If it’s your first-time skiing or you’re relatively new to skiing, we list the best ski resorts for beginners. Finding a ski resort with gentle terrain and the best facilities for beginners can be tricky, but we’ve done the hard work for you. With over 20 years of experience working in the European Alps, we know the best ski resorts for beginners whilst not breaking the bank.
BEST SKI RESORTS FOR BEGINNERS
- Avoriaz, France
- Courchevel 1850, France
- La Plagne, France
- Lech, Austria
- Les Arcs, France
- Tignes, France
Why it’s important to choose the right resort:
You can learn to ski on any mountain, but some ski resorts are better suited to beginners. When it comes to ski holidays, as a beginner you need gentle terrain for controlling your speed. They could have easy access to the slopes from all accommodation options so you don’t have to walk in your ski boots (which can feel robotic as the boots are so rigid!)
Others have designated beginner areas making learning more straightforward and less frightening. It may be that some resorts have more choice when it comes to excellent ski schools – which again, can help transform your first ski trip as beginner skiers.
The ski resort of Avoriaz is one of the most snow-sure resorts due to its high altitude in the expansive ski area of Portes du Soleil, France. You may recognise the other nearby resort of Morzine, which is very popular with Brits and families.
But it does sit at a slightly lower altitude, meaning the snow disappears quickly in the spring, making it more hassle to start skiing each day. Avoriaz sits at 1800m altitude, whereas Morzine sits at 1000m. We’d always recommend staying in Avoriaz if you’re set on skiing in the Portes du Soleil (known as PDS for short).
The ski area in Avoriaz caters well for beginners and has over 25 blue runs. Green and blue runs are the most leisurely ski runs you’ll want to look out for when you arrive at the resort. Make sure you pick up a map of the slopes (in France ski runs are known as pistes) so you can get to grips with where you’re staying, and where the beginner areas are.
It’s good to note that many of the easier blue-graded runs start from the top of the mountain and finish back down in the main town, meaning that even those new to skiing can take in the high alpine views at the top of the mountain. To learn more about how ski runs are graded by colours, look here.
Another reason we love Avoriaz:
It’s only 2 hours from Geneva, one of the main airports you’ll want to look at flying into. Meaning Avoriaz is a relatively easy resort to access by air. Then you need to organise a ski transfer in a minibus or private transfer to the resort, which takes around 2 hours.
We’ve got plenty of information regarding airport transfers we recommend, childcare options in Avoriaz, a quick link to webcams and relevant information for those looking to ski in Avoriaz. Find out more about Avoriaz.
Courchevel 1850’s ski area includes plenty of easy green and blue runs, and the resort has worked hard to improve facilities for beginners of all ages. The ski resort sits at a high altitude, with south-facing slopes, so it always has reliable snow cover.
Beginners can start in the Evolution Zone, which is known as the ‘ZEN’ area and can be seen on a piste map as the green highlighted areas labelled ZEN. In this area, there are several drag lifts you can utilize, as well as two magic carpet lifts to get you started.
Another great place to learn to ski in Courchevel is between the Biollay and Jardin Alpin lifts. These runs provide access to a good network of green runs. They lead back to the centre of Courchevel 1850 and are long and wide with a slight gradient – absolutely perfect for beginners to learn to ski and practice on.
And once you have built your skills and are feeling a bit more confident, it’s easy to graduate to blues nearby and maybe even a red or two! Courchevel is by far one of the best ski resorts with plenty of gentle nursery slopes, ski in ski out accommodation, great ski schools and facilities for first-timers.
Courchevel 1850 is also a family-friendly resort with snow tubing, ice skating, sledging, cross country skiing and more. If some of your group are more accomplished skiers, then there are plenty of intermediate slopes and off-piste areas for experienced skiers.
Ready to book your next ski holiday to Courchevel?
Find any practical information you need for your next trip to Courchevel, including our recommendations for airport transfers, the nearest airport, where to stay, childcare options and more.
Courchevel 1650 is also fantastic for beginners and has made vast improvements in the past five years to create a Western Ski Park with two magic carpets, a tipi with hot chocolates for a break and gentle slopes for those learning to ski. It’s not just for kids, and with a swift gondola ridet up the Ariondaz bubble from the main ski resort, it couldn’t be easier to learn to ski.
There are also plenty of long blue beginner slopes and green runs so you can ski back into town – if you’re feeling confident enough. And themed skiing areas for kids, such as the Indian’s run with plenty of interactive activities for kids. And with an excellent choice of ski schools, Courchevel is one of the best french resorts for a family friendly ski holiday.
