Now the recession is officially over, ski holidays are well and truly back in vogue! For those of you who haven’t tried it yet – trust me, you should! Here are my top ten ski resorts for beginners to help you on your way 🙂
Choosing the right ski resorts for beginners is SO important. You need to ensure that there are plenty of nursery slopes for your first few days and some blue runs once you start to gain some confidence. Where possible, try to choose a resort that has slopes close to centre with easy to use lifts. If travelling with kids, quiet resorts with plenty of open slopes and no queues are ideal. If you feel one of you may not want to ski every day, choose a resort with plenty of amenities, such as snowmobiling, ice skating or simply a swimming pool. I spoke to Crystalski, who have been ski holiday specialists for over 34 years. I think it’s fair to say they know everything there is to know about skiing holidays!
Meribel is visually stunning. Its situation in the Three Valleys ski area offers 600km of piste and beautiful scenery. There are plenty of wide nursery slopes and easy runs down to the resort centre. It’s pretty village offers a wide choice of restaurants, bars and a fantastic apres ski scene. Live bands play in the local bars and there is also a night club if that’s your thing! Take a dip in the swimming pool, try ice skating or even snowmobiling, Mirabel has it all!
Transfer time: 2 hours 30 minutes from Chambery
Andorra has been a firm favourite with Irish holiday makers for many years. Despite the long airport transfer, it’s all round good value for money make it a great choice for first time skiers. It boasts one of Europe’s best ski schools and offers free lift passes for children under 11. There are plenty of wide open slopes and the resort links to Pal and Arcalis for a wider choice of runs. Aprés ski is huge in Arinsal so if you are looking for a lively resort then look no further! Arinsal offers a great choice of accommodation, from basic chalets to 5* hotels.
Transfer time: 3 hours 45 minutes from Toulouse
Niederau is another picture postcard ski resort. Complete with plenty of nursery slopes, its the perfect resort for beginners. It’s ski school is renowned as one of Austria’s best and Crystal’s Pepi Penguin Childcare is ideal if you are travelling with kids. Niederau has plenty of aprés ski bars without being particularly lively and there are plenty of activities like tabogganing and sleigh rides for all the family to enjoy.
Transfer time 1 hour 30 minutes from Innsbruck.
Alpe d’Huez, France
Alpe d’Huez offers access to one of Europe’s largest ski areas and has slopes to suit all levels. There are lots of nursery slopes for beginners and easy blue and green runs close to the resort centre. There are plenty of choices for those who want a break from skiing, with a large aprés ski scene, an outdoor swimming pool and an ice skating rink.
Transfer time: 2 hours 15 minutes from Chambery
Passo Tonale, Italy
This purpose built resort offers a great lift system, close to most of the hotels, with virtually no queues. It is one of Italy’s highest resorts so gets plenty of sunshine and has a great snow record. The short runs are perfect for beginners but there is also a natural ice rink and skidoo runs if you fancy trying something a little different. There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to choose from and very reasonably priced too.
Transfer time: 2 hours 45 minutes from Verona
La Plagne, France
Another excellent choice for first time skiers. The mix of nursery slopes, excellent ski school and a 425km ski area has made it one of France’s most popular ski resorts. Made up of various villages, La Plagne offers something for everyone. Plagne Centre has plenty of shops bars and restaurants, although accommodation is limited here, so early booking is advisable!
Transfer time: 2 hours from Chambery
Scheffau is perfect for beginners looking for a traditional Tirolean resort. It offers wide runs and a dedicated ski area for children. It is home to an excellent ski school and has one of the best snow records in Austria. It is less expensive than other Austrian resorts and although aprés ski is limited at night time, it does offer a bowling alley, tabogganing and it is close to Ellmau if you seek a livelier scene. Advanced skiers can choose the Alpen AllStar lift pass which covers Kitzbuhel and Westendorf.
Transfer time: 1 hour 45 minutes from Salzburg
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Kranjska Gora is situated only a few miles from the Austrian and Italian border and is a picture postcard village. This small family friendly resort has an excellent ski school and plenty of nursery slopes which perfect for beginners. Although a small village it offers a good aprés ski scene and plenty of accommodation choices from traditional Slovenian pensions to top class hotels with spa facilities. If travelling with kids, Crystal ski offer the Pepi Penguin and Whizz kids clubs for kids from 6 months to 12 years. They are situated at the Hotel Alpina but are accessible if staying in any of Crystal Hotels.
Transfer time: 3 hours 15 minutes from Salzburg.
One of Italy’s trendiest resorts, Cervinia offers lots of sunshine, wide open slopes and a lift pass that lets you access Zermatt in Switzerland. There is a great après ski scene with a mix of chill out bars and lively clubs to suit all tastes. It tends to attract lots of locals from Milan and Turin at weekends but during the week the slopes are traditionally quiet with no lift queues.
Transfer time: 2 hours from Turin
Seefeld known for hosting the Winter Olympics, offers top class skiing for all levels. There is a separate ski area for beginners and intermediates and floodlit night skiing for the romantics! There is an ice rink, casino and a wide selection of bars and restaurants. It is also very close to Innsbruck, great for a day out if you want a rest from skiing.
Transfer time: 45 minutes from Innsbruck.
So have you picked a favourite yet or have you visited any of them already? I’d love to know your opinion, so please feel free to comment below.
Visit crystalski.ie for more details.