There’s nothing quite like feeling fresh snow beneath your skis for the first time. That, paired with the simple pleasures of breathing in the crisp mountain air and relaxing during après-ski sessions, makes first-time skiing a spectacular experience that is hard to beat.
If you're new to skiing, our list of the best ski resorts for beginners offers a great starting point. These luxury ski resorts cater to beginners, from adults to children. They provide a comfortable environment to learn and explore the slopes without feeling intimidated by difficult runs or challenging pistes.
How to Choose the Right Beginner Ski Resort
Here at Oxford Ski Company, we understand the importance of finding the perfect resort when skiing for the first time or with beginners. From the slopes themselves to luxury accommodations and exciting non-skiing activities, there are several factors to consider when looking at the best ski resorts for beginners.
The piste classification system denotes the difficulty of pistes and is fairly standardised around the world. Make sure you take note of the following to ensure you stick to easier slopes and gentle pistes.
Resorts with a high percentage of red or black runs may not be the best choice for a beginner’s skiing holiday. Look for a ski resort with plenty of gentle green and blue runs to explore and enjoy. Nursery slopes and good-quality ski schools are another must for beginners, so it's worth choosing resorts that offer this.
Best Ski Resorts for Beginners in France
Located in the Savoie region of France, family-friendly les Arcs is one of the best ski resorts for beginners in France. Here, you can enjoy direct access to the Paradiski area slopes and over 445km of pistes to explore. Beginners will be spoilt for choice with a fantastic range of nursery slopes as well as blue runs to try once they have built up confidence.
Resort elevation: 1800 - 2100 m
Top ski school: New Generation
Slopes: 8% Green, 45% Blue
Non-ski activities: Mille8 Aquatic and Fitness Centre - an enormous complex with indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, massage jets, a gym and a spa area.
Luxury ski accommodation in les Arcs: Bear Lodge Resort, located in Les Arcs, is made up of 12 chalet apartments and 30 hotel bedrooms offering the privacy of a luxury ski chalet combined with access to the first-class facilities of a hotel. The complex itself is situated just a few minutes walk from Arc 1950, a lively village peppered with shops, bars, cafés and restaurants. Other features at the Bear Lodge include:
- A range of chalet apartments, sleeping between four and 12 guests.
- Spacious living areas.
- Balconies with glorious mountain views.
- Access to a shared bar, /lounge area, gym, swimming pool and spa.
Positioned adjacent to Les Arcs, la Plagne is a purpose-built resort that features 10 villages in the Savoie Region. These charming and friendly villages are the perfect choice for a family holiday with a vast number of beginner pistes. You will find lovely nursery slopes and wide, gentle runs ideally located in front of chalets with ski-in ski-out access. The double-decker Vanoise Express cable car provides access between the la Plagne and Les Arcs in just four minutes.
Resort elevation: 1800 - 2100 m
Top ski school: Oxygene
Slopes: 8% Green, 45% Blue
Non-ski activities: Paragliding, ice skating and bobsleighing - La Plagne is home to the only bobsleigh and skeleton track in France after hosting the Albertville Olympic Games in 1992.
Luxury ski accommodation in la Plagne: Chalet Juliette is a great choice for large groups and families looking for a bigger space to relax in. This luxury ski chalet sleeps up to 15 guests and is complete with stunning features such as:
- A ski-in/ski-out location.
- Sauna and hot tub.
- South-facing balcony with stunning mountain views.
La Tania is situated between Méribel and Courchevel and is perfect for skiing with access to the vast Three Valleys area. The village is traffic free and has great facilities for families and beginners of all ages with some excellent ski schools to help get you started. There are a number of tree-lined pistes running through the centre of town, and many of the chalets offer ski-in ski-out access to the slopes - making it quicker and easier to get out and practice your snow plough!
Resort elevation: 1350 m
Top ski school: Supreme Ski
Slopes: 19% Green, 38% Blue
Non-ski activities: Snowshoeing through the forest.
Luxury ski accommodation in la Tania: Chalet Belvedere is a private, luxury ski-in ski-out chalet, perfectly positioned on the edge of the Moretta Blanche piste. With floor-to-ceiling windows and breathtaking mountain views, you can expect a spacious and intimate atmosphere. You can also expect luxury amenities such as:
- Secluded outdoor jacuzzi
- Sauna with rain shower
- Stunning balconies and a terrace
- Cinema room
Val d’Isère is an essential skiing location, beginner or not. With a top altitude of 3,400 metres, it is higher than most European ski resorts and incredibly snowsure. This luxury ski resort is home to Europe’s largest snow-making facility and boasts some great features for beginners, including a brand new travelator which will take you to the top of the newly flattened Solaise mountain. This is absolutely ideal for building up confidence without sidestepping your way to the top or tackling steep downhills to get home. An abundance of ski instructors and schools are also on hand to help, so let us advise you on the best one to suit your needs.
