Learning to ski is a thrilling experience. You’re not only picking up a whole new range of skills, but you’re doing so in some incredibly beautiful places with lots of like-minded snow-seekers. While there are hundreds of ski resorts in Europe, not all are suited to new starters. So, to make things a bit easier, here’s our list of the best places to learn to ski in Europe.
Top 7 resorts for learning to ski in Europe
Part of the Vallnord ski area, Arinsal has brilliant nursery slopes, with easy progression to lots of wide, gentle runs further up the mountain. When the lifts close, reward your efforts in one of the cheap and lively bars that line the main street.
- The ski school comes approved by the British Association of Snowsport Instructors and is very good value.
- The nursery slopes also have dedicated magic carpet lifts.
- There’s a three-hour coach transfer from the airport to the resort.
- Beginners will usually remain on the same lower pistes for most of the week until they progress.
- Late-night revellers.
Pretty little Niederau has a fantastic learning area with miles of easy runs to progress to, as well as lots of non-ski activities like sleigh rides and snow tubing. All packaged together, this creates a resort that’s geared towards learning to ski.
- Spacious nursery slopes and an excellent English-speaking ski school, where children benefit from free ski tuition when adults pre-book lessons.
- 85% of the ski area is covered by snow making, meaning the weather shouldn’t be a problem.
- Niederau is a quiet resort without much nightlife.
- Access to the wider Ski Juwel area requires a ride on the ski bus.
Borovets, Bulgaria’s first ski resort, has some of the best-priced hotels in the country, along with wide, tree-lined slopes and an English-speaking ski school. Those are just a few of the reasons why it’s consistently been one of the best places to learn to ski in Europe.
- Wonderfully cheap lift passes, equipment and tuition, and access to more than 200 instructors.
- The nursery slopes are central and many of the runs finish up right in the centre of resort.
- There aren’t many challenging slopes for the more advanced skiers in the group.
- Hotel buffets aren’t always on par with other European resorts.
- Budget-minded partygoers.
A Finnish winter wonderland, Ruka has the largest beginners ski area in the country, lots of off-slope activities and plenty of quiet pistes.
- It only takes 25 minutes to get from the airport to resort, and out of the 24km of runs, 15km are graded easy.
- Ski school groups tend to be small, meaning learning is more personal.
- Off-slope activities are big here – try dog sledding, snowmobiling and Santa visits.
- Finland is known for being pretty pricey, with a burger and fries costing around €15, so not the most economical option.
- Snow-lovers looking for a mixture of activities.
Alpe d’Huez, France
With over 300 blue-sky days a year, Alpe d’Huez is one of the sunniest resorts in the Alps. Newbies will relish the dedicated beginner areas and 52km of easy runs.
- A lively resort with a ski area spanning 249km, meaning enough piste for all abilities.
- As well as several nursery areas with dedicated lifts, there are lots of low-speed zones to give learners the safety they need to improve.
- Beginners usually stick to runs lower down the mountain, so they can’t take advantage of the high-altitude views from the Sarenne Glacier.
- Mixed-ability groups.
Passo Tonale, Italy
Passo Tonale has plenty of quiet, easy runs accessed by chairlifts and within easy reach of many of the hotels.
- As well as over 100 English-speaking instructors and a multitude of gentle pistes close to the hotels, 50% of the runs are covered by snowmaking, making it one of Italy’s most snowsure resorts.
- If you’ve got kids, there’s Crystal Childcare here too.
- Passo Tonale lacks the aesthetics and charm of some other European resorts.
- Families with small children.
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Located in the beautiful Julian Alps, Kranjska Gora is charming and authentic, with a small ski area and a range of non-skiing activities.
- The nursery slopes are located close to the villages hotels and half of the 20km ski area is suited to beginners.
- For an afternoon of sightseeing, Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, isn’t far away.
- The resort also offers activities like dog sledding and ice skating.
- As the resort is low altitude, the snow isn’t always very reliable.
- There aren’t any mountain huts for a mid-morning hot chocolate either.
- Laid-back skiers looking for lots of culture.
As you can see, there are resorts across Europe that are perfect for starting out – it all just depends what you’re looking for. If you want to find out more about any of the resorts above, have a flick through our deals page and select the ‘best for beginners’ filter.
Haven’t been skiing before and wondering whether it’s easier to learn to ski or snowboard? Then check out this post.
Words by Mia Jones.