It is no surprise, that we believe a ski holiday is a wonderful thing. Blue skies, glistening snow and the feeling of flying down a piste can be truly exhilarating. However, for the beginner, that feeling of exhilaration might be replaced with nervousness (or even outright trepidation if you have never skied before). But do not let that feeling put you off a skiing holiday... it is not all ‘black pistes’ and ‘Olympic downhill ski runs’ at every resort. We know the mountains well and using our knowledge we can recommend the very best resort to suit you and your needs. Whether you are a complete novice or getting your skis legs back after a few years off, here are 9 beginner friendly resorts we recommend.
This purpose built resort features 10 villages and is situated in the Savoie Region, between the borders of Italy and Switzerland. The villages exude the charm and friendly ambience of traditional Savoyard hamlets and are the perfect choice for a family holiday with a vast number of beginner pistes. You will find some lovely wide, gentle runs and nursery slopes, many of which are ideally located in front of chalets allowing for ski-in ski-out access.
A perfect village for skiing with access to the vast Three Valleys ski area, situated between Méribel and Courchevel. 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, which means 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!
An essential feature of any ski holiday, beginner or not, is plenty of snow and Val d’Isere will not disappoint. With a top altitude of 3,400 metres it is higher than most European ski resorts, ensuring good snowfall most winters. In addition, it is home to Europe’s largest snow making facility so there will be no shortage of the white stuff. As well as great snow, Val d'Isere boasts some great features for beginners, including a brand new travelator which will take you to the top of the newly flattened Solaise mountain – absolutely ideal for building up your confidence without having to sidestep your way to the top or tackle 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.
With two separate nursery areas, 8 green pistes and 25 blue pistes, Meribel is ideal for beginners and novice skiers alike. Millions of euros were spent in 2016 redesigning the beginner-only area at Meribel-Mottaret. If you have mastered the basics, then try the green beginner run called Little Himalaya or head to the two ‘Zen Zones’ which are easy slopes dedicated to learners where you can practice your turns in peace and quiet. There are excellent ski schools including Oxygène who offer lessons to all ages and abilities.
Snowmass is a superb resort for beginners with excellent facilities and well thought out programs to get even complete novices, adults or children, skiing confidently. 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.
Photo courtesy of Miguel Vieira - Flickr
Ski resorts in the US tend to be ultra safety conscious, which makes them great for beginners, and Vail is no exception in this regard. 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 for everyone – more room on the slopes is a definite bonus when you are learning to ski. Unlike many resorts which have the learner slopes at the bottom of the mountain, Vail sends beginners straight to the top in a Gondola, where the relatively flat top allows you to get to grips with your skis whilst enjoying spectacular views.
Unlike many mountains where beginners are restricted to the top or bottom, Whistler has several high altitude trails (such as Burnt Stew Trail at 2115 metres) 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 ‘whole mountain’ experience that can be missing elsewhere. You will feel an immense sense of satisfaction skiing all the way from the top to the bottom of a mountain, which will help give you the confidence to progress your skiing skills as a beginner! And if you need some assistance getting started there is a plethora of expert ski instructors on hand to point you in the right direction.
Famed across Europe for its challenging pistes and achieving almost cult status among the world’s most advanced skiers, you might disregard St. Anton as a resort for beginners. That would be a shame however, as this is an amazing resort with roughly 40% of the groomed pistes suitable for beginners. You will enjoy reliable snow and a location which catches the sun (making a day on the slopes much more comfortable) as well as access to great ski schools. Off the slopes, superb dining options, luxury accommodation and historic charm ensure this will be a beginner’s holiday that leaves you wanting to come back for more.
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. Tuition is available courtesy of some great ski schools making this a great destination for your first ski holiday.
The piste classification system which denotes the difficulty of pistes is fairly standardised around the world but just to be on the safe side make sure you take note of the following to ensure you don’t get into a tricky situation.
To find out more about any of these beginner friendly resorts and to book your next (or first!) ski holiday, call our team of ski specialists on +44 1993 899 420 or click here for more contact information.