We all like something different in a ski resort, but if it’s your first time heading to the mountains, you might not know what to look for. Here’s our pick of the top resorts for beginners – we’ve given them five stars for their highly rated, English-speaking ski schools, their great range of gentle slopes, and all of the things you can do when you’re not skiing.
Passo Tonale, Italy
High in the Italian Alps, Passo Tonale has got plenty of quiet, easy runs accessed by chairlifts near the hotels. And if you’ve progressed enough, the Presena Glacier has a beginner run and an intermediate run, so you might even get to try glacier skiing. Nearby, the village of Ponte di Legno has lots of pretty tree-lined runs, which new skiers sometimes prefer – the visibility is better and each run has a clear boundary, rather than being open to the elements.
Bulgaria is a great value-for-money destination that’s known for its cheap drinks and party vibe. The lift passes, equipment and tuition are great for the wallet too, so it’s a really easy pick for beginner groups and families. The smaller size of the Borovets ski area is just right for anyone starting out, and the lifts all start in the centre of resort so they’re easy to get to.
Alpe d’Huez, France
Alpe d’Huez is known as the sunniest resort in the Alps, which means great conditions and better visibility – all ideal for your first few days on skis. Its huge beginner area is right next to the village, and there’s a good range of cruisey blue runs to help you progress. Reward yourself for your efforts with drinks and dancing at the piste-side La Folie Douce.
Zell am See, Austria
Not only is Zell am See a great playground for beginners, it’s also super pretty. Hop on the CityXpress gondola and in minutes you’ll find plenty of wide and scenic runs through the trees, with stunning views over the lake below. It’s unusual to have so much in a ski resort – a cosmopolitan village with a medieval centre and great shopping – but it means there’s lots to explore when you’re not on the slopes.
Canada is known for its immaculately groomed pistes and fresh, light snow, which is great to learn on. Tremblant’s long, wide runs are generally quiet, with barely any lift queues, so you can use as much space as you need to perfect your turns, and be back up the mountain in no time. The resort is really simple to get around and all the runs come down to one central point. If your ski legs need a break, the excellent Scandinave Spa is just down the road.
There’s a quieter, more relaxed pace of life in Norway, where it can feel like you’re the only one on the slopes – great for practising those first tentative turns. Beitostølen’s accommodation is close to the lifts, so you can be out on the mountain in no time. Ski school groups tend to be small, so you get more one-on-one teaching, and the compact size of the ski area means finding your way around is easy.
Ready to take on your first runs? Find out more about beginner ski holidays.