Where to start skiing

I’m sure there are quite a few people out there who love the idea of a ski holiday but think that they are too old to start, not sporty enough, prone to breaking bones etc…

Well, enough of the excuses! It’s time to go for it and get hooked on skiing. I didn’t start skiing until my mid 20s but I have not looked back since. Yes, the first few days were not easy and I thought I would never ‘get it’. People kept telling me that it will just suddenly click, which seemed very unlikely as I sat frustrated on the edge of a green run, unable to master the art of turning. However, after a few deep breaths, I dusted myself off, got the snow out of some hard to reach places, and tried again. I was surrounded by the most spectacular views of mountains and trees laden heavy with snow. Not a bad place for humiliating myself with a group of French girls who ‘got it’ after half an hour.

After that low point, I am so happy that I didn’t give up, and around the 3rd day I actually started enjoying it.

In my opinion, it’s a great idea to have a couple of lessons in a ski dome or on a dry slope before you go on your first holiday. Somewhere like the Chill Factor in Manchester is an ideal place to get to know the basics. You’ll be shown how to use a poma lift (a type of drag lift to get you up the slope, also known as a button lift) and learn how to do some of the basic things. This way when you arrive in the mountains you can enjoy the experience from the start, and will not waste precious time being shown how to clip your boots in to your skis. Make sure you book some more lessons in resort as well. I enjoyed doing adult group lessons as there is a certain amount of bonding over falling over and seemingly endless attempts to put your skis back on. However some people develop a lot quicker during one on one private sessions with an instructor. In this case you might benefit more from 2-3 private lessons than you would from a week’s group sessions.

If you are not sure which type of lessons would best suit you, then check with your ski school. They may let you trade some group lessons for a private lesson or vice versa.

Make sure you choose your ski school carefully, and ask around for recommendations. It’s true what they say – “You never forget your first ski instructor”. A positive, cheerful instructor will make the experience a lot more enjoyable! If you feel like your group is holding you back, or that they are a bit too advanced for you, then don’t be scared to join a different level.

No matter where you start your lessons, the key is patience, perseverance and a good attitude. I can guarantee that you will have an amazing time! Yes, it can get frustrating at times but you have to laugh it off and carry on. You don’t have to be sporty or particularly fit to learn to ski, it’s all about confidence! 😉

Another thing to remember when booking your first ski holiday is that some resorts are better suited to beginners than others. Some resorts have special ‘Learn-to-ski’ packages for complete beginners, with lessons and a limited lift pass included. If you have done some lessons before your holiday then you will probably want a local area lift pass for a bit more variety.

Here are some of the best ski resorts for beginners

Bansko, Bulgaria

Bansko is a relatively small resort, but 35% of it is given over to slopes suitable for beginners. In addition to this, Bansko is much cheaper than other European ski resorts so it is a good place to give skiing a go if you are not sure you are going to love it.

The closest airport to Bansko is Sofia – click here to get the best prices on transfers from Sofia Airport to Bansko.

Flaine, France

Flaine is a great resort for beginners for a few reasons. It is easy to get to, being just over an hour from Geneva airport. It is mainly a ski in, ski out resort meaning that you can avoid walking around carrying your ski gear. Finally, it has a great snow record and many of the beginner areas are close to the centre of the resort.

The closest airport to Flaine is Geneva – click here to get the best prices on transfers from Geneva airport to Flaine.

Soldeu, Andorra

Soldeu is a great place to learn to ski. There are a number of English ski schools and the great nursery areas are close to the resort centre.

If you are going to Soldeu, you can fly to Barcelona, Girona, Carcassonne or Toulouse.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Barcelona airport to Soldeu.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Girona airport to Soldeu.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Carcassonne airport to Soldeu.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Toulouse airport to Soldeu.

Courchevel, France

Courchevel has a reputation for being one of the most expensive places on earth, but this is down to the highest village of Courchevel 1850. However, Courchevel 1650 (Montriond) is a great option as there is a beginners area near the resort centre, and there are some very long blue runs to progress on to. You can also stay in Courchevel 1550 and take the fast gondola up to Courchevel 1850 where there is one of the best beginners areas in the world.

