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If you are a beginner skier planning your first ski trip, then look no further! We have put together a guide on what to look for when choosing a ski resort for beginners and have selected our top picks of the best beginner-friendly resorts in Europe.

Before you set off for your first trip away we would recommend taking a couple of lessons on a dry ski slope or even better at indoor snow domes such as The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, Snozone in Milton Keynes or the Chill Factore in Manchester. If you can learn the most basic skills like putting on your skis/board and boots, making some of your first turns and how to fall over safely, this will set you up nicely for your first ski holiday.

What to consider when booking a ski holiday as a beginner:

  1. Time of year: If you can, try to choose off-peak weeks (outside of school holidays) as the slopes will be quieter which will allow you more space to learn. Fewer people on the slopes whizzing by is only going to help your confidence when you’re finding your feet.
  2. Booking lessons: Make sure you book in some lessons before you go. Booking ahead of time with Maison Sport will ensure you have the best instructor rather than running the risk of arriving in resort without anyone available or having an instructor that doesn’t suit your needs. A good instructor will take you from a nervous beginner to a confident improver in no time.
  3. Choosing cost-effective options: Good value is best! In the list of resorts we have compiled we have selected resorts that have better value options such as free beginner lifts or options to pay per lift journey. When you are not sure how you will take to skiing it is best to keep your options open. You may be feeling tired or achy at the beginning so it is always good to have the option of taking a half day or doing less runs in the day.
  4. Being well-prepared! Make sure you have all the correct clothing and equipment organised that you need. You don’t want factors such as ill-fitting equipment or being cold to ruin your experience. Read our guide to ski gear essentials and our handy ski trip packing list, to make sure you are kitted up before you go!

Now time for the resorts! We have considered aspects such as budget, the gradient and width of slopes and special beginner zones. We also have instructors available to book in all of these resorts so you know you will be well looked after for your lessons!

Les Arcs, France

les arcs

Les Arcs is a very popular first-ski destination for beginners because of its gentle wide pistes. Much of the accommodation is ski-in ski-out, which means you walk out of your apartment each morning, straight on to the slopes, and the beginners area is right in front of you. The resort is split into four areas each with their own beginners area with gentle slopes and lifts designed specifically for ease of use for beginners to try.

If you are starting as a complete beginner you will benefit from nursery areas where a ski pass is not required. There are also a couple of offers on lift passes where you can buy 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10 trips on the lifts, which means you don’t have to spend money on a ski pass for the whole week.

Book lessons in Les Arcs

Cervinia, Italy

cervinia

This ski area is linked to Zermatt, Switzerland, but as a beginner skier or snowboarder it is unlikely you will be crossing the border. You will be focussed on the extensive nursery slopes and wide blue runs. The beginner slopes are next to the main conglomeration of hotels and are gentle and sheltered. Cervinia is one of the highest resorts in Europe and you will typically find soft, forgiving snow on wide open slopes.

Cervinia offers a limited ski pass which includes the easy magic carpet lift on the beginners slope in the village. The progression slopes are just above and offer a gentle gradient that will help to build confidence. We think that Cervinia is a great option for beginners!

Book lessons in Cervinia

Courchevel, France

Courchevel

Courchevel has been a long standing favourite for beginners because of its wide open pistes with gentle gradients. Courchevel consists of five main villages situated at different altitudes where you will find free magic carpet style lifts for children and beginners in all five areas. You will find a total of twelve free lifts in the beginners zones so if you are a complete beginner you wont need to buy a lift pass at all.

If you are looking for some progression from the beginner lifts you are able to buy a ski pass for as little as 3 hours to explore the wider area. You will also be able to purchase a Courchevel only pass rather than the 3 Valleys ski pass (which includes the neighbouring resorts of Meribel and Val Thorens). The whole of Courchevel is accessible on blue runs, so as you progress you will be able to explore the wide groomed pistes where you can practice what you’ve learnt and build your confidence.

Book lessons in Courchevel

Avoriaz, France

Avoriaz

Avoriaz is situated at the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area. This traffic-free resort is fantastic for beginners. You will find 4 green and 25 blue pistes in town and in the wider Portes du Soleil ski area, a total of 34 green pistes to help build your confidence. The runs around the resort are gentle and wide and you are able to travel across the whole resort on blue runs.

As a complete beginner you will start off in the beginner zones where a ski pass is not required. When you progress on from here you will be able to buy a ski pass for as short as 5 hours. You may want to consider buying an Avoriaz only ski pass rather than the Portes du Soleil ski pass (which includes the neighbouring resorts in France and Switzerland). Children under the age of 5 also ski for free which helps if you are travelling with young children. So don’t hesitate to book and enjoy the vast amount of beginner-friendly tracks!

Book lessons in Avoriaz

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier

Verbier has lots on offer for first time skiers and snowboarders with its three beginners areas located relatively close to one another with easy access from the resort centre. These areas have free magic carpets and lifts where you wont need to worry about getting a lift pass. As you progress to more advanced slopes you have the option of buying a local Verbier only pass rather than the full 4 Valleys area. There are also half day or full day options on passes.

The Les Esserts area is the largest of the beginner zones in Verbier, with one drag lift and 2 magic carpets at your disposal. The short gentle slopes are situated next to the Hameau bus stop and a popular restaurant terrace which is great for anyone on foot or serves as a good rest or meeting point for your group.

Book lessons in Verbier

So, what next?

We have plenty of fantastic independent instructors in all of these popular beginner-friendly resorts. On Maison Sport you have the luxury of reading reviews ahead of time so you will be able to pick an instructor that suits your exact needs. You will also be able to chat to your instructor before your trip and ask any questions you may have with regards to your lessons.

The Independent Instructors on Maison Sport are Waiting for You!

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