Friday, 18 November 2011 11:29 AM
Sliding down a mountain on skis or snowboards can be daunting for first-timers, but fear not, all it takes is practice and a beginner-friendly resort to do it in.
Here’s our pick of the best ski resorts for beginners:
La Clusaz, France:
La Clusaz is a pretty French village just an hour’s drive from Geneva. It is ideal for families with its short transfer time, ‘Famille Plus’ status and links to three other traditional resorts (Le Grand Bornand, Manigod and Sixt) in the Lake Annecy Ski Resorts region.
Vaujany has lots of easy slopes but is also connected into the bigger area of Alpe D'Huez if you are looking for more challenging skiing. There is also a fantastic swimming pool and leisure centre and a new ice rink complex under construction.
Sitting in the Jungfrau region below the stunning Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch mountains, Wengen is a beginner’s paradise. There are nursery slopes in the middle of the town, and trains that link all the villages make access to all areas easier for starters of the sport. There are plenty of cruising blue runs once you’ve mastered the first few turns.
Saas Fee, Switzerland:
Chocolate box Saas Fee is ideal for beginners. They have excellent nursery slopes close to the village and plenty of wide open pistes to practice on. Make sure you stay close to the slopes as the accommodation spreads over a large area. Saas fee also has an excellent lift system and gorgeous village centre.
Söll has an abundance of pistes that are perfectly suited to beginners and are great for building confidence. The nursery slopes are situated conveniently at the bottom of the mountain. The resort is a large traditional Austrian village and rarely gets overcrowded. It is also well known for lively après-ski.
Great value Pila, sits above the town of Aosta which is perfect for shopping on an afternoon off. Pila has a good lift system, wide pistes for practicing ski turns and offers excellent value for money for a first visit to the snow. There is some on-slope accommodation for ski in/out or stay down in Aosta for a more ‘Italian’ experience with coffee shops and restaurants galore.
Geilo is a beginner’s heaven with lots of easy slopes and un-crowded pistes. It is a small resort but will keep beginners amused for a week. There is a choice of two beginner areas with Vestlia being the best. The ski schools are also highly rated.
The Grandvalira area, which Pas de la Casa and Soldeu are part of, has a mass of facilities for children. There are four nurseries, five snow gardens and a ‘Mickey’ Snow Club. There are also lots of other activities apart from skiing which all the family can join in including igloo building workshops and husky dog rides.
Les Gets, France:
The pretty resort of Les Gets is part of the large Porte de Soleil area but is ideal for families. The ice rink forms the central part of the resort and there’s a bowling alley for après-ski. The beginners’ slopes and magic carpet are right next to restaurants at the base of the main slopes.
Big White, Canada:
If you can make the journey across the pond, Big White in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia offers ski in/ ski out convenience. The resort is laid back and unpretentious and is perfect for families with an excellent crèche and ski school.
The www.skiclub.co.uk website has comprehensive information on over 400 resorts worldwide. For more information visit skiclub.co.uk or call 020 8410 2000.
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