Five Ski Resorts in Europe For Beginners
Beginner skiers relax, there are plenty of ski resorts in Europe that are ideal for novice skiers. It can be intimidating to know what to expect on a ski trip to Europe, especially if you’ve never skied there before. If you’re new to skiing, be assured, there are lots of resorts overseas that will make you feel comfortable and excited to hit the slopes. Here’s a review of five European ski resorts where beginners can conquer the slopes.
With wide, shallow pistes and four fenced-off “Evolution Zones” exclusively for beginners, Courchevel is an ideal resort for first time skiers and snowboarders. There are four stations here, each named after their altitude, ranging from 1300 to 1850, offering 27 green and 40 blue runs with beginner-friendly lifts and rope tows for those who are new to mountain travel. The slopes are well groomed and offer a number of gentle, wide pistes with easy gradients. There are still plenty of opportunities for more advanced skiers too so, if your group is mixed ability, Courchevel is a great choice.
Top tip – The best airport for Courchevel is Geneva – maybe consider spending a day exploring this fantastic city before heading to your resort. Check out this guide to 24 hours in Geneva for ideas.
As a lesser-known resort, Nendaz is less crowded and a little cheaper than other, more popular, ski areas. As a result, beginners can take their time learning away from the scrum of busier slopes. Head to the top of the first cable car to the Tracouet beginners’ area, where you can practise safely. Here there are rope pull lifts, magic carpet lifts and even a motorised roundabout to help beginners get to grips with skiing in circles. The blue slopes in Nendaz are wide and gentle, so perfect for those still finding their skiing confidence.
Top tip – There are some excellent ski schools in the town –Premier Alpine Centre is a good option as they’ll help arrange transfers too if necessary.
Les Arcs, France
In Les Arcs, you’ll find ‘ski tranquille’ nursery slopes directly above each of the resorts main villages, so you’ll be able to enjoy your first time skiing with ease. There are around 10 free lifts for beginners and 56 gentle, wide blue slopes on which to practise. With a great variety of slope-side lodgings, Les Arcs is perfect for families and for those acclimatising to a snow sports holiday for the first time.
Top tip – Les Arcs doesn’t use the green run classification that you’ll find in most other French resorts, so make sure to pick the gentler and wider blue runs.
Soldeu is a medium-sized resort with an extensive beginner zone just a cable car ride from the centre of the town. Snow coverage is usually reliable here, thanks to the high altitude of the resort, so an excellent base is almost guaranteed throughout the season. Over 70% of the ski instructors speak English, so lessons are easy to come by, and many of the surrounding slopes are gentle and easy for those new to the slopes.
Top tip – Head to the Espiolets beginner area; new rope tows have been added and there is a café and bar for refreshments after your lessons.
Bansko is a World Heritage Site surrounded by spectacular mountains, with a modern lift system and a good range of nursery slopes. Skiing here is great value, with reasonable prices for ski hire and lift passes and the area offers some of the longest ski runs in Bulgaria. Around 30% of the slopes are set up for beginners, so you’ll have plenty of choice when learning ski or snowboarding skills.
Top tip – Get to the gondola lift early, before 8.30am, to avoid lines. There can be hefty waits of up to an hour in Bankso during the peak hours of 8.30 – 10.30am so the early start is well worth the effort.
For more advice for your first ski holiday, check out this useful guide, which also includes airline baggage regulations and costs.