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6 best ski holidays for beginners: Resorts and all-in packages to reach the pistes

Swerve demanding pistes on the wide nursery slopes of these beginner's hotspots   (Getty Images)
Swerve demanding pistes on the wide nursery slopes of these beginner's hotspots (Getty Images)

For those who weren’t born sliding down the slopes, come November when the ski season kicks off, rumours of legendary aprés-ski, panoramic mountain lunches and steamy spas might have you warming up to the idea of reaching new altitudes on a skiing holiday.

Whether skiing with children and booking them lessons at family favourite ski schools, fine-tuning your snowsports prowess as an adult or facing a fear of heights to take a bucket-list trip, beginners should look for resorts with plenty of entry-level terrain.

Leave the experts to it on demanding pistes and instead get comfortable and confident on gentle nursery slopes, village-level flats and networks of winding green and blue runs – typically lower gradient routes for beginners – through glades of green pines this winter.

From the foothills of the Dolomites to the valleys of the French Alps, here are the beginner-friendly European hotspots for a first-time ski holiday and the packages you’ll need to reach the pistes.

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Arinsal, Andorra

With a nursery area high up the mountain, Arinsal is top-notch for novice skiers (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
With a nursery area high up the mountain, Arinsal is top-notch for novice skiers (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

With a nursery area high up the mountain for great snowfall and views, Arinsal is one of three resorts in the Vallnord ski area which offers 63km of slopes in total, best-suited to beginners and intermediates. A buzzing apres-ski scene brings life to the authentic alpine village, there’s easy access to the slopes from the main village and well-regarded ski schools make Arinsal a quality place to ski for families and novices.

How to ski in Arinsal

Crystal Ski Holidays is offering seven nights at Hotel Montané from £845pp, half board, including return flights from London Gatwick, transfers, ski lessons, equipment hire and a lift pass, for 21 January 2024 departures. The week of skiing and socialising also includes a bowling night, après-ski and a spa session.

Meribel, France

Two designated beginner areas and eight green runs dot Meribel (Getty Images)
Two designated beginner areas and eight green runs dot Meribel (Getty Images)

Popular resort Meribel sits in the Tarentaise Valley of the French Alps, and is part of the impressively large Trois Vallees ski area, with an impressive 600km of pistes to accommodate all abilities. A wealth of gentle green and blue runs, wide nursery slopes to practise your turns on and two designated beginner areas with eight free lifts mean Meribel is a fantastic resorts for first-time skiers. There’s even a beginner's lift “mini-pass” for the easiest access to chairlifts and the slopes as you start learning.

How to ski in Meribel

Expedia has seven-night packages to Hôtel Le Savoy Méribel, which includes spa access just a one-minute walk from the ski slopes. From £1,276pp, B&B, based on two sharing a traditional room, including return flights from London Luton departing 8 December 2023.

Beginners equipment hire from €167pp (£145) and half-week lessons with The Snow School start from £405pp.

Alpbach, Austria

Nursery areas at village level make Alpbach a great resort for first-timers (Getty Images)
Nursery areas at village level make Alpbach a great resort for first-timers (Getty Images)

Austria’s Alpbach resort gives access to 109km of slopes in the heart of the Ski Juwel region. Plenty of flat beginners areas, blue slopes and practice lifts around the Gmahkopf mountain are ideal for snowsport newbies, while family-friendly and intermediate pistes are a great way to progress your new turning and speed skills as you learn.

How to ski in Alpbach

Ski Solutions is providing a seven-night stay at Hotel Alphof in Alpbach for £829pp, half board, with a free daily return minibus shuttle to the main gondola. Return international flights, transfers and access to a swimming pool, spa and traditional restaurant are included; departing 6 January 2024.

Equipment hire from €98.96pp (£86) and five days of adult group lessons with Schii Schule Alpbach start from €240pp (£208.70).

Saas-Fee, Switzerland

Secluded wide slopes sit away from the main runs so there's no disturbance from the experts (Switzerland Tourism)
Secluded wide slopes sit away from the main runs so there's no disturbance from the experts (Switzerland Tourism)

This Swiss resort is an appealing option for beginners with tons of snow, an attractive village and high-altitude slopes. Hone your skills on wide nursery areas away from the main mountain runs, enjoy long blue practice pistes and perhaps even progress to gentle, non-intimidating reds by the end of a week spent fine-tuning your skiing against the backdrop of 4,000m snow-topped peaks.

How to ski in Saas-Fee

Heidi has seven nights at the Amber Ski-in/out Hotel & Spa just a three-minute walk from the resort centre of Saas-Fee from £1,244pp, B&B, including return flights from Bournemouth and airport transfers; departing 9 January 2024.

Equipment hire from €15.00 (£13) per day for adults and from €8.50 (£7.39) per day for children; Ski Zenit full-day private ski lessons are priced from £404pp.

Are, Sweden

The Björnen area is dedicated to families and beginners with child-friendly lifts (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The Björnen area is dedicated to families and beginners with child-friendly lifts (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Almost 100km of pistes cater to a range of ability levels in the resort of Are, Sweden. For beginners in the Björnen area, flat, wide runs weave between the pines, easy tow lifts and moving carpets ferry you back and forth to the slopes and there is even a ski school widely reputed as one of the world’s best for adaptive skiing for skiers taking to the slopes with disabilities.

How to ski in Are

Ski Safari is offering a seven-night holiday to ski-in/ski-out Hotel Fjällgården from £1,385pp, B&B, including international flights and private transfers departing 7 January 2024.

Equipment hire from €83.50 (£72.59) and private skiing lessons with Ski Star from €83pp (£72.16).

Corvara, Italy

A range of wide nursery slopes progress into gentle blues in Corvara (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A range of wide nursery slopes progress into gentle blues in Corvara (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Corvara is a ski resort in the foothills of the Dolomites offering a playground of 130km of piste that caters for the needs of beginners, intermediates and expert skiers. A range of wide sweeping nursery slopes progress onto gentle blue runs past Colfosco and the easy terrain is a dream for casually cruising down the mountains.

How to ski in Corvara

Inghams has a seven-night trip to Sporthotel Panorama for £1,489pp, half-board, including return flights from London Gatwick and a free guided ski day every Thursday departing 23 March 2024.

Equipment hire for adults from £170pp and five days of ski tuition from £222pp via Inghams.

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