The choice is made – a ski or snowboard vacation is within the offing, whether or not it’s a solo journey or a vacation together with your accomplice, household or a bunch of buddies, or possibly simply because a winter-sports vacation, combining exhilarating out of doors train and exquisite surroundings, feels like severe enjoyable.
However, with a bewildering selection of resorts and quite a lot of nations each in Europe and additional afield, the primary problem is to decide on your vacation spot. Choose the appropriate ski resort which caters effectively for inexperienced persons and the expertise will greater than reside as much as expectations, heralding the first of many happy winters exploring the snowy peaks. Pick wrong and you may decide a snow-sports holiday is simply not for you.
Among the key requisites for first-timers are a good ski school with English-speaking instructors and a dedicated learning area. Then ideally there will be gentle longer runs high up the mountain to progress to as skills increase. It’s here that breathtaking high-mountain scenery really comes into its own.
When getting familiar with walking in ski boots, carrying skis and using ski lifts, it’s also helpful if getting around the resort is easy and convenient, with hotel or chalet accommodation near the lifts and ski school meeting point.
Then there are individual priorities. Some resorts are big with lots of interesting shops, lively bars, and extra fun like a swimming pool, while others are charming villages with plenty of child-friendly activities. Bear in mind that if you are holidaying with friends or family who’ve skied already, you’ll need a resort which caters to everyone’s abilities and preferences.
Some novices might prefer to stay closer to home in France or Austria where there are excellent first-timer destinations, while others may be tempted to venture to North America which also offers a range of good beginner options – plus a high chance of experiencing fluffy champagne powder. Further considerations include accommodation: depending on the budget, you might opt for a wonderfully luxurious mountain hotel in a big name resort for a reassuringly cosseting first-time experience, or decide on a friendly family-run guesthouse in a lesser-known resort for a more affordable introduction.
Whatever the decision, the best approach is to go with an open mind, don’t worry about falling over and do make sure you wear a helmet. Getting properly kitted out doesn’t have to be expensive – rent one from the same ski shop that organises your skis or snowboard and boots.
Here’s our pick of 10 resorts to suit novices of all persuasions, with lots of inside info as to what beginners should to look for in a resort to make sure their beginner ski holiday is hassle-free. Happy sliding!
Best for a slick experience
Famous for its multi-million-euro property prices, its glitz and its access to the massive Trois Vallées ski area, Courchevel might seem an unusual choice for novices. However, the resort has six resort villages, not all as expensive as the highest and smartest, Courchevel 1850, and more than half of Courchevel’s 150km of local slopes are green or blue, with free lifts for beginners in each village.
The best village bases for learners are Moriond (also known as 1650) and 1850, which both have nice long easy green runs for learners to progress to, as well as broad, gentle nursery slopes. However, Moriond makes the less pricey base, and its nursery slopes are well away from the inter-resort traffic of the rest of the Trois Vallées. The ESF Club des Piou-Piou at Moriond is also very well run, and the Indiens blue run here has a native American village part way down, making it extra fun for children.
Food standards in Courchevel reach lofty heights, and the general rule is the higher the altitude, the higher the bill. Luckily there are good restaurants lower down the mountain too, such as the Petit Savoyard in Moriond, serving traditional fare and wood-fired pizza. There’s also a decent après scene here, with regular live music or DJs at the lively Funky Fox, and La Boulotte offers live music and themed dining such as curry nights. A 2km toboggan run with underground tunnels goes from top to bottom of the access gondola, and the Aquamotion centre below the village boasts a surfing area and wild water rapids, as well as indoor and outdoor pools, saunas and steam rooms.
Where to stay
Le Ski has been offering holidays here for over 30 years and has 21 chalets in Moriond and neighbouring La Tania. Bellevue is a modern chalet apartment in the Aspen Lodge complex in Moriond with views to 1850. It sleeps four in two bedrooms. From £1,335, with Le Ski . Discover extra of the perfect lodging in Courchevel in our information right here.
