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As a beginner, it’s essential to book your first few ski holidays at skiing resorts that cater well to beginners. That way, you’re not only going to get better and have more fun on the snow, but you’ll also be safer, and the risk of you getting injured will be significantly lower.
However, finding a beginner-friendly ski resort as a beginner is quite a challenge. You not only lack experience when it comes to knowing what each destination has to offer, but you probably don’t even know what to look for to tell if a ski resort is suitable for beginners.
To help you out, we’ve done all of the research for you. Below, we’re going to take a look at:
- The best places to go on skiing holidays for beginners
- What to look for in a skiing destination for beginners
- How to tell if a skiing resort is for beginners before booking
Best Places to Go on a Skiing Holiday for Beginners
There are many skiing destinations suitable for beginners across Europe. However, following our research, we concluded that the destinations that we’ll go over below are the most suitable for beginners.
Obergurgl is a stunning ski resort in the Ötztal Valley of the Austrian Alps. It is renowned for its high altitude and excellent skiing conditions from as early as the middle of November until the middle of April.
What makes this skiing resort particularly suitable for beginners is the sheer amount of beginner-friendly slopes and many fantastic skiing schools that can teach you everything you need to know about skiing.
Regarding the slopes, there are 112 kilometers (69 miles) of high-altitude slopes, 53% of which are for beginners. As far as the skiing schools are concerned, there are a handful of great options. Our favourite is the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl Ski School. There are a few reasons why we like this school in particular.
- It’s one of the largest and most well established
- There are a variety of individual and group skiing lessons to pick from
- Skiing instructors speak perfect English
- It’s pretty affordable despite being in one of Austria’s most popular resorts
If the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski school doesn’t offer what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to check out the following:
- Alpincenter Obergurgl
- Skischule Exclusiv
- Obergurgl Ski School
- Top Quality Skiing Obergurgl
- Smovey Ski School
Les Deux Alpes (France)
Nestled in the French Alps, Les Deux Alpes is one of the largest and most beginner-friendly skiing resorts in the whole of Europe. This charming winter paradise is home to 200 kilometers (124 miles) of slopes, 55% of which are beginner-friendly.
If you’re an absolute beginner, we recommend sticking to the lower part of the mountain near the village. The terrain in this part of the resort is perfect for beginners looking to gain more confidence before going higher up the mountain. And don’t worry; once you’re ready to tackle the steeper beginner-friendly slopes, you can do so by using 1 of the 45 different lifts in the area.
If you plan on taking skiing lessons before you hit the slopes (we’d highly recommend you do), there are plenty of options to pick from in Les Deux Alpes. However, there is one skiing school that stands above them all. It’s the Ecole du Ski Francais (ESF).
ESF is one of France’s largest and most reputable skiing schools in the whole country. They have a branch in Les Deux Alpes with over 200 certified ski instructors, more than 160 of which speak the English language.
The skiing season at Les Deux Alpes starts from late November until late April. As this resort is quite popular amongst beginners, if you want most of the slopes to yourself, we advise you to go during the low season.
Bansko is Bulgaria’s biggest and most popular skiing resort. The charming small town of Bansko is nestled at the foot of the Pirin Mountains and is home to around 75 kilometers (46 miles) of slopes, the majority of which (around 59%) are suited for complete beginners.
While we like many things about Bankso, one that stands out in particular is that the longest beginner’s slope goes all the way up the mountain (at around 2,600m above sea level). That way, beginners can also enjoy the stunning views that Bansko has to offer without having to hit the more advanced slopes.
When it comes to skiing schools, there are a handful of great options for beginners. The largest and most popular one is the Ulen Ski School in Bansko. This school offers a variety of beginner-friendly lessons that you can partake in as a group or on a 1-on-1 basis. Other ski schools that you can consider include:
- Bansko Ski Mania
- Method Snow School
- Ski & Snowboard School Bansko
The season in Bansko begins in mid-December and lasts up until around the middle of April. As this destination is renowned amongst tourists looking for cheap ski holidays, it gets busy on the slopes during peak season. So, to make the most of it, make sure to either book your ski adventure for during the week or just before the ski season gets into full motion.
