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Best ski resorts in Europe for beginners

Unsure where to book for your first family ski trip in Europe? We’ve got top tips from Mumsnetters who have been there, done that and snow-ploughed their way down the slopes. Here are the best resorts for beginners, as recommended by parents.

By Kim Gregory | Last updated Aug 10, 2023

Children learning how to ski on a ski slope

For active, outdoorsy families, ski holidays are hard to beat. Taking to the mountains is a brilliant way to learn new skills, enjoy fresh air, spend quality time together and take in stunning scenery. But learning the ropes can be a daunting prospect (for adults as well as kids) so you’ll want to make sure you pick the right resort for your first time on the slopes. One that’s geared up to welcome newbies with plenty of ski schools, nursery slopes and green runs (the easiest route down a mountain). Oh, and a range of family-friendly apres-ski venues to toast a fun day on the slopes.

Luckily, we’ve got a mountain of top tips on our ski forum so we’ve put together a handy guide to run through Mumsnet-recommended resorts that are perfect for first-timers.

Before you go, we recommend embarking on a few practice runs at your local artificial snow centre (it’ll also get the kids excited for the trip). And research ski passes, equipment hire and activities away from the slopes. It’s well worth checking out our guides to the best kids’ ski jackets, kids’ snow boots, kids’ winter hats, kids’ gloves and kids’ thermal underwear to make sure you pack a suitcase full of gear that’ll keep the family warm and happy.

What are the best ski resorts for beginners?

Editor's picks: Ski holidays for beginners

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1. La Plagne, France

La Plagne ski resort, France at night.

Best overall resort | Search hotels in La Plagne

“I have a soft spot for La Plagne, there are lots of very long wide blue runs” - recommended by Mumsnet user, skgnome

“We've been on chalet holidays to France at Christmas a few times with a mix of beginners and intermediates. We loved La Plagne and it had great snow” - recommended by Mumsnet user, Holidayqueen1

La Plagne, in the snowy Alps’ Haute Tarentaise, has lots to offer beginners and families including classes for children with organised, themed races and a snowboarding school. ‘CoolSki’ areas are for beginners only and you can hire a beginner’s bib, so you won’t have to worry about pros whizzing past.

La Plagne is a big, popular resort so there’s plenty to enjoy away from the slopes, like the Kids Zone (for children 6+) with mini-karting, spas, family-friendly concerts and dog sled rides. And there are loads of restaurants offering stunning views. Consider staying in one of the villages with entertainment, kids’ clubs and all-inclusive options so you totally can relax after activities.

Nearest airport: Chamberey (58 miles)

2. Tignes, France

Tignes ski resort, France

Best for activities | Search hotels in Tignes

“Tignes/Val d’Isere are snow sure then [at Christmas] and have lots of other lovely activities. The kids will probably be tired after morning ski school and want to warm up with some swimming/bowling/trampolining. Tignes is more beginner friendly than Val d’Isere” - recommended by Mumsnet user, Tiptopmountain

“We went to Tignes last year for the first time (for the same reason) and loved it - the skiing was brilliant and we'll definitely go back. We spent most of the time on the slopes but had an afternoon in a lovely swimming pool and there was a nice centre” - recommended by Mumsnet user, BlueRabbitWasNaughty

Connected to Val d’Isere in the French Alps, Tignes offers children’s ski schools, family ski passes, nursery ski areas and plenty of green runs (and blue runs, if you want to step up a gear!). Childcare services and baby equipment hire are available too.

There are also lots of family-friendly things to do off-piste, for when you need a break. Snow tubing, horse riding in the snow, helicopter tours, ice floating and evenings in a yurt are just a few fun suggestions. Consider staying in Tignes 1800, a village-style resort with ski-in-ski-out accommodation (read: you won’t have to cart loads of kids’ stuff for miles before reaching the ski lifts!). It’s connected by cable car to the rest of Tignes.

Nearest airport: Chambery (83 miles)

3. Avoriaz, France

Avoriaz ski resort in France at dusk.

Best snow-sure resort | Search hotels in Avoriaz

“I’d recommend Avoriaz if you want to do other things besides skiing. It was voted the best resort for children. They’ve got okay areas, tropical swimming pool parks etc. I recommend New Generation ski school if you are going there. We’ve used Snowfocus too for skiing - that was perfect for skiing with young children” - recommended by Mumsnet user, BetterBee

“Avoriaz is great for families as it tends to be ski-in-ski-out, it's quite high so snow-sure, set up for families and is linked to a huge ski area which is less busy than places like the Three Valleys. There is a really big water park/pool place there that the kids will like too, it’s called Aquariaz” - recommended by Mumsnet user, SkiYetiMagic

This snowy, ski-to-door resort in the Portes du Soleil has a pretty, family-friendly village centre that’s car-free: the only traffic you’ll see is horse-drawn sleighs and kids’ sledging, making for a lovely atmosphere.

There are beginners’ zones, nursery slopes within the villages and there are 37 green slopes and 123 blues across the resort. You’ll appreciate the Children’s Village: a dedicated children’s ski and snowboard school conveniently located in the centre of the resort, where they’ll learn through fun and games. Save time to experience the igloo village together, where you can grab a drink and marvel at the illuminated ice sculptures.

