We know planning a first time ski holiday can be stressful – but don’t fret, Decathlon along with the experienced team from Erna Low have researched and collected for you the 5 best ski resorts for beginners. Below you’ll find top resort recommendations for beginners looking for the perfect destination to put ski to snow for the first time.
Les Arcs, France
Les Arcs is in France and is ideal for beginners! This area is renowned for being the perfect combination of ski slopes and après-ski facilities. There are several villages within Les Arcs including Arc 2000, Arc 1950 and Arc 1800. Arc 2000 and Arc 1950 provide free access to a ski lift leading on to a nursery slope so you won’t struggle to get around and you’ll be able to cruise around before attempting your first ski run.
Families and beginners will love the diverse range of slopes to choose from – as you build confidence, you’ll be able to progress through the more advanced runs. We always recommend beginners invest in attending a ski school before they venture on to the slopes, Les Arcs has great options for children and adults.
After a day of skiing, you’ll also have access to great après-ski facilities including fantastic restaurants and nightlife options. For example Arc 1950 has a resort club which runs a weekly entertainment programme suitable for the whole family! Take part in a night time cross country ski or go to the local storytelling night. Arc 1800 has Mille 8 which is an exciting new development that is great for families.
Perfect for: Beginners looking for a resort which provides easy access to slopes and family friendly facilities.
There are 5 villages in Tignes, the higher purpose built areas Val Claret and Le Lac are located above the tree line at 2100m and Tignes 1800, Le Lavachet and Les Brevières have a more traditional feel. All are connected by a free shuttle bus.
Whilst not necessarily an obvious choice, we recommend Tignes because it’s perfect for all abilities. Beginners will benefit from a range of slopes and runs. You’ll also have access to 5 free ski lifts provided for beginners of any age in all 3 areas of the resort. The village is surrounded by beautiful mountains which create a fantastic atmosphere. You’ll feel like you’re in a film– excellent for those wanting to capture their first ski selfies!
If you want a break from skiing, you can visit the ‘Aquatic Centre’. Here you’ll find a swimming pool, spa area, water slide and saunas. You can also take part in one of the many activities in the area like; husky sleigh rides, mountain snow biking, paragliding and snowmobiling.
Perfect for: Beginners looking for a beautiful holiday with the option to do something adventurous like enjoying the view from a helicopter.
Val d’Isère, France
Val d’Isère is one of the most popular ski destinations for UK tourists. This beautiful resort is picture perfect and makes the ideal location for Christmas and New Years. There are many different types of accommodation options in this resort too – you can opt for a traditional chalet style hotel or you can choose something more modern, like an apartment.
This resort is just over 3 hours away from Geneva airport and is connected to Tignes, another popular resort. Beginners will appreciate the numerous ski schools in the area and massive investment that has recently been made with the new covered moving carpet lifts giving easy access to the wide nursery slopes at the top of the new Solaise lift. More advanced skiers will love having access to all sectors of the 300km the ski area shares with Tignes. The mountains closest to Val d’Isère also feature large areas of off-piste runs – perfect for those looking for adventure!
Val d’Isère has great facilities for all the family – if you fancy doing something different one day you’ll have lots to choose from. Head to the modern swimming pool and sports centre or try your hand at ice climbing. The area also has some legendary restaurants and nightlife – so you won’t miss out on being ‘merry’ this Christmas!
Perfect for: Perfect for mixed ability groups and those looking for a resort with great après-ski facilities.
Flaine is a modern, purspose built resort found in the Haute Savoie region. It’s located in a unique ‘bowl’ – so it has lots of north facing slopes. The resort has a reputation for ‘powder skiing’ and benefits from natural snow fall, making perfect conditions a normal occurance.
Flaine is also unique because it was purspose built and designed for skiers. This means the lift system is very efficient, so you won’t waste time in queues. This resort is a great choice for beginners and it’s stunning views over Mont Blanc will not disappoint. More advanced skiers will love the off-piste options and will have access to 265km of the Grand Massif ski area.
The facilities in Flaine are top notch – you’ll have access to almost every type of activity possible. Treat yourself to a helicopter tour or arrange a family fun night at the local bowling alley.
Perfect for: Those looking for a purpose built ski resorts with lots of après-ski facilities.
Whistler is a great destination for beginners and intermediate skiers. With over 8,100 acres of skiable terrain, you’ll find a range of slopes and runs to suit everyone. This region features find two of North America’s most famous mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb.
Beginners will love the range of ski runs available – perfect for those looking to practice their skills and relax. For the more daring skier, there is a great mixture of challenging on-piste and off-piste runs available too. You’ll also find a freestyle park perfect for skiers and snowboarders – head here to try out a few moves or just enjoy watching others show off.
When you’re not on the slopes, you’ll have plenty to do! The village itself provides lots of options for dining and shopping. If you’re looking for something fun to do, you’ll also have access to other activities – including art galleries or the opportunity to go backcountry zip lining.
Perfect for: Beginners and advanced skiers/snowboarders looking to travel a little bit further.
If you feel inspired and you need to know how to choose your first skis or snowboard, you can read this article which will give you useful experts advice.