- One of the best snow records in Europe.
- A friendly resort with everything close at hand.
- Wide nursery slopes and friendly tuition.
Flaine is a fantastic place to learn in if you’re in a mixed group, as all the slopes end up in the centre of a wide snow bowl, including plenty of easy-going green runs.
The modern resort is split into two levels, Flaine Forum and Flaine Forêt, connected by funiculars, and what they lack in traditional charm they make up for with a friendly welcome.
TOP TIP: If you want to expand your horizons, Flaine is part of the Grand Massif ski area.
- Brilliant ski schools and beginner slopes.
- Very affordable food and drink.
- Accommodation to suit different budgets.
With free lift passes for kids up to 15 years old, and an amazing ski school, it’s worth making the slightly longer transfer to get to this Andorran resort. Practise your turns on the brilliant beginner slopes and wide, tree-lined runs for intermediates in the Pal Valley. There’s a big après ski scene too, with an almost constant party at the bottom of the slopes.
TOP TIP: Make use of the mountain-top lockers rather than carry your skis up and down daily.
- Excellent ski school, central nursery slopes.
- Loads of non-ski activities to try.
- Short transfer – just 90mins from Innsbruck.
This pretty, family-friendly town isn’t large, but it’s first-rate for learners, with a fantastic ski school called the 1st Wildschönau, and mile upon mile of easy and intermediate runs to cut your teeth on. Expert skiers in your group can head to nearby Auffach. Also try snowshoeing or sleigh riding and join the locals for après in the lively Cave Bar.
TOP TIP: Try blue piste 21 on the Markbachjoch for gentle skiing with spectacular views.
- Sunny slopes with plenty of snow-making.
- Gentle pistes plus a top-rated ski school.
- More affordable than other ski destinations.
Want to learn to ski without splashing too much cash? Head to Pamporovo. This sun soaked resort gets 270 days of sunshine a year, and its easy-to-navigate slopes and cheap-as-chips prices make it the perfect destination for first-time skiers who aren’t sure if snowsports are for them, and don’t want to spend thousands finding out.
TOP TIP: Make the most of the affordable après by checking out Dak’s Bar for live music.
- High-standard hotels at lower prices.
- Free lift passes for kids up to 11 years.
- Pretty resort with a relaxed atmosphere.
At the foot of the large Grandvalira ski area, Soldeu and neighbouring El Tarter have an incredible snow record and are perfect if you’re a beginner progressing to an intermediate and are keen to get some miles under your belt. Fancy a deluxe stay? A big proportion of the accommodation is of 5* standard, but without the usual price tag.
TOP TIP: Head to the area above El Tarter for blue runs where you can fine tune your turns.
- Dedicated nursery slopes, and top tuition.
- Easy runs on the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier.
- A great après scene on and off the pistes.
Beginners will feel right at home in Kaprun with easy access from the resort to a selection of suitable blue and red runs, including some gentle high-altitude ones on the glacier. Off the pistes, head to Kaprun’s excellent public pools and spa centre, and don’t miss the Ice Camp, a series of interconnected igloos complete with ice bar and sun deck.
TOP TIP: Dine with great panoramic views at the Gipfel Restaurant, at 3,000m.
Alpe d’Huez, France
- One of the sunniest resorts in the Alps.
- Nursery slopes and blue runs close to home.
- Good après scene and lots of off-slope fun.
Nicknamed the ‘island in the sun’ thanks to over 300 sunny days a year, Alpe d’Huez is one of the seven resorts that make up the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine. It’s famous for its exciting expert skiing but there’s still plentiful stuff here for beginners. Once the sun goes down Alpe d’Huez parties hard – if you’ve never sampled the après life before, you’re in for a treat.
TOP TIP: Head to the all-dancing on-piste Folie Douce bar for awesome après, Alpe d’Huez style.
- Gentle beginner runs and a top ski school.
- Quiet, sunny pistes and short lift queues.
- Ski two countries in one day.
Bardonecchia sits in a sunny valley right on the French border and two of its three ski areas are interlinked, opening up a lot of terrain. Once you’ve mastered the basics you can also roam across the border to the resort of Montgenèvre in France – all included on your lift pass. The town itself has an ice rink, sports centre and a lively après scene.
TOP TIP: Get inspired by watching the pros at the Olympic Ski Park in neighbouring Melezet.
- The largest beginner ski area in Finland.
- Attractive village with Scandinavian character.
- A short transfer time of 25 mins.
Ruka is a completely different experience to other European ski destinations, with low light, cold temperatures and a winter wonderland feel. The slopes are quiet and ski school groups are small, so learning is more personal. Ruka is also about more than skiing – try a reindeer safari or dog sledding, or just cosy up in a traditional log cabin.
TOP TIP: Learning with kids? Go at Christmas for the chance to meet Santa on the slopes.
Passo Tonale, Italy
- Small, family-friendly, and value for money.
- Quiet, easy runs and excellent ski schools.
- The good lift system means few queues.
Passo Tonale is a high mountain pass with a long, snow-sure season. Most hotels are within easy reach of the chairs, and there’s also a gondola that takes you up to the 3,000m-high Presena Glacier – which is suitable for beginners. The après is more about chilled afternoon beers than partying hard – or go snowmobiling or cross-country skiing instead.
TOP TIP: Night skiing on floodlit runs is included with your Passo Tonale lift pass.
For trips to all these resorts and expert advice visit Crystal Ski