If you’ve ever watched Ski Sunday and thought, ‘I’d love to try skiing’, or perhaps one of your friends went once, loved learning to ski, but for some reason you couldn’t make it…now is your time to start. Every skier was a beginner once, and this guide should help you find the best beginner ski resort to start your own journey into the skiing world.
A wide range of factors come into consideration when picking the best ski resorts for beginners. The beginner-friendly ski resorts on our list are all there for a variety of reasons. Some are more family-friendly ski resorts, some offer snow-sure, quiet pistes, others have wide open runs with great progression for further development, and many have well-renowned ski schools. There are also a number of luxury chalet options to best take advantage of learning in these ski resorts, suitable for beginners.
Ortisei is one of the best ski resorts for beginners in Italy, owing to its fantastic location within the Val Gardena ski area. A single gondola from Ortisei will take you up to the slopes of the Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi, a wide alpine pasture with plenty of blue and gentle red runs that will ease first timers into skiing. In addition to this area, you will have access to all the slopes of the Val Gardena area, with 175km of pistes. All of this surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learning to ski doesn’t get more scenic than in Ortisei.
For a luxury ski holiday to Ortisei, you can’t go wrong with the ultra luxurious Chalet Vilaiet. More confident skiers of your group can ski in and ski out on the red Ortisei Furnes piste, with a ski school located at the bottom. For beginners, this gives them a good goal to aim for by the end of the week. Alternatively, make use of the driver service to start your day from any lift you choose. This includes the St. Ulrich Seiser Alm gondola up to the Alpe di Siusi area. What’s more, a stay at Chalet Vilaiet includes one day of ski guiding with the owner, skiing world champion Isolde Kostner. Who better to learn from than the very best?
Perfect for beginner skiers, Méribel, sitting in the centre of the Three Valleys, offers a huge amount of pistes for beginners and for those looking to progress. There are two separate nursery areas, 8 beginner green pistes and 25 blue intermediate pistes. The piste signage is also incredibly clear and easy to follow on the mountain, meaning navigating the resort is as easy as possible. Méribel-Mottaret is an area in Méribel particularly well-designed for beginner skiers. Two “Zen” areas, slow zones dedicated to learners, offer beginners a chance to progress at their own pace.
Chalet Trois Ours is a fantastic base to learn to ski in Méribel, suitable for all ages, families and groups. It is situated on the blue Doron piste and opposite the Adret chairlift; skiing out of your luxury chalet for access to The Three Valleys has never been easier. The chalet sleeps up to 12 and offers luxury accommodation to soothe aching muscles after a day learning to ski in the mountains.
Soldeu ski resort is central to Grandvalira, Andorra’s largest ski area. A large area at the top of the Espiolets mountain above Soldeu is just one of the reasons that make Soldeu one of our best ski resorts for beginners. The Grandvalira ski area is full of easy blues and reds to build your confidence on and aid progression. The ski schools in Soldeu are highly regarded, with lots of English-speaking instructors to help you start your ski journey. As with all countries, the slope grading varies slightly differently, so you may even find yourselves progressing onto reds and blacks a little faster than in some Alpine resorts, an excellent confidence booster for a beginner skier.
The Hermitage Mountain Lodge is a luxury ski-in ski-out chalet in Andorra. It sits on the gentle Gall de Bosc blue piste, ideal for skiers of all abilities to ski in and out. The piste will take you down to Soldeu’s neighbouring resort of El Tarter, which also has a fantastic beginner’s area up the gondola. A driver service is available to take you to and from Soldeu. This includes to and from the fantastic 5,000m² spa in the Sport Hotel Hermitage, the chalet’s partner hotel. There’s no better way to end a good day of ski progress than with a luxury pamper session.
La Rosière benefits from being at 1,850m as well as west facing, so the snow stays in excellent condition on the lower nursery slopes. However, the sun shines on the mountain throughout, and the morning icy chill soon dissipates. The main beginner ski areas Lievre Blanc and Clarines sit towards the middle of town and provide a wide, quiet area perfect for learners of all ages. The slopes in La Rosière are a lot quieter than many more popular resorts. This makes learning a lot easier, since you can focus more on your own skiing, instead of that of other skiers on the mountain.
Looking for a place to stay on your beginner’s ski holiday to La Rosière? Chalet Matsuzaka could be the perfect spot for you. A luxury hotel with Japanese-inspired influences, it can also be booked as a chalet on an exclusive basis for 24 guests, with the option of additional guests. You are also just 100m from the slopes. The chalet has a selection of wellness facilities to try out after skiing, including two hot tubs. A great chalet for a large group of mixed abilities or a corporate retreat with some first timers.
While more renowned for advanced and off-piste skiing, Switzerland does offer up some great resorts for beginner skiers also. The pretty Swiss village of Saas-Fee is one of the best ski resorts for beginners in Switzerland. Nicknamed “The Pearl of the Alps”, this snow-sure resort sits at an altitude of 1,800m. The wide nursery slopes sit at the edge of the village, serviced by three drag lifts. There are several more blues close to the nursery slopes, with further progression being found elsewhere in the ski area. The picturesque village is also car-free, making it a great family-friendly destination.
Take your first ever luxury ski holiday in style with a stay at The Capra Hotel. A 5* boutique wellness hotel in Saas Fee, this has everything you could desire. A 700m² spa, with a 90m² private spa available to hire out, there’s no better way to relax muscles you’ve rarely used before as you first experience skiing. The hotel sits in a sunny and quiet area of the resort. But it also has a private ski locker on the mountain, and an electro-taxi to shuttle you there. There’ll be no carrying heavy equipment around here. It even has the “Fun Lab”, a games area with activities for the whole family. It’ll be hard not to fall in love with ski holidays when staying at The Capra Hotel.
