Going on your first-ever ski holidays this year? Or maybe you’re trying to convince your partner or children to ski, and you want to find the perfect ski resort? For first-time skiers, it’s important to find a ski area that has lots of easy, accessible pistes. It also doesn’t hurt to have a lively village scene and some nice on-piste restaurants, just in case the skiing starts to feel like an insurmountable challenge! Below we’ve picked out 15 great resorts for beginner skiers and snowboarders. Have you any other recommendations? Where did you first learn to ski?
Located at the snow-sure altitude of 1423m, Gargellen is one of the villages in the Montafon ski area in the Vorarlberg. The compact and well-organised ski area makes it a popular choice for parents teaching their children how to ski or snowboard. Once they’ve mastered the basics, it’s easy enough to move on to the other villages.
The Almenwelt Lofer is a relatively small ski area, with only 46km of pistes and most of them blue. This means no crowds and no intimidating black slopes cropping up where you don’t want them. The ideal place to practise your turns in peace!
Part of the massive Les Trois Vallées linked ski area, the ski resort of Les Menuires is a great choice for novice skiers. The surrounding slopes are mostly blue and green, and there are plenty of more challenging slopes once the basics have been mastered.© Cyril Cousin - OT Les Menuires
Within the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, the ski resorts of Ehrwald and Berwang are particularly apt for beginner skiers. Family-friendly Berwang boasts one of Tyrol’s best ski schools plus a dedicated children’s area, while Ehrwald enjoys a prime spot at the foot of the Zugspitze and is the largest village in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena.
Breuil-Cervinia is known for its wide, gentle pistes and excellent ski schools. A glance at the piste map will reveal a good number of red pistes, but there’s no need to worry as these are generally quite tame. Breuil-Cervinia connects to Valtournenche and Zermatt, where mixed-ability groups will find more challenging slopes to keep them busy.
The SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser - Brixental is one of the largest ski areas in Austria and might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you’re considering beginner-friendly ski resorts. However, the villages of Ellmau and Brixen im Thale offer a relaxing approach to the slopes for first-timers. Plus, a warm drink in one of the cosy mountain huts goes a long way towards convincing new skiers that this is a sport worth learning!
Adelboden is the perfect winter destination for mixed-ability groups. Beginners can practise to their heart’s delight on the gentle blue slopes while advanced skiers roam farther afield within the behemoth ski area. The charming village is family-friendly and very welcoming.
Located in the southern Austrian state of Carinthia, the Turracher Höhe ski area has 42km of pistes clustered around the eponymous lake. The runs are nice and wide and never very challenging, and the ski area is uncrowded and unspoilt.
Beginners at Obereggen can take advantage of the abundance of blue slopes and panoramic views of the Dolomites. This being Italy, you won’t want to pass up the chance to stuff your face with delicious Italian cuisine after a long day of practising pizza turns.
With 270km of pistes, the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn has something for everyone, including beginner skiers and snowboarders. After gaining confidence thanks to the abundance of blue slopes and ski schools, beginners can try their skills on the easier of the ski circuits: the Saalbach round, 20km, 100% blue runs. Of course, the Skicircus will also teach you that other very important winter skill: après-skiing!© Tourismusverband Saalbach Hinterglemm
Picturesque Les Saisies is located in the ski area of L'Espace Diamant, which is ideally suited to novice skiers with its wide, sloping green and blue pistes. Families will be pleased to hear there is a dedicated children’s area, as well as no shortage of ski schools.
Of the 165km of pistes in Le Grand Domaine, 27km are green and a whopping 77km are blue. You could ski all day long without repeating the same piste! Beginners will feel at home in both Valmorel and St. François Longchamp.
The Kleinwalsertal & Oberstdorf ski area straddles the border between Austria and Germany. It’s comprised of 6 smaller ski areas that feature mostly blue and red slopes. We recommend the Walmendinger Horn, Ifen, Söllereck-Höllwies or Heuberg Arena for beginners – the latter two are best-suited to families with children.© kleinwalsertal.com
Although the majority of slopes at Grächen are red, it’s still a good ski area for beginners. The compact ski area also boasts one of the largest children’s parks in Switzerland, just one of the reasons it’s popular with families.
The Gitschberg-Jochtal is located in Italy but has a strong German influence, as you’ll notice from the German-speaking Italian ski instructors. There are plenty of facilities for children including a ski nursery and several children’s area. In total, the ski area has about 50km of slopes.
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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