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Beginners' ski holidays

  • Ski holiday essentials

    Whether you're new to skiing or snowboarding, the mountain offers a fresh buzz for everyone. Feel free to ditch routine on your way to the slopes, but there are a few things you might need to book along with your holiday:

    • Lessons – our resorts include several great ski schools with English-speaking instructors. You can often choose between group and private lessons.
    • Equipment – you can hire skis or a board, boots, poles and helmets when booking your holiday and they'll be waiting for you when you arrive in resort. Our reps and local teams will help you get the right sizes and fits.
    • Lift pass – your pass gets you on the lifts which take you up the mountain to the slopes. There are local lift passes, which let you to ski in one resort, and area lift passes, which give you access to a ski area made up of several resorts.

    To avoid a cold reception on the mountain, make sure you include suitable clothing when packing:

    • Waterproof jacket.
    • Salopettes or snowboard pants i.e. waterproof trousers.
    • Gloves.
    • Ski or snowboard socks – these are different from normal ones.
    • Sunglasses and goggles.
    • Thermals or thin, warm layers that are easy to take off.
    View best for beginner deals
    • First-time packages

      skier on a sunny ski slope

      Get your lift pass, lessons and equipment for less.

      Go for a first-time package only if you've never ever skied or snowboarded before. Most of the essentials are included, so you'll just need to organise just your ski clothes and spending money.

      Each item can be booked separately, but a first-time package conveniently brings them all together, often for less money.

      All packages include:

      • 6-day ski hire and boots, or 6-day snowboard hire and boots.
      • Lift pass – this lets you go up the mountain and get on the slopes.
      • Group lessons for beginners.

      In some resorts, the nursery slopes – where you learn – don't require a lift pass. So, the duration of your lift pass will be based on how early you're expected to move on to the mountain's main slopes. It's pretty standard fare, so nothing to be surprised about.

      Our top 3 places to stay

    • Beginner snowboarding

      slang graphic

      Do you move better sideways or head-on?

      Here are a few pointers – feel free to check out our snowboarding holidays if you decide on a tray instead of two planks.

      Which will knock you off your feet?

      Maybe giving your feet free will is a slippery slope to an inevitable parting of ways. However, being able to move your feet independently is an aspect of skiing that appeals to many beginners. If you're a surfer or skateboarder, or think you'll be more comfortable moving with your side facing forward, snowboarding might be for you.

      Early snowboarding actually used to be called snurfing – the beautiful offspring of snow and surfing.

      What's your look?

      Don't worry, you'll need pretty similar clothing for skiing and snowboarding. Although, if you're buying your own gear, remember that ski boots are different from snowboard boots.

      Also, wearing a helmet won't hurt and is highly recommended.

      Whose language do you speak?

      Whether you're leaning towards skiing or snowboarding, both sides use slang that'll probably leave your head spinning.

      There's no slope slang here – because we like to make everyone feel welcome – but we've created a Crystal Guide to Slope Slang, just for you.

      Learn their ways, discover their secrets and so the student becomes the master.

    • Top beginner ski resorts

      skier on a sunny ski slope

      Because snow is the only thing we want you getting stuck into, we've cherry-picked a few beginner-friendly resorts for you.

      Andorra – sunny skiing on a budget.

      • Arinsal – top-class, BASI-approved ski school and buzzing après scene.
      • Pas de la Casa – reliable snow and a variety of budget-friendly accommodation options.
      • Soldeu – upmarket hotels and easy access to children's snow gardens.

      Austria – infamous après ski and friendly locals.

      • Niederau – houses the excellent 1st Wildschönau Ski School and a cracking karaoke bar.
      • Söll – home to a pretty church, chalet-style buildings and relaxing, tree-lined runs.
      • Mayrhofen – budget or luxury, party or spa, there's something to take your fancy.

      Bulgaria – ski schools with a great reputation.

      • Borovets – great value for money and surrounded by pretty woods.
      • Bansko – affordable luxury with a selection of opulent hotels for less.
      • Pamporovo – sunny, easy-to-navigate slopes and atmospheric evenings.

      Finland – authentic Nordic activities.

      • Ruka – quiet slopes with lifts that stay open late and, of course, log cabins.

      France – convenient skiing in purpose-built resorts.

      • La Plagne – heart of the resort is Plagne Centre, where all lessons taught are in English.
      • Chamrousse – lovely tree-lined slopes with dozens of self-catering options.
      • Alpe d'Huez – nicknamed the 'Island in the Sun' for its 300+ days of sunshine a year.

      Italy – great food and even better skiing.

      • Bardonecchia – variety of off-slope activities including a cinema, ice rink and sports centre.
      • Passo Tonale – sunny with reliable snow and lots of beginner slopes.
      • Pila – snowsure resort with excellent snow-making equipment.

      Norway – full of snow but not crowds.

      • Beitostolen – perfect for families, with a great ski school and English-speaking instructors.
      • Geilo – arguably the most reliable snow in Europe.

      Slovenia – views that have got to be seen to be believed.

      • Kranjska Gora – family-friendly, with childcare specialists qualified to help children 6 months to 12 years.

      Top 3 Resorts

    • Learn to ski or snowboard

      group of snowboarder on a sunny slope

      Learn the ropes, then own the slopes

      With group and private lessons, ski school is your blueprint to total mountain domination – whether you're a skier or snowboarder. It's worth keeping in mind that ski and snowboarding lessons are run separately, in case you're going on holiday with a mixed group.

      Lesson durations, timings and prices vary between resorts, and lessons are not available in all resorts – so, it's worth checking the details of the specific one you plan to visit.

      Group lessons

      If you're a sucker for camaraderie then you'll enjoy hitting the slopes and improving with other skiers.

      Instructors will assess and place you in a group of the appropriate skill level on the first day. This may mean you get separated from people you're holidaying with. You may also get separated from your party if some of you want to ski and others want to snowboard.

      You can add group lessons to your package while booking your holiday online.

      Private lessons

      If you think you'll need one-on-one tuition, these sessions with an English-speaking tutor are the way to go.

      They feature a concentrated, quick-fix element that focuses on your technique and speedy progress. Private lessons are available to book in resort only – through the resort team – and are subject to availability.

      After booking your holiday, you'll receive your booking reference, which you can use to log in to Your Account or our free Crystal Ski Explorer app. There, you'll find essential details about your booking and lots of handy info about your chosen resort, put together by the local team.

      Check out our ski holiday deals

Check out these places to stay


With all the various national tourist boards applying widely varying criteria to hotel ratings, the whole question of international hotel grades has become confused. We have therefore applied our own 'rating', representing the general standards of that country in order that fairer comparisons can be made.

Please note: rating may differ from the official star rating of the local tourist board. Our classifications take into account not only the basic facilities, but also the location, leisure facilities, general character and atmosphere of the hotel, as well as customer feedback. Chalet ratings give comparisons with other chalets but do not provide like for like comparisons with the ratings of full service hotels.

Your package price and availability

Our website's prices and flight, accommodation and room availability are updated every morning. To calculate average price per person, applicable discounts are subtracted from your total cost, which is then divided by the number of adults and children (excluding infants). A full price breakdown can be viewed on the payment page.

In some circumstances, prices and availability may update during the day so you may find price/availability differences later in the booking process.

This is usually due to high demand for the selected holiday. Should you have any issues with this, please contact us or see here for more information.