Finest for timid learners
A reassuringly slow-paced Swiss resort, Villars is someplace inexperienced persons could make first turns in a relaxed, low-pressure ambiance. There are light nursery slopes at village stage, however the true attraction is that after mastering first turns there are lengthy, simple runs in fairly environment up the mountain to progress to.
Villars’ essential slopes are reached by a cog railway from the village, which matches as much as the mid-mountain hub of Bretaye at 1,810m, the place there’s a magic carpet and small button carry to make the transition from nursery slopes simple.
The village sits on a sunny hillside with views throughout the Rhône valley to the Franco/Swiss Portes du Soleil space. It has the air of a small city, with as many native residents within the high-street retailers as vacation makers and there is a splendid leisure centre with swimming swimming pools, sauna and steam room.
The place to remain
The luxurious Chalet RoyAlp Lodge & Spa is located on the foot of the cog railway. Services embody a spa with indoor pool, scorching tub, sauna and steam room, and a gastronomic restaurant, Le Jardin des Alpes.
Finest for a picturesque base
Full inexperienced persons actually don’t want the complexity of a big resort, so a novice’s go to to this Tirolean chocolate field with oodles of ambiance – it often wins prizes because the prettiest village in Austria – ought to lead to a lifetime of piste enthusiasm. The village has remained remarkably unchanged down the years. Additionally it is nice worth for cash – costs are low, even by Austrian requirements.
Alpbach has a nursery slope within the village centre that’s ideally suited for practising on, however the true studying takes place on the primary slopes a five-minute bus trip, then a gondola, away. They’re linked to these of Auffach within the neighbouring Wildschönau valley, which signifies that inexperienced persons progressing to intermediate stage have a good 109km of slopes to discover within the two valleys that make up Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau. Of the a number of ski colleges within the resort, Alpbach-Inside Alpbach is the unique, whereas Alpbach Aktiv and Skischule Alpbachtal even have good reputations.
Alpbach has a particular relationship with the British that started over 60 years in the past when Main Billy Patterson got here right here on depart from his military base in Germany and loved the pistes and the pubs. He instructed his military buddies, and so they instructed others. Hundreds of British have since learnt the fundamentals on Alpbach’s slopes, and lots of return yr after yr. British regimental ski groups nonetheless prepare right here.
The place to remain
Positioned near the village nursery slope and ski bus cease, the four-star superior Romantik-Lodge Böglerhof is run by the third technology of the Duftner household. Relationship again to the fifteenth century, it’s historically adorned and friends can take pleasure in free wine tasting within the previous cellar bar and a weekly fondue night time and torchlight stroll.
Finest for family-friendly ambiance
Les Will get, France
With its village-based nursery slopes, pedestrian-friendly centre and street prepare shuttle between the primary slopes and separate Mont Chéry space, Les Will get within the big French/Swiss Portes du Soleil space makes a perfect base for households of learners. There’s an enormous selection of lodging, together with child-friendly chalets with nannies.
Les Will get is ready at a somewhat modest 1,172m altitude, which implies snow cowl will not be essentially dependable at village stage all through the season. Nevertheless, there are extra nursery slopes up the mountain at Chavannes, and the native American themed Grand Cry Territory enjoyable park can also be right here. Les Will get shares a 120km native space with Morzine, and the British snow sports activities colleges BASS, LGS (Les Will get Snowsports) and Mint Snowboarding function right here. Kindergartens embody Les Fripouilles, which caters for kids from six months to 4 years.
The village itself is a satisfying combination of previous Savoyard chalets and extra trendy wood-and-stone buildings constructed consistent with their Alpine environment. Little one-friendly actions within the village embody skating, farm excursions and tenpin bowling. There’s additionally a cinema and the Musique Méchanique Museum, with round 550 displays together with music bins, clocks and self-playing pianos.
The place to remain
The small, 20-room Christiania is a standard lodge with wood décor on the foot of the slopes, simply 50m from the primary lifts. Scottish-owned and staffed by British staff it has comfy bedrooms, a bar-lounge space with log hearth and kids’s play room. From €95 pp/pn half board booked direct. Discover extra of the perfect lodging in Les Will get in our information right here.
