Time to take the training wheels off and let kids learn to ski for real? Here are five of the best resorts for beginners in Europe this winter.
1/5 La Tania, Trois Vallées, France
Trois Vallées might be most famous for exclusive resorts like Courchevel, but it’s also the world’s largest ski area and has some great value resorts too.
La Tania is a particular favourite with families, liked for an easy going atmosphere, good choice of places to stay, and masses of non-ski activities for kids.
The children’s ski-instruction programme here is operated by leading English-speaking ski school, Oxygène, and offers a range of fun and friendly, small group classes for beginners, starting as young as three.
- Snowbears in La Tania – morning classes for three to four year olds
- Little Mice – morning classes for four to five year olds
- Kids Fun Factory – half and full day classes for six to 17 year olds
- Kids’ sledging and tobogganing zone
- Kindergarten for kids aged from five months to five years
- Free lift passes for under fives
Ski area: Trois Vallées
Runs: 600km from 1260m to 3225m
Airport: Geneva – two hours drive from La Tania. Direct flights from UK to Geneva- one hour and 35 minutes.
Find out more about La Tania ski lessons for kids and beginners
2/5 Alpbach, Tyrol Region, Austria
Alpbach village is about as perfectly cute and Tyrolean as you could ever want, and it’s also one of the most popular family resorts in Austria, with a dedicated children’s ski area, as well as nursery slopes in the village centre.
Bobo’s Kinder Club offers multi-lingual, small group lessons for beginners from age four. The training system’s fun, but it was developed by leading Austrian ski instructors, and has an excellent reputation for getting kids skiing confidently at their own pace.
For non-beginners; Alpbach is part of the Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau, one of the top 10 ski areas in Tyrol.
- Bobo’s Kinder Club offers multi-lingual, small-group, instruction from age four
- Discounts for two or more kids learning to ski at Bobo’s
- Dedicated children’s ski area, and beginners’ ski lift
- Alpbach Aktiv kindergarten and childcare
- Free lift passes for under fives
Ski area: Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau
Runs: 128km from 670m to 2025m
Airport: Innsbruck – 50 minutes drive from Alpbach. Direct flights from UK to Innsbruck – two hours
Find out more about Alpbach ski lessons for kids and beginners
3/5 Avoriaz, Haute-Savoie, France
Avoriaz has the highest, snow-sure slopes in the entire, enormous Portes du Soleil ski area, so it’s a natural choice for serious skiers. But it’s also ski-in-ski-out, and the only resort in the French Alps to have a Village des Enfants right at its heart, which makes it perfect for families too.
Approved by the ministry for ‘Jeunesse et Sport’, the Village ski-school has over 100 multi-lingual instructors and offers lessons from age three onwards. The atmosphere is light and fun, there’s a kindergarten for young non-skiers, a children’s restaurant, and parents can take lessons alongside their kids if they want.
- Purpose built Village des Enfants incorporating children’s ski and snowboard school, snow parks, and kid’s restaurant
- Over 100 multi-lingual children’s ski instructors
- Fully supervised kindergarten and après-ski activities for kids
- Ski-in-ski-out resort
- Avoriaz kids’ lift passes extended to age 15 (age 12 in other French resorts)
Ski area: Portes du Soleil
Runs: 650km from 950m to 2275m
Airport: Geneva – One hour 35 minutes drive from Avoriaz. Direct flights from UK to Geneva– one hour 35 minutes
Find out more about Avoriaz ski lessons for kids and beginners
4/5 Obergurgl, Tyrol Region, Austria
For teens and tiny skiers in training, Obergurgl is one of the best family ski resorts in Europe this winter. Incredible fun slopes, wild natural toboggan runs, fantastic freeriding, and snow-sure slopes for longer than almost anywhere else – even in snowy Austrian Tyrol – justify the resort’s nickname, ‘Diamond of the Alps’.
This is another Austrian resort where Bobo Kinder Club takes care of ski lessons for beginners from age three. Groups are kept to a maximum of eight kids, lessons last no more than two hours, and the approach is fun in the snow, but with fast results.
If teens are looking to brush up their ski or snowboard skills, Ski-School Obergurgl has been around since 1922, and is now one of the best in Austria.
- Bobo Kinderclub has multi-lingual, small group classes from age three
- Bobo Kindergarten offers childcare from six months
- Esprit Ski at Obergurgl include kids’ instruction in all-inclusive family holidays
- One of the highest resorts in Austria and snow-sure through to late March
- Reduced lift passes for kids up to age 18
Ski Area: Obergurgl-Hochgurg
Runs: 110km from 1795m to 3080m
Airport: Innsbruck – one hour 35 minutes drive from Obergurgl. Direct flights from UK to Innsbruck – two hours
Find out more about Obergurgl ski lessons for kids and beginners
5/5 Wengen, Jungfrau, Switzerland
Wengen is a favourite with mixed-ability families who want good skiing on famously immaculate Swiss slopes, but without the high-gloss and cost of the country’s more glamorous resorts.
The traffic-free village has an easy going atmosphere, and the mountain views are spectacular. Ski lessons start at age three here, the dedicated kids’ Snowgarden is just short walk from the village centre, and instructors are English-speaking.
- Small group lessons from age three
- Dedicated kids’ Snowgarden minutes from village centre
- Mountain training for intermediate kids
- Kids completing four or more lessons are awarded a Swiss Snow League badge
- Free lift passes for under sixes
Ski Area: Jungfrau
Runs: 213km from 945m to 2970m
Airport: Bern – one hour drive from Wengen. Direct flights from UK to Bern – one hour 45 minutes