Saalbach Hinterglemm (Austria)
Saalbach-Hinterglemm is an Austrian Alpine resort town located southwest of Salzburg. It’s not only one of Austria’s biggest ski resorts, but it’s one that is wildly popular among beginners due to how well the resort has adapted to accommodate the rising number of beginner skiers from the UK and abroad.
Home to over 270 kilometers (167 miles) of slopes, over 140 kilometers (87 miles) of which are beginner-friendly. What’s unique about this skiing destination for beginners is that you’ll find blue-ranked slopes at almost every elevation. So, if you want to use the lift to go all the way up to Reichkendlkopf (1,941m), you can do so before slowly descending back down to Saalbach. And if you prefer to stay at a lower altitude, that’s totally possible too.
When it comes to ski schools, there are a handful of options that you can pick from, such as Ski School Saalback, Rote Teufel Skischule, Pro Skischule Saalbach, and Skischule Mountain High. With that in mind, if we had to recommend one, it would be the Ski School Saalback, as this is the official ski school of Saalback.
Ski School Saalback has hundreds of experienced English-speaking ski instructors that provide services ranging from group training to individual sessions, which will be personalised to your current skill level and what you want to learn.
The official ski season at Saalbach Hinterglemm starts in late November and ends in mid-April. To avoid busy slopes, it’s a good idea to go during the low season.
What to Look for in a Skiing Destination for Beginners
Skiing can be extremely dangerous for beginners, so it’s essential that you carefully research the resort you’re going to before booking. As a beginner, there are a handful of things that we’d like you to look for. That way, you’ll not only be safe and have a blast but also come home a much better and more confident skier.
The most important thing you need to look for in a skiing destination for beginners is the slopes. You want to make sure there are plenty of gentle and beginner-friendly slopes that you can start skiing on. That’s where you can safely start to improve and gain some confidence before going up a level.
Excellent Ski Schools
If you’re completely new to skiing, we can’t emphasis how important it is to get some basic training before you hit the slopes. In just a few hours, a good ski instructor can guide you through all the basics and introduce you to some of the unspoken rules of skiing (no sharp turns or cutting across being some of them).
Without a good ski school at the resort, you’ll be putting yourself and everyone on the slope at risk of getting hurt. It’s simply not worth it.
High Safety Standards
Just in case something goes wrong during your trip, it’s best for the unfortunate event to happen in a place where emergency response units and healthcare are excellent. Most larger resorts have the health and safety of their tourists in check. The ones that you want to look more at are the smaller resorts that aren’t as mainstream.
How to Tell if a Skiing Resort Has Beginner-Friendly Slopes?
If you can’t read the slope maps already, this section is just for you. Before we let you know what you should look for, you should know that every continent has its own slope ranking system.
All European skiing destinations follow the Blue, Red, and Black colour system. Blue refers to beginners, red refers to intermediate, and black refers to expert. When looking at a slope map of any skiing destination, look at what colour the slopes are and refer back to the information that we’ve just provided you with.
Going to a beginner-friendly resort as a beginner in skiing is essential. You’ll not only have a lot more fun on the snow, but more importantly, you’ll be safe and at a significantly lower risk of injuring yourself in the process.
Above, we showed you a handful of the best beginner-friendly resorts and the best skiing schools within each one that you should go to before hitting the slopes. If you couldn’t quite find what you were looking for in our list of recommendations above, don’t hesitate to check out the following destinations for ski holidays too:
- Les 3 Vallées (France)
- Les Portes du Soleil (Switzerland)
- Tignes/Val d’Isère (France)
- Grandvalira (Andorra)
- Le Grand Massif (France)
- KitzSki (Austria)