Finest for scenic cruising
La Rosière, France
The unique La Rosière resort (now often known as La Rosière Centre) was developed within the Sixties and 70s initially of the street over the Petit St Bernard move to Italy, which is closed in winter. More moderen developments have been concentrated at Les Eucherts, round 1km away and linked by a fairly, snow-covered path that’s floodlit at night time and makes a stunning stroll. La Rosière is common with households due to the simple slopes and good ski colleges, and the views over the Tarentaise valley are beautiful.
Each elements of La Rosière’s village have good newbie areas and longer simple runs to progress to, and there’s additionally a enjoyable run for teenagers with St Bernard dog-themed obstacles to steer round in La Rosière Centre. The slopes are linked with La Thuile in Italy to type the Espace San Bernardo, a sizeable 152km space that fits inexperienced persons and intermediates with some pleasant cruises. The hyperlink to Italy can also be enticing because of the cheaper eating places on the Italian facet.
Each of La Rosière’s villages have a really pleasant really feel due to their small measurement, chalet-style buildings and lack of automobiles – the far ends of each are lifeless ends, so there isn’t a by visitors. Most lodging is in residences, some very sensible with spas. Après ski is pretty quiet, although some bars sometimes have reside bands.
The place to remain
Three-star L’Accroche Coeur lodge is a splendid chalet-style constructing with 18 bedrooms in Les Eucherts, 200m stroll from lifts and slopes. The open-plan bar, lounge and restaurant has nice views over the valley, and there’s a sauna. Discover extra of the perfect lodging in La Rosière in our information right here.
Finest for mixed-ability teams
Alpe d’Huez, France
Alpe d’Huez is residence to among the most intensive nursery slopes within the Alps, with two essential newbie areas linked by simple piste, and a dozen inexperienced runs providing quite a lot of development runs that few different resorts can match. Its intensive 250km of terrain is simply as effectively suited to consultants, whereas assured intermediates could have a ball. A high-altitude glacier ensures snow cowl is enough from early December to late April.
The village is positioned on a sunny plateau above the valley city of Bourg d’Oisans and cut up into eight small districts, or quartiers. The Vieil Alpe quartier, often known as the Previous City, is handy for nightlife, much less so for essential mountain entry. The perfect place for novices to remain is the ski-in ski-out Bergers quartier, a chalet suburb within the japanese nook of the resort near one of many essential areas of nursery slopes in addition to chairlifts into the primary ski space.
Extra of a celebration city than most French resorts, Alpe d’Huez has a great deal of busy bars, and vibrant late-night spots. There’s a department of La Folie Douce for slope-side après, with reside music and table-top dancing from mid-afternoon till the lifts shut. Though largely a self-catering resort, with many guests eating in, it is usually robust on good-value and household eating places. There’s a wealth of different actions on provide too, together with ice driving, swimming in out of doors and indoor swimming pools, skating on an open-air rink and canine sledding.
The place to remain
Lodging within the four-star Pierre & Vacances Les Bergers residence in Bergers ranges from two-person studios to residences sleeping as much as six. It’s 100m from the lifts, with parking and there’s additionally an out of doors heated pool and sauna. Discover extra of the perfect lodging in Alpe d’Huez in our information right here.
Finest for straightforward development
The Grandvalira space spans 210km, from party-hard Pas de la Casa at one finish to the quiet enclaves of El Tarter and Canillo on the different. Soldeu within the centre has lengthy been a favorite of British inexperienced persons, largely due to its acclaimed ski faculty, which incorporates an English‑talking part.
Instructing on the Soldeu faculty operates to a really excessive commonplace, and there are two giant nursery slope areas (one above Soldeu, one above El Tarter), with transferring carpets to make life simple. After studying the fundamentals, there are quite a few simple runs to progress to, though these can get crowded. A lot of the slopes are good for intermediate cruising – virtually two thirds of the pistes are purple or blue. The slopes above Pas de la Casa are extra suited to assured intermediates.
