Skiing is an exhilarating sport and so it’s no wonder that there are many wonderful ski resorts around the world. If you’re a beginner, it’s extremely important to choose the right ski destination to ensure that you will have a fantastic time.
Preferably, you’ll want to book a ski resort with a good proportion of green runs and blue runs (easy and intermediate trails) to accommodate your current skill levels. Even though you will be there mainly for skiing, you should also consider other aspects such as availability of non-skiing activities, places that you can meet with friends, and a pedestrian-friendly resort village that you can visit on your day off. If you’re in a budget, you can also look at local hills and/or nearby family-oriented resorts that can provide intimate learning experiences.
Here we’ve compiled the best skiing destinations for beginners around the world.
1. Les Arcs (France)
Some people say that there’s no better place to learn skiing than the French Alps. If you’re interested in booking a flight here, then consider staying at Les Arcs.
Les Arcs is a huge ski resort featuring 400 kilometers of slopes, with 3 green runs, 64 blue runs, and a few slow-speed zones where you can hone your skiing at your own pace. It also has seven villages, each of which has gentle slopes for beginners. Arc 1800 and Villaroger are particularly geared for first-timers and have ski skills that cater to both children and adult.
2. Cortina (Italy)
Cortina d’Ampezzo is an old mountain town that offers one of the best beginner skiing in Europe. It’s the only Italian member of an exclusive club in the region called the “Best of the Alps.”
As the largest ski resort in Dolomites, Cortina offers plenty of beginner slopes located high up in the mountain and scattered green and blue runs to move on to. Pomedes, which is the largest area in Cortina, is particularly suited for fledging skiers, with blue runs that can help build confidence The nearby Misurna and Col Gallins are also worth visiting for long green runs.
Aside from this, all skiers can enjoy the Hidden Valley run, which features magnificent mountain scenery and ends with a horse-drawn lift ride.
3. Obergurgl (Austria)
Obergurgl is a traditional Austrian village located up in the mountains in Otzval Valley. It’s popular for its reliable snow cover that lasts throughout the season, which is helpful for skiers and snowboarders of all standards.
Gurgl, the official name for its main ski area, is in itself not very large but offers consistent snow conditions, with excellent lifts and nursery slopes with free lifts to a ski school. It also has plenty of blue runs and a few advanced areas as well. It’s also a bus away from the nearby Solden, which offers high-altitude skiing.
Families can choose among different 3- and 4-star hotels such as Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl, as well as some apartments and chalets. Ski lessons are top-notch, with English-speaking instructors and lessons in the morning and afternoon.
4. Snowmass, Colorado (USA)
Snowmass is one of the most popular ski resorts in the USA for families, given how the resort makes it easy for kids to learn skiing and snowboarding.
It’s one of the four ski mountains that comprise the Aspen Snowmass, spanning over 3300 of skiable acres with 98 trails and 20 chairlifts. It has several areas dedicated for beginners featuring gentle slopes, and unlike other ski resorts, it allows skiers to experience skiing up on the mountain rather than just in the base area. It’s also home to the Treehouse Kid’s Adventure Center, a popular winter wonderland for kids, and the Snowmass Ski School, a world-renown ski school that provides top-quality instruction for skiers of all ages.
5. Saas Fee (Switzerland)
Saas Fee is an all-year-round ski resort, ideal for families and skiers of all levels. Nestled among thirteen 4000-meter peaks in Saas Valley, it offers dramatic scenery, fantastic snow record, and incredible opportunity of skiing in a high-altitude glacial environment.
The ski resort itself features charming old-fashioned wooden chalets with beautiful blue glaciers at the backdrop. It has a car-free center, with electric buses, taxis, and hotel shuttles ready to offer transport to guests. The charm of this traditional village makes it an excellent choice for family vacations.
Saas Fee’s ski area spans 100km of pistes, with wide nursery slopes situated away from the main piste and red pistes at the top half of the glacier for those in the intermediate levels. The area is also a bus ride away from neighboring resorts of Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell, which offer more terrains for skiing.
6. Whistler, British Colombia (Canada)
If you’re looking for beginner-friendly facilities and a variety of terrains, then look no further than Whistler, Canada.
Whistler is the biggest ski area in North America, with over 8000 acres of skiable terrain and spanning two mountains: Whistler and Blackcomb. It offers stunning views and a variety of ski runs and conditions, which can help you learn and prepare for different conditions in the future.
Both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains have beginner areas, but Whistler offers more green runs located high up on the mountain, including the best-rated Olympic Mid-Station. There are also family zones and dedicated slow zones where you can hone up your skills.
7. Soldeu (Andorra)
Andorra is one of the more affordable destinations for skiing with fantastic ski conditions for beginners.
Soldeu is part of the Grand Valira ski resort, which is the largest ski area in the principality with 210 km of piste and 128 slopes. Soldeu is perfect for beginners, as it has top-notch instructors and friendly terrains, including nursery slopes and 78 green and blue runs that are easily accessible via the main gondola station in the high street.
Aside from the skiing, Soldeu is also a popular choice among families for its picturesque mountain landscapes. It also has easy access to the neighboring resorts of Pas de la Casa, El Tarter, and Canillo – all of which have more easy terrains to explore.
8. Tahoe, North Carolina (USA)
Lake Tahoe is a vast area in North Carolina popular for skiing. It features a dozen ski resorts, with varying terrains and ski conditions. Of the many options for families, Northstar California Resort is one of the best rated for its beginner friendliness.
Built atop an extinct volcano, Northstar California Resort features 100 ridable trails, 20 lifts, and an easy area for learning skiing, as well as plenty of intermediate trails to move up to. It’s also one of the few resorts to offer beginner lessons to kids as young as 3 years old.
On your days off, explore the resort village’s shops and dining options. Or engage in non-ski activities such as tubing, ice skating, and spa for the ultimate relaxation.
9. Pamporovo (Bulgaria)
Pamporovo is a charming Bulgarian village nestled among pine trees, at the base of the Snejanka Peak in Bulgaria. Although this place offers fewer pistes and lifts compared to similar resorts in the Alps, it’s perfectly suitable for beginners and significantly cheaper too.
It has 60 km of slopes composed of mostly greens and easy blues, and it’s easy to familiarize yourself with the area and enjoy the skiing. You can also choose among 15 ski schools that offer high-quality ski lessons, including a ski kindergarten for 4- to 6-years-olds and a school for older children.
Aside fro m skiing, Pamporovo also features traditional Rhodopi houses, delicious Bulgarian cuisine, and easy visits to the nearby towns of Plovdiv and Smolyan. Pamporovo also shares the same lift pass with the neighboring ski area Mechi Chal, which offers challenging trails for intermediate and professional skiers.
10. Niseko Ski Resort (Japan)
The best beginner-friendly skiing destinations aren’t just located in North America and Europe. If you’re up for an Asian winter holiday, then visit Niseko Ski Resort in Japan. This is a popular ski resort for families, with powdery snow that makes falling more manageable and 25 ski trails suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers.
They offer private lessons ideal for families and group lessons for those in a budget.
Niseko Ski Resort also has an onsen, so you can warm up after a day in the snowy slopes.
What other skiing destinations for beginners do you recommend? Let us know in the comment section below!
Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).