Looking for the best snowboarding resorts for beginners can be a pretty daunting task - particularly as a first timer without a clue where to start.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll accidentally book yourself in for a week on the face of Vallee Blanche, there is a lot of pre-holiday reading to plough through to narrow your choices down.
If you are looking for the best snowboarding resort for beginners, we are here to help. Have a look at this quick guide...
Alpe d'Huez, France
Being a purpose built ski resort, Alpe D’Huez fell victim to the architectural insipidness of the 60s and 70s and therefore errs on the unattractive side. However don’t let that put you off.
Its less glamorous reputation means that it doesn’t come with the hiked up prices the more exclusive resorts. And regardless of its aesthetics, the scenery is still stunning.
Alongside the plentiful gentle nursery slopes, there is a further 70km of beginner runs to master while you get a handle on the basics. There are plenty of steeper runs too which, although you might not want to venture to yourself, are perfect if you’re heading away with a mixed ability group.
Saas Fee, Switzerland
If you’ve never set foot in the Alps before, then frankly Saas Fee couldn’t offer a better introduction.
The picture perfect, car-free town is one of the best snowboarding resorts for beginners with beautiful scenery, slopes rising up to 3,600m and even a glacier for the warmer months to ensure a long snow season.
The beginner slopes are tucked away from the masses, giving an added sense of security while you find your feet.
While Bansko is a relatively new resort, it has recently seen a ton of investment put into its facilities and lift systems, putting it firmly on the European radar.
While it could never be described as extensive, which might put off the more advanced groups, for beginners it’s the perfect size to get to grips with resort life.
Not only does Bansko cater well for beginners, sitting in Bulgaria it’s still a rough diamond, so while it’s brimming with rustic charm, you can dodge the high prices you’d be expecting to pay in the Alps.
Cortina is often hailed as the ‘premier Italian ski resort’ with its classic Tyrolean charm attracting the chicest of Italy’s rich and famous.
Demographics aside, with 90 per cent of the runs having snow-making facilities and Cortina’s steely determination on grooming the pistes to perfection, the slopes are almost always guaranteed to be in tip top shape, ideal for those cruisey beginner runs.
Home to 55km of beginner runs, there should be plenty to keep you entertained for the week, but if your legs just really can’t handle any more snow ploughs, then joining the fur coat brigade for a spot of piste-side sunbathing would never be frowned upon.
Serre Chevalier, France
Serre Chevalier might not come with the glamour and exclusivity of some of the more prestigious resorts in France, but it is one of the best snowboarding resorts in the Alps minus the extortionate prices. With 137km of beginner runs, a first timer would be hard pushed to get bored here.
The best areas to check out are Lelleneuve and Chantelmerle, which both offer flat, wide spaces well away from the hectic more advanced area, allowing you to comfortably get to grips with the basics in a calmer environment.
Courcheval is reputed for being one of France’s most exclusive resorts, and is therefore home to an eclectic mix of holiday goers, most noticeably of the Russian oligarch variety.
If the thought of mogul fields haunt you, it’s rumoured that Courcheval spends a whopping 20,000 euros a night on piste grooming, plenty enough money to flatten out the worst of your nightmares and provide the perfect courduroy conditions.
Courcheval offers a special pass for 14 euros a day which covers just the beginner lifts; a great way to test the waters without completely off loading the contents of your wallet. If the skiing does all get just a little bit too much, then Courcheval is never short of a Michelin starred restaurant for a long, leisurely lunch.
Despite neighbouring Zermatt, Cervinia offers a much cheaper alternative to the renowned Swiss resort while still boasting views of the infamous Matterhorn.
With the piste altitude reaching 3,883m, Cervinia is known for being a snow sure resort and open longer than many other European resorts, therefore it’s a great place to pick up some early or late season deals.
To get your first taste of the snow head to Plan Maison where there is a hub of easy going blue runs to get you started.
The Espace Killy region is made up of Tignes and Val d’Isere, which between them boast 170km of beginner runs, making them some of the best snowboarding resorts in Europe.
If Val d’Isere is Cinderella, full of French charm and beauty, Tignes is comparatively the ugly sister. But while the high rise apartments of Tignes might not do it for you looks wise, bear in mind that it’s a cheaper option than Val d’Isere.
Home to four mountains, Aspen-Snowmass in USA has something for everyone, and most importantly a lot for beginners.
The aptly named mountain Buttermilk is where beginners should head. Although it’s not strictly for beginners and is actually most famous for hosting the X Games.
Its long and mellow slopes make it the ideal beginners playground for newbies to master the basics in a quieter environment.
Lech is hailed as one of the most beautiful resorts in Austria, full of charm and plenty of snow. The terrain consists of predominantly wide and gentle pistes, which is ideal for beginners.
If you’re a complete newbie, there’s good choice of nursery runs in Lech, close to the town so you don’t have to venture too far up the mountain until you’re feeling more confident. Once you’ve got the very basics sussed then move on to the Schlegelkpof II or Kriegerhornbahn lifts for a bit more variety.
Mount Bachelor, USA
Mount Bachelor could never be accused of not throwing themselves behind encouraging new riders onto the slopes.
Their ‘Ski or Ride In 5’ program is one of the most affordable beginners programmes in the USA and is designed for you ‘never-evers’ who have no previous experience on the snow.
The handy package includes five lessons, equipment rental, lift ticket, lessons and even a graduation gift, which means that you don’t have to worry about anything other than getting there.
Les Arcs, France
Over 50 per cent of Les Arcs pistes are beginner runs, and that doesn’t even take into account that in the unlikely event that you get bored of Les Arcs, you can easily zip over to explore La Plagne.
While you’ll find that most of the slopes are open and wide, for the best of beginner runs on offer head over to the area above Arcs 1800 or Peisey-Vallandry.