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Ski instructor with beginner skiers in Grandvalira, Andorra

Best Ski Resorts for Beginners

4th September 2018

A blog from Conor...

Different people want different things from their first ski holiday. Here we’re primarily focusing on ski areas that should offer a more relaxed environment for first-timers. Our suggested best ski resorts for beginners are well designed so that accommodation, rental shop and nursery slopes are nearby to make getting on the slopes each day as easy as possible. Finally they offer the most affordable options you’re likely to find for the combined ski holiday + ski rental + lift pass + ski tuition cost.  So they are not usually the bigger, busier resorts.

But the bigger, busier and usually more expensive options will have learn-to-ski programmes too, so if that’s your preference, that type of resort is well worth looking it to as well and two of our suggestions are in fact among the world’s biggest.

Here are five especially beginner-friendly recommendations:

El Tarter, Andorra

Andorra has built a well-deserved reputation as one of the best areas in the world for learning to ski.

Two big parts of this are the excellent, native-English speaking teachers in the ski schools (Brits, Kiwis, Aussies, Canadians…) and the high value of ski holidays overall in the Pyrenean principality.

Andorra’s half dozen or so major ski villages are now divided in to two different ski pass areas, Grandvalira and Vallnord, which allow experienced skiers to use the lifts above different villages  without having to buy a different lift ticket in each village, as used to be the case.

In Grandvalira alone there are more than 400 ski teachers and El Tarter is one of the best choices here (although they’re all good!) as it has a quieter, relaxed feel. If you’re looking for a bigger choice of shops, bars and restaurants on your first ski holiday though, opt for Soldeu or Pas de la Casa.   

Banff, Canada

It may be a long way to go to learn to ski, but, hey, if you’re going to go skiing why not start at one of the best ski areas in some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world?

Banff has three ski areas in fact and they’re all good for first timers. This being North America you can expect first class service and English-speaking instruction – you may even get a Brit teaching you as Canada is big for instructor training too.

Mount Norquay is the closest of the three to Banff centre and it’s also the smallest and least intimidating of the three where the locals learn to ski.

Les Menuires, France

Les Menuires IS a big resort and it IS in the biggest ski area in the world (3 Valleys) – so it rather breaks the mould for the type of ski area we say we’re going to recommend. But it makes the cut because it offers slopeside convenience, some of the best value in the region and has made huge efforts for beginners with large nursery slope areas separated from the rest of the slopes.

They also offer an ‘Easy Rider’ lift pass by the day for half the cost of a regular lift ticket which covers 16 lifts in the region – all the terrain you’re likely to need in your first week. The ‘Easy Rider zones’ are clearly marked in pink on the piste map (and there’s even a special version of the map for beginners).

Arinsal, Andorra

We’re back in Andorra because it really is a great choice for beginners. Arinsal is a long-standing British favourite and operates one of only two ski schools in Europe, it says, that are accredited to BASI – the British Association of Snowsports Instructors. The school has 200 friendly, efficient instructors, many with English as their first language and they teach on specially chosen nursery slopes.  Arinsal is a lovely, friendly resort with a compact centre so nothing is ever too far away.

Les Arcs, France

Les Arcs has a long-standing reputation for its learn-to-ski courses, pioneering a technique back in the era of more difficult to use long, thin straight skis that allowed first timers to learn on short skis then move to progressively longer ones. Fortunately these days the modern carving skis are much easier to learn with anyway, but Les Arcs still goes that extra mile - with nursery slopes located steps  from the door of most apartments, easy to use lifts to get up to the slopes and specially designed classes for beginners to make learning as fun and effortless as it can be.


For more information...

If you would like to know more you can enquire online or call us on 02921 880022 and speak to one of our ski specialists, we have first hand knowledge of these ski resorts and more so let us offer our expertise and help you plan your perfect winter holiday. 


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