If you are going skiing or snowboarding for the first time it is vital that you choose a resort which caters well for beginners.
Making the wrong choice may mean you get put off for life. Things to look for include lots of beginner’s slopes which can be accessed easily, beginner friendly lifts, good snowsports schools and it is a good idea to find accommodation which is not too far away from the lifts, or at least a good bus service that runs to the lift.
Avoid resorts with lots of off-piste and black runs – you probably won’t be using them quite yet!
Here are some beginner ski resort suggestions from the Ski Club of Great Britain.
Avoriaz is convenient. Lying at 1800m the resort is snow sure and as the resort is purpose built, your apartment or hotel is likely to nestle right next to the lifts. There is a whole host of beginner lifts and plenty of confidence boosting green runs. It is also easy to meet up for lunch after your morning lessons. There are also plenty of advanced runs but these are found further away from the main village.
Alpe d’Huez, France
Close to Grenoble airport so easy to get to, Alpe d’Huez is great for beginners. Stay close to the slopes for quick access to lots of green and blue runs. Alpe d’Huez is mostly south facing often ensuring lovely long sunny skiing, especially in Spring.
Sitting in the Jungfrau region below the stunning Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch mountains, Wengen is a beginners paradise. Nursery slopes in the middle of the town and trains that link all the villages making access to all areas easier for starters to the sport. There are plenty of cruising blue runs once over the first few turns.
Saas Fee, Switzerland
Chocolate box Saas Fee is ideal for beginners. They have excellent nursery slopes close to the village and plenty of wide open pistes to practice on. Make sure you stay not too far from the slopes as the accommodation does spread over a large area. Excellent lift system and gorgeous village centre.
Soll has an abundance of pistes that are perfectly suited to beginners and are great for building confidence. The nursery slopes are situated conveniently at the bottom of the mountain. The resort is a large traditional Austrian village and rarely gets overcrowded. It is also well known for lively après-ski.
Great value Pila, sits above the town of Aosta perfect for shopping on an afternoon off. Pila has a good lift system, wide pistes for practicing the ski turns and offers excellent value for money for a first visit to the snow. There is some on slope accommodation for ski in/out or stay down in Aosta for a more ‘Italian’ experience with coffee shops and restaurants galore.
Geilo is a beginner’s heaven with lots of easy slopes and un-crowded pistes. It is a small resort but will keep beginners amused for a week. There is a choice of two beginner’s areas with Vestlia being the best. The ski schools are also highly rated.
Soldeu has many British or English speaking instructors. This means there is no language barrier therefore learning to ski or snowboard is often made a lot easier. There is plenty of terrain for beginners in the rolling slopes both above and below the treeline.
Beaver Creek, USA
With English speaking instructors, lots of easy terrain and a whole host of friendly people you can’t go wrong starting your skiing in Beaver Creek, Colorado. The resort is compact therefore a lot of the accommodation is very close to the slopes which makes the mornings a lot more manageable, especially if you are not used to carrying your skis or board around.
Tremblant has everything on your doorstep from the ski school, to cafes to shops, and of course the pistes. The resort has an abundance of easy slopes and is very much geared towards beginners. It is very easy to get kitted up, meet your instructor and jump on the lift.
The Ski Club of Great Britain’s website has comprehensive information on over 250 resorts worldwide. Joining the Ski Club will give you discounts on ski and snowboard schools plus thousands of other discounts worldwide. For more information visit www.skiclub.co.uk or call 0845 45 807 80.