If you’re a beginner, there’s nothing quite like skiing for the first time. Feeling the fresh snow beneath your skis or learning the ropes whilst meeting like-minded people in ski schools. The simple beauty of breathing in the glorious mountain air or letting your hair down during an Après session. Whatever your reasons for visiting the Alps, there’s no doubt that skiing makes for a spectacular experience. For those of you who have yet to enjoy the magic of skiing, we’ve put together our list of some of the best ski resorts for beginners to learn in. These resorts are perfect for beginners and children who want to spend time getting to know the slopes without feeling too overwhelmed at the thought of navigating difficult runs or challenging pistes.
How to choose the right ski resort if you’re a beginner
There are a number of different things you will need to consider when looking at the best ski resorts for beginners. If there are a high percentage of red or black runs, the resorts will be considered too difficult for beginners, and therefore the skiing won’t be suited to your ability. Nursery slopes and good quality ski schools are a must for beginner skiers, so its worth choosing resorts with a particular focus on this.
Here at Oxford Ski Company, we understand the importance of choosing resorts with these features, so we’ve listed some of the best luxury ski resorts in Europe for beginners. For those of you who would like to factor in some time away from the slopes during your luxury ski holiday, we’ve also included resorts which feature plenty of exciting non-ski activities too. From snowshoeing and ice-skating to relaxing in a spa or sauna, there are lots of alternative things to see and do in each resort that we feature. On top of this, we’ve also included some of our best luxury ski chalets and luxury ski hotels from which to base yourself.
Best luxury ski resorts for beginners in France
Located in the Savoie region, family friendly Les Arcs and La Plagne are two of the best ski resorts for beginners in France. Positioned adjacent to each other, these resorts offer direct access to the slopes and have over 445km of pistes to explore between them. Beginners will be spoilt for choice with a fantastic range of nursery slopes and blue runs to try once they have built their confidence up, whilst the double-decker Vanoise Express cable car provides access between the two resorts in just four minutes.
For non-skiers or beginners who want to spend some time away from the slopes, Les Arcs is home to the impressive Mille8 Aquatic and Fitness Centre, an enormous complex with indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, massage jets, a gym and spa area. Meanwhile, La Plagne also offers a range of non-ski activities, including bobsleighing, paragliding and ice skating. The bobsleighing is a particular highlight as La Plagne is home to the only bobsleigh and skeleton track in France after it hosted the Albertville Olympic Games in 1992.
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. Bear Lodge has a range of chalet apartments sleeping between four and 12 guests with spacious living areas and balconies boasting glorious mountain views. Guests at any of the Bear Lodge chalet apartments also have access to a shared bar/lounge area, gym, swimming pool and spa.
Over in La Plagne, Chalet Juliette is a great choice for large groups and families looking for a bigger space to relax in. Enjoying a superb ski-in/ski-out location, this luxury ski chalet sleeps up to 15 guests and is complete with sauna, hot tub, ski-room and south facing balcony with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Best luxury ski resorts for beginners in Switzerland
Over in Switzerland, Crans-Montana, the place where Oxford Ski Company was born, is a resort that’s special for us and our clients. Linking the villages of Crans and Montana, this resort is perfect for beginners who can enjoy lessons on the snow-covered golf course or marvel at the breath-taking views of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. With a vista that spans 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.
A truly exceptional property, Le Crans Hotel & Spa exemplifies luxury ski hotels in Switzerland. Enjoying 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. Complete with indoor pool, spa area and fitness centre, the hotel also features a wine bar, cigar lounge and two restaurants, one of which is Michelin-starred.
Best luxury ski resorts for beginners in Austria
One of the best ski resorts for beginners in Austria, Obergurgl is a charming village in the Ötztal Alps with breath-taking scenery and a fantastic snow record. Perfect for a family holiday, Obergurgl caters for children and beginners extremely well, whilst also appealing to more advanced skiers who can enjoy the resort’s off-piste routes too. Together with its neighbouring hamlet, Hochgurgl, these linked resorts are known as the ‘Diamonds of the Alps’.
Located in the Tyrolean Alps, and sitting 2,200m above sea level, Hotel Riml has ski-in/ski-out access and is the perfect base for your luxury ski holiday to Austria. The hotel’s impressive spa area covers 1700 sqm and is complete with saltwater steam room, Finnish sauna, ice fountain, a variety of thermal baths and a swimming pool with panoramic mountain views. You’re also spoilt for choice with a fantastic range of food and drink options at the hotel, including restaurant and dining rooms serving buffet and a la carte meals, and the Panorama Bar and Putt-In Sports Bar which are perfect for afternoon or evening drinks.
Best luxury ski resorts for beginners in Italy
Let’s head to Italy now, where San Cassiano and Cervinia are bustling resorts which are perhaps two 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. Similarly, Cervinia is a high-altitude resort with spectacular alpine scenery and, when coupled with Zermatt in Switzerland, offers over 350km of pistes to explore.
As well as boasting plenty of skiing action, these resorts also offer a variety of non-ski activities for beginners who fancy a break away from the slopes after their first couple of lessons. Snowshoeing, dog sledding and paragliding is big in Cervinia, plus there’s a sports centre and indoor climbing wall to make use of once your skis have come off. Cross-country skiing and tobogganing are popular over in San Cassiano, where you’ll also find an ice rink, sports centre and swimming pool, with walking tours of the local area a popular choice amongst visitors too.
Positioned above the resort centre in San Cassiano, Hotel Ciasa Salares is a traditional property bursting with Italian charm and character. The hotel’s Beauty SPA Vives is the perfect place to relax, with fantastic facilities including indoor and outdoor saunas, thermal baths, Solarium, indoor swimming pool and numerous cabins offering a wide variety of beauty treatments. The hotel is also home to four in-house restaurants, and if that wasn’t impressive enough, there’s also a Cheese Room and even a Chocolate Room – with over 120 different types of chocolate available to try!
Over in Cervinia, Chalet La Fenice is perched on a plateau 60 meters above the resort and offers breath-taking views across to the Matterhorn from most of the rooms and terraces in the chalet. Laid out over six floors, and connected by an elevator, the standout features of La Fenice includes an indoor swimming pool, outdoor steel Jacuzzi, cinema room with surround sound system and games room with state-of-the-art Prosimu Formula 1 racing and flight simulator.