Courchevel is one of the best resorts to learn to ski. The local slopes comprise 150km of runs, of which 23 are green and 35 blue. The beginner zones are gently sloping and will allow you to practise your turns before deciding whether or not to venture further up the mountain. These areas are called ‘ZEN’ areas and are marked on the Courchevel piste map, always located next to at least one free chairlift. One of the best is the Pralong Zen area which is situated next to the Ferme and Altiport drag lifts. This large beginner ski area makes for a great place to start on skis or a snowboard.
Courchevel 1850 has some of the most exclusive properties in the Alps, and Chalet Namaste is no exception. Ideal for beginner skiers, and nestled next to the Bellecote Green Piste. In addition to being ski in ski out for all abilities, Chalet Namaste has some impressive features. An indoor swimming pool is the highlight of its expert spa facilities. Outside, a south-facing terrace provides gorgeous views, the ideal spot to unwind with a glass of champagne after a successful day on skis.
Cortina is to Italy as St. Moritz is to Switzerland, or Courchevel 1850 to France. A luxury ski resort in the Dolomites that oozes class, charm and character. A fantastic place for shopping and culture, Cortina is also one of the best ski resorts for beginners. The dozen or so interconnecting blue slopes by Pocol and Socrepes in the Tofana ski area are perfect for beginners. Take the high speed gondola over to Cinque Torri and challenge yourself to complete the Super 8 ski tour. This is an easier ski circuit for first timers. Short enough to comfortably complete in half a day, but long enough to offer a challenge. Experience long easy blues, some confidence-building cruisy reds and beautiful mountain vistas along the way. The ultimate goal for a few years of ski holidays in Cortina will be working towards conquering our list of the 5 best ski runs.
LV|02 Perla is a luxury chalet in a private estate in Cortina with an impressive list of facilities. For 10-12 guests, experience the ultimate in luxury ski holidays in Italy. Spanning 900m², beautiful views across the Ampezzo valley, stylish modern living areas, a Japanese Zen-inspired spa area, soundproof cinema room, spacious garden, terrace and balconies; this chalet has it all. With a 24/7 driver service too, getting to the slopes and exploring the resort is extremely straightforward.
The most famous runs of Alpe d’Huez may be the infamous Tunnel run or the Sarenne, the longest black run in the Alps. However, closer to the resort itself, it is a beginner’s paradise. Alpe d’Huez was purpose built for skiing. It sits on a high (1,850m) plateau, so the slopes are snow-sure, while the resort is also famous for its 300 days of sunshine each year, almost guaranteeing good weather and conditions when learning here. There are large beginner areas of green slopes that run above, alongside, and even through the resort. There are also several fun slopes for children and adults to build confidence in an entertaining way. If you find chairlifts a bit daunting on your first day, a lot of them also run gondola cabins to make travelling up the mountain easier.
Located at the top of the resort, Chalet La Chapelle is in a hamlet of ski-in ski-out chalets to one of the beginner areas around Alpe d’Huez. The chalet sleeps up to 14 in 7 spacious bedrooms. Sumptuous open-plan living areas with a cosy, traditional charm and indoor spa facilities provide much needed comfort and relaxation after an exciting day of ski improvement. The chalet can be taken either self catered, or on a contactless catered chalet experience.
A tiny, charming village in the Arlberg ski area, St. Christoph acts as a perfect base for beginners. The resort’s small size means the slopes in St. Christoph are a lot quieter than those around the more popular St. Anton and Lech resorts. There is a great beginner area with several drag lifts and nursery slopes. As you progress further, the St. Christophbahn chairlift will take you to more than 120km of interconnected blue runs. Some blue pistes in the Arlberg ski area might be considered more challenging than in other areas. However, the long blue piste 64 back into St. Christoph is wide and quiet. It always makes for a confidence boosting end to your ski day.
Crux Penthouse in St. Christoph typifies modern Alpine luxury. The penthouse has space for up to 12 guests in five stylish en-suite bedrooms. In a building across the road from the nursery slopes, the penthouse couldn’t be better situated for skiing. If you take the penthouse as a catered option, it also comes with a driver service which will take you into the famous St. Anton. All the benefits of the popular resort centre, with the quiet slopes of beginner-friendly St. Christoph.
The final entry on our list of best ski resorts for beginners is the Swiss town of Davos. There are several beginner areas in town and good progression in the main ski area around the Jakobshorn. The main selling point of Davos for beginners is the “Slow Mountain” of the Schatzalp/Strela ski area. Designated as Europe’s first “slow” ski resort, the mountain is described as a decelerated ski area. Expect sun-drenched, gently rolling blue pistes, without the fear of advanced skiers racing past. The area is perfect for families, beginners, nervous skiers and anyone wanting a relaxed, gentle pace of skiing.
Mountain Dream is a luxurious apartment for 6 guests, where modern comfort and traditional alpine design come together. Spacious living areas and beautiful mountain views make for a delightful mountain home, ideal for families or a small group of friends. Not only is the apartment just five minutes walk from the centre of resort, but a bus stop is located at the front door to the apartment building. In less than five minutes, the local bus service will take you to the Schatzalp funicular, and the beginner skiing of the slow ski area.
So this completes our list of ten of the best ski resorts for beginners. And there’s no better time to start than now! Book your first ski holiday with the Ski In Luxury team to one of our recommended ski resorts for beginners, and before you know it you’ll be cruising down a beautiful white piste in the sunshine with the trees whistling by and a huge smile on your face. Give the Ski In Luxury Team a call on 01202 203650 or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!
Beyond beginner? Take a read of the other blogs in this series for resorts that match your ski ability: The Best Resorts for Intermediates, The Best Ski Resorts for Advanced and The Best Resorts for Off-Piste.