Resort elevation: 1850 m
Top ski schools: Oxygene and New Generation
Slopes: 15% Green, 42% Blue
Non-ski activities: Swimming at the indoor pools in Le Centre Aquasportif and ice skating in the rink at the centre of the village.
Luxury ski accommodation in Val d'Isère: With a quirky design and contemporary, luxury features, Chalet Husky is one of the top properties in Val d'Isère. This chalet sleeps up to 14 guests in a total of seven sumptuously designed bedrooms and offers stunning luxury features and amenities such as:
- Private indoor pool
- Sauna, steam room, and Hammam
- Private gym and massage room
- Indoor climbing wall
- Indoor garden
- Heated boot room
With two separate nursery areas, 8 green pistes and 25 blue pistes, Méribell is ideal for beginners and novice skiers alike. In fact, millions of euros were dedicated to redesigning the beginner-only area at Méribel-Mottaret in 2016. For those who have mastered the basics, we recommend the green beginner run, Little Himalaya, or head to the two ‘Zen Zones’. These are easy slopes dedicated to learners where you can practice your turns in peace and quiet.
Resort elevation: 1450 - 1700m
Top ski schools: Oxygene and New Generation
Slopes: 13% Green, 38% Blue
Non-ski activities: Snow shoe walks, heliskiing, and ice skating
Luxury ski accommodation in Méribel: Hotel le Coucou is situated on the slope-side at the foot of le Rond-Point des pistes with fantastic ski-in/ ski-out access in Méribel. This five-star hotel offers unrivaled access to the heart of the Three Valleys. Designed with a light and airy feel throughout, it is a relaxing and calming place to stay. Hotel Le Coucou boasts fantastic facilities that includes an extensive wellness area within the Tata Harper spa with an indoor and outdoor pool which overlooks the stunning mountain peaks beyond.
Best Luxury Ski Resorts for Beginners in Switzerland
The sunny, adjoining villages of Crans-Montana create a special resort that is perfect for beginners. You can enjoy lessons on the snow-covered golf course or marvel at the breathtaking views and mountain scenery. With vistas that span Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and the Rhone Valley, as well as a ski area that’s geared up for skiers of all abilities, Crans-Montana ticks all the boxes for one of the best luxury ski resorts for beginners.
Resort elevation: 1500 m
Top ski schools: Ecole de Ski Suisse Crans
Slopes: 39% Blue
Non-ski activities: Walks on the golf course & Guarda Golf Spa.
Luxury ski accommodation in Crans-Montana: Le Crans Hotel & Spa is a truly exceptional property that exemplifies luxury ski hotels in Switzerland. It enjoys an elevated position above the town, with beautiful far-reaching views. Le Crans is built in a chalet style but offers 15 luxurious rooms making it a traditional boutique hotel. Some luxury features and amenities include:
- Indoor pool.
- Spa area and fitness centre.
- Wine bar.
- Cigar lounge.
- Two restaurants, one of which is Michelin-starred.
Klosters has been the winter vacation destination of the British royal family for more than three decades now with both Prince William and Prince Harry learning to ski here. World-class pistes provide a remarkable variety of runs and, whilst it is famed for its impressive collection of long, wide intermediate pistes, beginners are well catered for with a number of gentle pistes near the resort. Progression is easy with the longer ‘Barnet’ blue piste nearby as you become more confident.
Resort elevation: 1190 m
Top ski schools: Swiss Ski & Snowboard School Klosters
Slopes: 20% Blue
Non-ski activities: Tobogganing on the 8.5km run, Snowshoeing.
Luxury ski accommodation in Klosters: Chalet Eugenia - a charming and private luxury chalet with the atmosphere of a grand family home in the mountains. You can expect luxury features such as:
- 12m Indoor Pool with swim jet
- Massage room and Suana
- Extensive Wine Cellar
- Cinema Room
- Private Garden
- Study and Office
Best Luxury Ski Resorts for Beginners in Austria
St. Anton is famed across Europe for its challenging pistes and has achieved almost cult status among the world’s most advanced skiers. For these reasons, it may be wrongly disregarded by beginners. This amazing resort offers roughly 40% of groomed pistes that are suitable for beginners. With one of Europes best ski schools, St. Anton is a great place for children to get their ski legs. First-time skiers can enjoy reliable snow and a sunny location, making a day on the slopes much more comfortable. Off the slopes, superb dining options, luxury accommodation, and historic charm ensure this will be the perfect beginner’s holiday.
Resort elevation: 1305 m
Top ski schools: Ski School Arlberg
Slopes: 39% Blue
Non-ski activities: Arlgberg Wellness Centre
Luxury ski accommodation in St. Anton: Raffl’s St Antoner Hof - A luxury five-star hotel that is nestled in the heart of St Anton’s picturesque Tyrolean village. With luxurious rooms and suites, you can also expect features such as:
- Traditional hotel spa.
- A number of restaurants.
- Suites with open-plan bathrooms and fireplaces.