Whereas Pas de la Casa is a good-value however unattractive resort famed for wild partying, Soldeu has moved way more upmarket. There are a number of four-star and five-star resorts, together with the Sport Lodge Hermitage. That is on the foot of the slopes and has an enormous spa and several other high-end eateries. Though the village sprawls alongside a busy essential street and lacks ambiance, there are a number of bars and conventional eating places.
The place to remain
Conveniently positioned near the lifts, Piolets Park & Spa in Soldeu is a neatly renovated five-star lodge with ethereal rooms and wonderful views, spacious lounges, plus a contemporary spa, indoor pool, and devoted kids’s pool and play space.
Finest for extra-curricular actions
Saas Price, Switzerland
One of many highest areas within the Alps, most of Saas Price’s slope face north and are above 2,500m. For learners there’s a devoted newbie space on the fringe of the village, which typically has good snow and is roofed by a particular newbie carry move. Then there are ideally suited development slopes excessive up on glacier slopes, the place top-quality powder snow is sort of assured. Even runs which are marked purple listed here are typically very light.
Saas Price’s slim streets, lined with enticing previous buildings and newer low-rise chalets, are traffic-free and an enthralling setting for a stroll. The village is predicated on an previous farming neighborhood and retains its allure (and cowsheds filled with wintering cattle) regardless of substantial growth because the first entry street was inbuilt 1951. The encompassing mountains – 13 peaks of 4,000m and better towering above – are additionally beautiful. Saas Price will get little or no solar within the early season, so March and April are good months to go to, when temperatures within the resort and on the mountain are hotter; December and January will be bitterly chilly.
Unusually, Saas Price has a complete mountain, Hannig, that’s served by a gondola, on account of be renovated for 2023/24, and dedicated to actions apart from snowboarding and snowboarding – snowshoeing, tobogganing, paragliding or strolling on cleared paths. There’s a leisure centre as effectively, with a 25m pool, children’ pool and water slide, scorching tub, quite a lot of saunas and steam rooms, and a fitness center, plus a pure ice rink, and the Feeblitz, a enjoyable rollercoaster-style trip on rails by the timber.
The place to remain
A five-star, boutique lodge which mixes the cosiness of a chalet with the comforts of a luxurious lodge. Suites on the Capra have panoramic views and the lodge is conveniently positioned close to the city centre. It has a well being spa which provides a variety of therapies, indoor and out of doors swimming pools, sauna and steam room services. Discover extra of the perfect lodging in Saas-Price in our information right here.
Finest for snow reliability
Passo Tonale, Italy
This compact, value-for-money village lies at 1,883m, with lifts going as much as 3,016m. It’s one of many few Italian resorts to be snow certain from late October to mid-June, because of the Presena glacier at 3,000m.
Passo Tonale’s light open slopes type a near-perfect nursery space for studying first turns and gaining confidence, with out the specter of extra achieved slope customers whizzing scarily by. Basically, runs are primarily suited to inexperienced persons and intermediates, and the gondola to the glacier means even inexperienced persons can take pleasure in a view of the Italian Alps from the highest; the one run down is purple. There are a handful of ski and snowboard colleges within the resort providing an honest commonplace of instruction, however when reserving classes do ask for an English-speaking teacher.
The resort village was developed primarily to service the slopes, with a street operating by the center, and options predominantly chalet-style buildings. It’s typically quiet through the week, however involves life through the Italian holidays and at weekends, and there are many full of life bars on the town. One après choice is a meal at Lodge La Mirandola, located method above the primary resort. It dates again to the twelfth century, and the restaurant has a vaulted stone ceiling, oodles of ambiance and will be reached within the night by snowmobile.
The place to remain
This modest three-star is central and a few five-minute stroll to the lifts. Albergo Eden has been run by the identical household for over 40 years and the rooms are good worth for cash and cozy. A primary-floor TV room provides to the comforts and good healthful residence cooking is served within the cosy eating room. Discover extra of the perfect lodging in Passo Tonale in our information right here.
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