Nearest airport: Geneva (57 miles)

4. Arinsal, Andorra, Pyrenees

Arinsal ski resort, Andorra.

Best for cheap flights | Search hotels in Arinsal

“Andorra. Short flight, cheap (as cheap as skiing can be) plenty of nice easy blue runs for practice outside of ski school” - recommended by Mumsnet user, Sailor2009

“I went with my daughter to Andorra and was very pleasantly surprised and hope to return. We stayed in the Pal / Arinsal area which is quieter than the larger resort area. A really nice hotel with good food. Instruction in Andorra is good for English speakers and the ski area, while not huge, had a good range of green/blue runs with reasonable variety. It’s also fairly close to Andorra le Ville with more facilities” - recommended by Mumsnet user, Timperleybell

Looking for a cheap family ski holiday? Andorra’s Arinsal, in the Pyrenees mountains, is reportedly good value for money compared to many Alpine resorts (including the apres-ski!) but it’s still naturally stunning and is known for being beginner-friendly.

Arinsal has great ski schools, nursery slopes, magic carpets (easy alternatives to ski lifts) and spacious, quiet areas for practising. Kids can join group ski lessons, organised by age, or the kids’ club where young ones can have fun in the snow with a range of activities like building snowmen. There are also babysitting clubs, while the village promises unpretentious friendliness.

Nearest airport: Barcelona (136 miles)

Note: there are other airport options but the availability of transfers, the frequency of flights, and weather conditions make Barcelona a popular choice

5. Les Gets, France

Les Gets ski lift

Best for a short transfer | Search hotels in Les Gets

“Definitely Les Gets/Morzine. Short transfer from Geneva , good English speaking lessons (makes a difference), forgiving slopes” - recommended by Mumsnet user, gardenhelpneeded

"My family started skiing in Les Gets in France and continued to do so for about 10 years. It's a perfect family ski resort, so much to do at night with ice rinks and family-friendly restaurants and bars. The slopes are perfect and there are numerous ski schools for kids and adults" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Collins99

The small French resort of Les Gets in Portes du Soleil has lots of slopes for beginners (like the Espace des Mappys), a wide range of ski-in-ski-out accommodation and excellent ski schools with English-speaking instructors, making it one of the best ski resorts for beginners. There are 370+ miles of slopes across the Portes du Soleil ski area, to enjoy once you’ve cracked it.

There’s lots for younger skiers too, from fun zones to snow parks, as well as off-piste activities like snowmobiling and this exciting interactive forest trail for families to explore. Take advantage of day care centres for some adult-only time. Apres-ski bars can get loud in Les Gets so it may be best to stick to the family-friendly restaurants.

Nearest airport: Geneva (44 miles)

6. Rauris Valley, Austria

Rauris Valley Austria

Best for ski schools | Search Rauris Valley holidays

“We went to Rauris in Austria as it was recommended to us as somewhere that was perfect for families and beginners. And it was! My children were 8 and 6. We opted to put them in all day ski school (930-12, meet for lunch wherever the instructor told us to at 12, lunch 12-1, then lesson 1-3). They loved it. My children have never wanted to go to kids’ clubs or be away from us on holiday either, but skiing was so different. The group all started as beginners on Sunday and by Friday, they went down two short red runs. I can wholeheartedly recommend Rauris. The ski school and the resort was so friendly. I cried when our taxi drove us away. You won't regret it, it's the best holiday ever” - recommended by Mumsnet user, TeetotalKoala

“We also were in Rauris as beginners 6 years ago and found it great. Very friendly, decent food, we had a pool in the hotel. It was also nice to have ski school morning and afternoon to really build skills. Did the class races on nursery slope, went up on the lift to enjoy lunch on the mountain and then came back down to very quiet nursery slope (late midweek) to practise myself and that was great” - recommended by Mumsnet user, BiddyPop

Get back to nature in Rauris Valley. You’re encouraged to enjoy the majestic Alps to their fullest here, as the resort offers a snow-load of guided outdoor activities like winter hiking, ice climbing, sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Family ski areas offer something for all abilities across 20 miles of pistes and runs. There are also fun ski-based activities like ski touring. And for the kids, Thursdays see mascot Tilly join a toboggan race! Rauris Valley is said to be good value when it comes to eating, as restaurants on the mountains are relatively affordable. Finish runs with a perfect mountain-view family feast.

Nearest airport: Salzburg (55 miles)

7. Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Kranjska Gora ski resort

Best for a cheap ski holiday | Search Kranjska Gora hotels

“Slovenia is lovely, really really friendly and nice food. Their winter sports are varied, not just all dh skiing, they all do xcountry too and snow shoeing and sledding and skating. Not really a venue for the committed dh skier wanting miles of piste but a great multi-sport destination. I'd go with a young family” - recommended by Mumsnet user, museumum

“The first two years we brought our five kids we went to Slovenia! Was really great for beginners. Amazing value too. They still speak fondly of their days in Slovenia. Kranskga Gora was the resort. I would highly recommend” - recommended by Mumsnet user, FoodieToo

Kranjska Gora in Slovenia is a relatively small resort but there’s enough to satisfy beginners - and a trip here will be much kinder on your wallet than in more popular resorts. There are ski schools and slopes for beginners and kit hire doesn’t cost too much.