- Two luxury vehicles to pick you up and drop you off.
Best Luxury Ski Resorts for Beginners in Italy
San Cassiano is a bustling resort and one of the best luxury ski resorts in Europe for beginners. Forming part of the Sella Ronda circuit, and situated in the Alta Badia region of northern Italy, San Cassiano offers easy skiing for first-timers whilst also catering for those that are more advanced skiers.
Resort elevation: 1540 m
Top ski schools: Scola Ski Dolomites
Slopes: 53% Blue
Non-ski activities: Cross-country skiing, tobogganing, and walking tours of the local area.
Luxury ski accommodation in San Cassiano: Hotel Ciasa Salares is a traditional property bursting with Italian charm and character. The hotel is home to four in-house restaurants, as well as a Cheese Room and Chocolate Room with over 120 different types of chocolate available to try. The hotel’s Beauty SPA Vives is the perfect place to relax, with fantastic facilities including:
- Indoor and outdoor saunas.
- Thermal baths.
- Indoor swimming pool.
- Numerous cabins offering a wide variety of beauty treatments.
Cervinia is a similar high-altitude resort with spectacular alpine scenery. It’s located on the Italian side of the famous Matterhorn, and when coupled with Zermatt in Switzerland, the resort offers over 350km of varied pistes to explore. As well as plenty of beginner skiing action, Cervinia also offers a variety of non-ski activities for beginners who fancy a break away from the slopes after their first couple of lessons.
Resort elevation: 2050 m
Top ski schools: Breuil Cervinia Ski School
Slopes: 31% Blue
Non-ski activities: Snowshoeing, dog sledging, and paragliding.
Luxury ski accommodation in Cervinia: Chalet La Fenice is perched 60 meters above the resort on a plateau. Here, you will have breathtaking views of the Matterhorn from most rooms and terraces in the chalet. Laid out over six floors, and connected by an elevator, the standout luxury features include:
- Indoor swimming pool
- Outdoor steel Jacuzzi
- Cinema room
- Games room with state-of-the-art Prosimu Formula 1 racing and flight simulator.
Best Ski Resorts for Beginners in North America
Snowmass is a superb resort for beginners with excellent facilities and programs that get complete novices skiing with ease, adults or children. For adults, the Beginners Magic Group lessons help with everything from finding the right gear to making your way down the mountain with confidence. The three-day accelerated learning program taught by top pros will have you skiing in no time. Children are also well catered for with superb facilities and kids-orientated trails and terrain.
Resort elevation: 2473 m
Top ski schools: Aspen Snowmass Ski & Snowboard School
Slopes: 10% Green, 45% Blue
Non-ski activities: Enjoying the village arts centre and museum and boutique shopping in Aspen.
Luxury ski accommodation in Snowmass: Viceroy Snowmass is a sophisticated and modern hotel with a fantastic ski-in ski-out location. With luxurious rooms that range from studios to four-bedroom residences, you can also enjoy:
- Two fine dining options.
- Outdoor swimming pool.
- Hot tubs.
- Fire pit.
- 650sqm spa.
- Wellness experiences.
Vail is ultra-safety conscious and a perfect option for beginners. Pistes are always very well marked, making it almost impossible for you to venture out-of-bounds. Vail is a large resort and has plenty of room on the slopes – a definite bonus when you are learning to ski. Unlike many resorts with the learner slopes at the bottom of the mountain, Vail sends beginners straight to the top in a Gondola. Here, the relatively flat top allows you to get to grips with your skis whilst enjoying spectacular views.
Resort elevation: 2500 m
Top ski schools: Vail Ski & Snowboard School
Slopes: 18% Green, 29% Blue
Non-ski activities: Snowmobiling
Luxury ski accommodation in Vail: The Residences at the Four Seasons offer the highest standard of luxurious accommodation in Vail. The residences form part of the main Four Seasons hotel, ideally located in Vail Village. The Four Seasons exclusive, indoor ski concierge is a fantastic service. Located at the base of the Vista Bahn chairlift, just a short walk or shuttle from the hotel, making getting from and to the slopes very easy.
Whistler has several high altitude trails (such as Burnt Stew Trail at 211m) which is perfect for groups of mixed ability and comes with impressive 360-degree views. Green trails run all the way down to the village which gives beginners a special ‘whole mountain’ experience. If you need some assistance getting started, there is a plethora of expert ski instructors on hand to point you in the right direction.
Resort elevation: 675 m
Top ski schools: Whistler Ski & Snowboard School
Slopes: 18% Green, 55% Blue
Non-ski activities: Zip Trek
Luxury ski accommodation in Whistler: Esha is a truly opulent chalet in the exclusive Kadenwood neighbourhood of Whistler offering ski-in/ski-out access, stunning views and an envious list of facilities. The Kadenwood area is serviced by a private gondola, which is just 50 metres from the chalet for easy access to the area for skiers and non-skiers alike.