Top 5 European Beginner-Friendly Ski Resorts You Should Visit

Are you looking for help deciding on the best places to ski for beginners in the world? We know it can be difficult to decide where to make your first snowplough into the world of

Are you looking for help deciding on the best places to ski for beginners in the world? We know it can be difficult to decide where to make your first snowplough into the world of skiing. If someone in your skiing group is new to the sport, you might need to spend a little more time choosing your ski area. We’ve hand-picked the best ski resorts for beginners in this list – all complete with excellent après-ski, a fantastic atmosphere and a variety of nice easy beginners’ and intermediate slopes.

1. Les Gets, France

Les Gets is a family-friendly resort for beginners as well as for more accomplished skiers looking for endless intermediate terrain. It’s a good-looker: a classic Savoyard farming village with modern chalets that all blend nicely into the bucolic setting. Chalets 1066 has a wide choice of more than 30 chalets and apartments.

Almost perfect? The village is at a low 1,200m, although stone-free grass pastures underfoot need only a few centimetres of snow to cover easy slopes and become operational. The skiing in the interlinked Portes du Soleil, of which this is one in a baker’s dozen of resorts in France and Switzerland, goes up to nearly 2,500m and covers a mighty 372km of pistes.


2. Westendorf, Austria

The ski schools here in chocolate-box Tyrol claim to have taught more people to ski than any other resort in the world. That may well be true. It’s certainly an outstanding learning centre combined with a huge choice of green and blue runs, glorious scenery and a welcoming ambience. The combination will make you wonder why you have never been skiing before.

Westendorf used to be isolated, one of two resorts not properly connected into the giant Skiwelt ski area. These days it is an important linking point between Skiwelt’s 90 lifts and Kitzbühel’s 70. Nevertheless, Westendorf manages to maintain its laid-back village appeal. The three ski schools provide healthy competition, the standard of instruction is high, and there’s an abundance of thigh-slapping gemütlichkeit, as you’d hope for in a classic Tyrolean community such as this. Four-star Landhotel Schermer is close to the lifts and has a spacious swimming pool and spa area.

3. Jasna, Slovakia

This resort in the Low Tatras (which by the way, are often higher than the neighbouring High Tatras) offers some supreme skiing with 50km of well-groomed pistes and a modern 27-lift system.

Low prices, well-equipped rental shops, a competent ski school, easy green and blue runs and plenty of mountain ambience make this an ideal destination for beginners. Importantly, it also has lots of more demanding pistes and challenging off-piste to keep all standards happy. There’s a choice of three ski schools and prices are generally around 40 per cent less than in French or Austrian resorts. This nearest airport is Poprad-Tatry, a 45-minute drive away.

At the moment, Jasna remains more of a ski area than a destination. Each year sees more chalets and hotel rooms being constructed at the base area. But the main accommodation is a ten-minute ride away downhill at Demanovska Dolina. If travelling with children in particular, don’t miss out on the giant Tatralandia waterpark with its giant swimming pools.


4. Baqueira-Beret, Spain

This high resort in the Pyrenees with a substantial 120km of pistes is a favourite with the Spanish royal family and for over 40 years it has attracted a high-flying clientele from Madrid and Barcelona. It sits in isolated splendour above the attractive market town of Vielha in the scenic Val d’Aran, a two-hour drive from Toulouse airport, and has lots of easy slopes for beginners.

The resort itself is no beauty, although the hotels soften the original 1970s architecture. Much of the area’s charm lies in the ancient villages that line the road up from Vielha. A car is not essential but it’s useful for exploring the restaurants and bars tucked away down cobbled streets in the quaint hamlets below the resort itself.

5. Obergurgl, Austria

This village at the end of the Otztal, close to the Italian frontier, has been a favoured destination for families learning to ski since the 1960s. The big plus point here is its village altitude of 1,950m with the top lift at a mighty 3,080m. This means you can expect reliable snow cover at village level throughout the long season — important for beginners who otherwise must take a lift up to the snowline.

The standard of teaching in the ski schools is high and all instructors are English speakers. Ski lessons are easy-going and good value, and are run both morning and afternoon — in contrast to many French ski schools (which offer morning-only group lessons). Just be sure your children are happy to ski after lunch before you commit, or check your accommodation offers childcare. Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl is one of several Obergurgl hotels that can oblige. It has a spa/swimming pool and is conveniently located for both the slopes and après-ski.

Inspired to go on a ski holiday? Let us know which of these resorts you’ll be hitting first in the comments below!

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