Peaceful Kranjska Gorga resort is located in Solvenia’s Julian Alps with gorgeous views that you can all enjoy together. Off the slopes, try fun activities like ski tours, ice climbing, sledding and snowshoeing. Jasna is a good alternative resort in Slovenia with green runs, lessons and atmosphere.

Nearest airport: Ljubljana (43 miles)

8. Obergurgl, Austria

Obergurgl ski lift.

Best quiet resort | Search Obergurgl hotels

“Obergurgl in Austria was recommended to us when the kids were little - all the hotels are really close or on the slopes, lovely ski school, very good skiing (but not big if you're an expert) and loads of snow. The other big pluses are that the hotels are a great standard and there's little queuing. For instance, now the kids are older they're ok with lift queues and buses etc. Those things can make a holiday with small kids really miserable. On the negative side, there's not a lot else (cafes, shops etc). The mountain restaurants are good though” - recommended by Mumsnet user, TheExtraGuineaPig

One of the highest ski villages in Europe (hello, views!) Oztal Valley’s Obergurgl is known for having lots of snow and a long ski season. The Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski area is family-friendly with some easy runs to try; while the freestyle Family Park is a great place to practise together.

Activities here are pretty cool: think ice hockey, ice curling and night tobogganing (available weekly). For something more relaxed, try the thermal spa and indoor golf centre. But if you can’t get a minute to yourself, you’ll be happy chilling out together in the mountain restaurants. There’s family-friendly accommodation in the traditional, picturesque village.

Nearest airport: Innsbruck (60 miles)

9. La Rosiere, France

La Rosiere ski resort

Best for cross-border skiing | Search La Rosiere hotels

“I would recommend La Rosiere with children that age. Very family friendly and an excellent ski school” - recommended by Mumsnet user, grenadines

The family-friendly resort of La Rosiere offers beginner-friendly highlights like a snow park with green runs and the kid-friendly Petit Saint-Bernard adventure course that’s decorated with pics of the resort’s doggy mascot. If you progress enough, there’s a chance to try ski kiting and to ski across the Espace San Bernardo ski area from France into Italy!

The family will love tucking into fondue in the giant igloo after a long day on the slopes. Consider a stay at Club Med La Rosiere where your holiday will be stress-free thanks to all-inclusive offerings and ski-in-ski-out accommodation.

Nearest airport: Chamberey (209 miles)

10. Cervinia, Italy

Skiers in Cervinia ski resort, Italy

Best for all-round value | Search Cervinia hotels

“Cervinia - 100%. Snow sure because it’s high. Lots of really wide cruisey blues (but very do-able reds - my 6yr old on her first ski trip was doing reds by day 3). Possibility of going across to Zermatt (igloo village etc.) Accommodation all close to the slopes, pizza and gelato for the children, restaurants where you can be collected/dropped off via skidoo (still my children's all time fave ski holiday memory), reasonably priced” - recommended by Mumsnet user, Africa2go 

Expect a range of nursery slopes, some easy blue runs and English-speaking ski instructors at Cervinia. Some beginner slopes are near the main hotels, making life easy.

Families will also appreciate amenities like the outdoor play parks, the highest museum in Europe and all of the usual snowy activities. Meanwhile, you’ll be left smiling thanks to the spas and the Italian food and drink offerings. Bonus: you’re not far from Switzerland (you can actually ski over there, if you’re experienced enough to navigate the slopes) including the scenic village of Zermatt that sits below the famous Matterhorn mountain - definitely worth visiting if you can.

Nearest airport: Turin (75 miles)

What makes a ski resort good for beginners?

Plenty of nursery slopes and green runs, separate beginners’ areas and great ski schools with family-friendly instructors - perhaps with separate adults and kids’ classes. It’s also good to have other things to do in or near the resort, for when you need a break from skiing. We hope our list covers these features. Do your research on the resorts to see which suits your family’s needs and abilities. Check out our guide to the best family ski holidays for more skiers of all abilities.

Can you go skiing without lessons?

It isn’t recommended. It will take much longer to learn and progress, which is far less fun, and you could increase the risk of injuring yourself and others. It’s worth the extra money for lessons to make the most of your ski holiday.

Which ski resort is best for beginners?

From our list, we chose La Plagne as the best overall ski resort for beginners as it’s family-friendly, offers good amenities for beginners and has a great range of activities to enjoy off the slopes. Figure out your priorities, though. We think Tignes is best for activities while Kranjska Gora is great value for money.

How we chose our recommendations

First we headed to the Mumsnet forums to see which European ski resorts were being recommended for beginners by Mumsnetters - real people who’d been there, done that and bought the ski gloves. Then, we researched each one on the resort’s official websites and across trusted online travel publications. We considered the beginner- and family-friendly amenities before finalising our list of the best ski destinations for beginners and families in Europe. We hope our list has something for everyone to inspire your holiday research and planning.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.