To get to Courchevel, you can fly to Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble or Lyon.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Geneva airport to Courchevel.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Chambéry airport to Courchevel.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Grenoble airport to Courchevel.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Lyon airport to Courchevel.

Obergurgl, Austria

Obergurgl has vast areas for beginners to practice, and also has a good number or wide, long blue runs to progress on to.The ski schools in Obergurgl are also very good.

The best airport to fly to for Obergurgl is Innsbruck.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Innsbruck airport to Obergurgl.

Where to find early snow?

Many of us just cannot wait for the winter season to start and why should we? There are plenty of options in Europe where you can get your early snow fix and have a great holiday. Thanks to the time of the year and the reduced number of open runs you can get a great deal on lift pass prices and many chalet and tour operators offer excellent deals for early dates.

Tignes, France

Tignes is a great option in France for some early skiing. Thanks to its glacier it is open during most of the autumn. There has been some early snow already this autumn so people have already had the pleasure of putting some fresh tracks down! You get an impressive 20km terrain to ski on and an altitude difference of 750 metres. There is plenty of fun to be had there! Your best option for getting to Tignes is to fly to Geneva and arrange your airport transfer from there. Have a look at transfer options from Geneva airport to Tignes here.

Val Thorens, France

Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe which makes it the perfect choice for anyone looking for early snow. Most skiing takes place at over 2000 metres so the snow is pretty much guaranteed. Lifts this year will open on the 23rd of November – depending on snow conditions of course this could even be earlier. For early dates your best option is to fly to Geneva or Lyon and get a transfer from there. For private or shared transfers please have a look here.

Cervinia, Italy

If you prefer looking at the Matterhorn from the Italian side then you can stay in Cervinia. Skiing here is usually possible from late October thanks to the high altitude and the glacier. What can be better than a great day on the slopes followed by a satisfying slice of pizza?

You can fly to Turin or Milan and look for transfers here.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt is not just the home to the Swiss half of the famous Matterhorn but it is also an excellent place for some early glacier skiing. The views are fabulous, the food is great and in general the standard of accommodation is very high in Zermatt. We can highly recommend it!

Consider flying to Zurich or Geneva. The best transfer option is usually to go by train but if there is a group of you then private transfers can work out better. Have a look on our homepage. There are other good resorts in Switzerland for early snow, check out Saas Fee, Gstaad, Laax or St Moritz.

Livigno, Italy

For another option in Italy you can try Livigno, one of the highest resorts in Europe with runs going up to 3000m. If we get some early snow then skiing starts as early as the end of November. Livigno has a special duty-free status, which makes staying here even cheaper and more attractive! The resort itself is charming and traffic-free. There is also a new Spa centre in Livigno so you can relax there after a good day of skiing. You can fly to Zurich or any of the Milan airports and look for airport transfers on our main page.

Åre, Sweden

Fancy trying something a bit different? Well then, why not head to Åre in Sweden this November? It will be a different experience from skiing in the Alps and you can get to know this fantastic country with its lovely people a bit better. Åre offers excellent quality pistes and accommodation options, but the downside is that food and alcohol is in general a bit more expensive than in Alpine resorts.

Your best option is to fly to Stockholm.

Sölden, Austria

Sölden offers year-round skiing thanks to its 2 glaciers. This makes this lovely Austrian resort the perfect early ski destination. It usually re-opens at the end of October on the glaciers and additional areas might be opened depending on the snow conditions. Sölden is also a great choice if you like aprÚs-ski .

Fly to Innsbruck and fill out our quick form to receive no obligation quotes from local transfer companies for airport transfers.

Obergurgl, Austria

Obergurgl doesn’t have a glacier to boost its early season chances but it is one of the most snow-sure resorts in the Alps. It is the perfect choice for an early season trip. Obergurgl doesn’t only offer snow-sure peaks but also top quality accommodation where you can relax after a great day of skiing.

To get to Obergurgl fly to Innsbruck and have a look for airport transfers from Innsbruck airport to Obergurgl here.