Best Ski Resorts for Beginners – our guide
How to choose a ski resort for Beginners
When deciding where to visit on your next school ski trip, your first consideration should be – ‘what level of skier will I be taking’? If you are looking to take largely beginners on your next school skiing trip, then read on.
How many kilometers?
Whether you are a first time trip organiser or an experienced ski seasonaire, with beginners in tow it is important not to get bamboozled by resort facts and figures. All children learn to ski at different rates, however even a fast-learning beginner will not ski more than a few kilometers on a weeklong school ski trip. With this vital point lodged firmly in your mind, do not select the resort you wish to visit based on kilometers of pistes, vertical drop or any other similar factors. As a (very) general rule, you will pay more for lift passes that cover higher piste miles, so in effect if you go for a large resort when your group consists of beginners, then your students will likely be paying to have access to slopes they will likely never see, let alone ski.
Beginner slopes are key
When looking through resorts with beginners in mind, Ski Adaptable believe you should discount intermediate (red) and advanced (black) slope stats – instead see how many slopes there are for beginners. Some of the best beginner orientated resorts such as Vallnord, Folgaria and Sunday River may not have the mileage of other well-known resorts that you may have heard of, but what they lack in mileage (although still impressive) they make up for in other factors such as impressive beginner ski areas and award winning ski schools. Progression from green/beginner slopes onto longer, higher blues and easy reds are also crucial factors to consider. For example, Alpe d’Huez in France has one of the largest beginner areas in Europe, not to mention some impressive progression runs for your students to advance to throughout the course of the trip. Folgaria in Italy has some breathtaking long, wide and tree-lined slopes, at good altitudes which will allow your students to progress at their natural speed. In the US, most resorts including Sunday River, offer easy runs from atop the mountain peaks right to the bottom. These long, quiet runs offer a perfect opportunity for beginners to practice turns without the pressure of other more advanced skiers cutting past them.
The ski school make it
Does the ski school have English speaking instructors? Seems an obvious consideration, but the wrong instructor or an instructor who is not well versed at teaching English children can make or break a trip. Look at online reviews of ski schools, speak to Ski Adaptable and make this one of your most important considerations, after all your students will be spending in excess of 20 hours with their instructor on their ski trip. Ski Adaptable only work with resorts where we have personally vetted the ski schools, and who are tried and tested for suitability to school groups from the UK, i.e. we are confident the ski schools we offer will work well for your group.
Don’t go where you normally go
You may be an experienced skier, which makes it a perfect fit that you are looking to organise or help organise the annual school ski trip. However, a common pitfall that can occur is that you look to go to resorts where you have been with family and friends. What’s wrong with that right, after all you have been there so know the resort? A school ski trip is a different kettle of fish. A small, slope side, catered chalet may work wonderfully well for a family trip. This formula does not necessarily translate for school groups. You need to look for accommodation that knows what kids need, and not one or two kids but a whole, big group of kids! Add to that food that the fussiest of eater will take to (i.e. kid friendly food), a hotelier who understands what accommodating a group of kids is all about and you are on the right track. Ski Adaptable have a wide range of accommodations from family run chalets in Switzerland, to school hotels in Andorra and Italy.
Back to the previous point about piste lengths, remember even if an advanced skier conquers the entire piste map in a week long family trip, your beginner students will not. Also, some resorts are just better equipped to deal with school ski trips – ski hire shops setup for this purpose, ski school ‘fast-lanes’ in lift queue lines (all available in Vallnord, Folgaria, Sunday River and many of our other resorts), suitable accommodation, and even just quieter slopes meaning students get more skiing for their money. Finally, if you are travelling by coach, is it worth paying more for ski-to-door when you have your own private transfer to the slopes each day and slope side ski storage?
Off the slopes is important too
We all remember how hard it was to learn to ski, bruised bottoms, tired legs, cold hands (but we still love skiing right)? Therefore, do not forget what happens off the slopes as a bad experience can put children off for skiing for life. How is the infrastructure in resort – do children need to carry skis a long way each day up an icy hill for example (Ski Adaptable almost always provide slopeside ski storage). Is the ski school well suited to British school groups (see above, ours are)! Is hot food available in resort either at lunch, dinner or both? And let’s not forget the evening activities – après ski can make or break a ski trip as it offers opportunities for students to bond away from the slopes and participate in activities that they would never have the opportunity to try at home, from tobogganing (Leysin), to visiting a spa (St Gervais), swimming in a heated outdoor pool during a snowstorm, at minus 10 degrees (Sunday River) to a snow shoe safari (Folgaria). All experiences your students will never forget.
In summary, there is plenty to consider when picking the right resort for your group of beginners. However, Ski Adaptable have hand-picked a range of great resorts, ideally suited to beginner groups and we are here to help you select the best one based on budget, dates, group size and more. Just get in touch with our friendly team today to find out how we can help organize your next school ski trip.
Our top picks for Best for Beginners resorts are: