners looking to push themselves into the intermediate category. If you're a total newbie, and that all sounds a little bit frightening, there's also plenty of low-gradient slopes and nursery runs that will help skiing beginners to build up confidence levels at their own pace. For more information, hop on over to the Val di Fassa website.
8) Beitostølen, Norway
Beitostølen is one of the best beginner and family-friendly ski resorts in Europe. Just 45 minutes from the nearest airport, the slopes here are well-groomed, quiet, and gentler than a softly-played acoustic guitar on a chilled-out Sunday morning.
The instructors at the superb local ski school (Beitostølen Ski School) all speak fluent English, and are brilliant at looking after the younger ones. The village itself is rather sedate, and easy to get round. Speaking of navigation, the mountain is laid-out in such an instantly understandable way that the chances of you/or your children getting lost in the wilderness are small to non-existent. To discover more about this Norwegian ski resort, pay a visit to the Beitostølen website.
9) Jasná, Slovakia
Whether you're just starting out, an intermediate, or a full-on expert, there's something for everyone at the Slovakian ski resort of Jasná. The resort is located in the beautifully scenic Low Tatras mountains, and offers a variety of excellent areas served by modern chairlifts and gondolas.
Those skiers looking for lessons will be happy to know that Jasná offers affordable ski instruction, from English-speaking instructors, which will help you get to grips with things in your first few days in the Slovakian mountains. There's 48,990 metres of piste across the Jasná ski resort, with almost 20,000 metres of this consisting of blue runs.
10) Alpe d'Huez, France
If you're looking for a great French ski resort in which to develop your skiing, you could do a lot worse than Alpe d'Huez. The gentle slopes here are well connected and easy to get to. Beginners will have plenty of opportunity to learn on the easy green runs, before progressing to the "piece o' cake" blues that are in close proximity to the resort. Those skiers in the more advanced brackets might want to try their luck on "The Tunnel", a seemingly endless steep black run.
Known as the "Island in the Sun", due to the fact it gets over 300 sunny days a year, Alpe d'Huez is one of the seven resorts that make up the Alpe d'Huez Grand Domaine. It offers access to the fifth largest ski area in France and was voted European Resort of the Year, at the World Snow Awards in 2015. For more useful information on the resort, take a look at the Alpe d'Huez website.