A large portion of La Plagne’s ski area is a beginner’s playground and is well known for being a beginner-friendly resort. Several open green and blue slopes (83 out of 132 pistes in total) are situated on a rolling plateau high above the tree line. The wide, well-groomed pistes across the ski resort leave plenty of space for beginners to practice their turns.
La Plagne has also been doing a lot of work the past few years to make it even better for beginners with less congestion and new beginner-designated areas with nursery slopes where you could spend your first ski holiday.
La Plagne is split up into lots of little villages at different altitudes; all with stunning scenery. For the quickest access to some easy blue runs, it’s best to stay further up the hill, in Belle Plagne and Plagne Centre. Although La Plagne is one of the most popular ski resorts, the pistes never feel busy due to their sheer size as there is so much terrain to explore.
And the fun doesn’t have to stop once you’re all skied out for the day. There are dedicated sledging zones in almost every village, an indoor swimming pool, and a number of events on during school holidays to keep the kids entertained. Oh and some brilliant après ski for the parents too!
You may not have heard of Lech, but that’s because it’s a hidden gem in Austria. It neighbours St Anton, which is a more popular resort in the Arlberg region and has access to all of their slopes too. Don’t be intimidated by St Anton’s off-piste reputation. In Lech, beginners and intermediates can access nearly the whole mountain with plenty of options for gentle ways down.
Lech is a quiet, small ski resort, so it’s unlikely there will be lift queues or busy pistes, and it’s a beginner paradise. It’s also good to note that Lech has a strict policy, meaning they only sell 14,000 lift passes daily, unlike other ski resorts.
There is also plenty of beginner ski areas for kids and adults to practice right beside the main ski school meeting points. Lech and its surrounding mountains are said to have their own microclimate, with guaranteed snow right from the village centre.
Lech is also perfect for more advanced skiers too, as you can easily find your ski legs at the start of your trip in Lech and progress to more intermediate, slightly more challenging runs in the Arlberg region. Look at the Lech piste map and get to know the ski resort. More information can be found here.
Les Arcs is also a popular destination for beginner ski holidays due to its well-designed ski accommodation. You walk right out of your apartment each morning, straight to the slopes, and the beginner’s area is right in front of you. With plenty of great ski schools close by, learning to ski couldn’t be easier!
There are ‘ski tranquille’ beginner zones in each of Les Arcs’ villages. So no matter where you’re staying, you have access to easy nursery slopes. You can then head above the tree line in Vallandry and Plan Peisey, where you’ll find cruisey blues with a beautiful tree-lined backdrop while you find your feet.
With several wide and manageable pistes, beginners find Les Arcs a great place to learn how to ski. They offer about 10 beginner lifts for free as well as a beginner’s lift pass option. You can choose to buy 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10 trips on the lifts, so you don’t have to commit to a lift pass for the whole week.
If you’re nervous, grab a sticker from the tourist office that identifies you as a first-timer to the resort staff. This enables them to come and offer you friendly advice and answer any questions you might have whilst on the nursery slopes.
If you need a helping hand getting to grips with the basics on your first ski holiday, don’t forget to book ski lessons with New Generation Ski School. It’s easy and you can fully book online.
The beginner area sits in the centre of Le Lac, making it easy to access from wherever you’re staying. For those not staying in Le Lac, the local bus is free and will take you close to the Magic Carpet. The magic carpet lift is the first stop for most “never-even-put-on-a pair-of-skis” beginners, with a gentle slope on both sides. Tignes offers plenty of space to get used to your new planks!
Even more conveniently, this is right next to our meeting point for those learning to ski with one of our enthusiastic, knowledgeable and encouraging team members. Making pick up and drops off easy for families with kids and adults in different groups. This is another reason why Tignes, is such a family friendly ski resort.
For more practical information for visiting Tignes and why we love it, click here.
Ski School Suggestions
Now that you’ve got a better idea of the best ski resorts for beginners, you can start to plan your holiday and find ski schools to match your needs. We’ve been teaching ski and snowboard lessons for nearly 25 years in the Alps and know a thing or two about ski holidays. . We are based in 20 of the most prestigious resorts and offer adult group lessons in all of the resorts mentioned above. We also run private lessons, and kids group lessons to cater to your needs. Discover all of our ski lessons and get in touch today if you want to chat with one of our friendly, knowledgable teams.