Learn to Ski at These 6 Best Ski Resorts for Beginners

It’s never too late to learn to ski. But, for beginner skiers, the thought of hitting the slopes can be a daunting prospect. Fortunately, some of America’s most renowned ski resorts also offer exceptional opportunities for beginners, from groomed runs and multi-level learning areas to private lessons and guided mountain tours.

But before you set off, also make sure you have the right gear, like the best ski gloves and the best skis. Of course, once you’ve mastered the basics, you can also start looking for more challenging terrain in these hidden gems to ski across North America.

But for starters, here are some of the best places in the country for skiers still mastering their plow:

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Ski area in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

While Steamboat Springs earned a reputation as a center for winter sports, the northwestern Colorado town first lured visitors with local hot springs credited with inspiring the hamlet’s name. Today, however, a major attraction is the Steamboat Ski Resort. A winter wonderland spread across the Park Range in the Routt National Forest, the resort’s 2,965 skiable acres span a secluded mountain range dotted with seven peaks, offering 170 marked trails for skiers. More than half of the resort’s runs cater to beginner and intermediate skiers – and novices can even hit the slopes after the sun sets on Christie Peak. Designated for night skiing sessions (Thursday through Sunday), the 8,000-foot summit offers five lighted runs, including two beginner runs. Steamboat is also a great place to learn cross-country skiing, with two different routes tourist centers offering lessons and rentals, plus over 15 miles of groomed trails.

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Big Sky Resort, Montana

Big Sky Resort in Montana.

Nestled in the Northern Rockies, Montana lives up to its name Grand Sky Resort offers skiers 5,850 acres of terrain, which means there’s plenty of room for beginners to practice snow clearing, turning and, of course, graceful falling. Located between Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park, the resort’s trails traverse the flanks of Lone Peak, with over 5,850 acres of terrain for skiers and 300 named trails. Nearly half of the resort’s ski area, roughly 2,300 acres, is rated beginner or intermediate, so there’s plenty to explore. And, beyond the vast area, Big Sky also offers a variety of learning opportunities for less experienced skiers. For beginners still mastering the basics, there are group and private lessons for adults, as well as a full day Learn to ski and ride program including a lift ticket for beginners. Beyond the basics, Big Sky also offers a variety of learning opportunities for more advanced skiers, including guided tours of expert terrain, clinics designed just for women, seasonal multi-week programs for progression skills, and even a series of clinics taught by pioneering extreme skier and US Skiing and Snowboarding Hall of Fame inductee Dan Egan.

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Stowe, Vermont

Stowe in Vermont.

Spread across the flanks of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, Stowe Mountain Station is a New England classic. The northern Vermont city has been a winter sports hub for more than a century, with 4,395-foot Mount Mansfield serving as an irresistible lure for downhill skiers. The first ski lift on the summit opened in 1937 and marked ski runs, ski lifts and lodges have since been added. Today Stowe offers 485 acres of skiable terrain with 116 marked runs, totaling 40 miles. About 70% of the slopes in the resort are designed for beginners and intermediate skiers, and to make things easier, the bulk of the resort’s beginner slopes are clustered around the Toll House Double and Mountain Triple lifts. For skiers looking to perfect the art of paralleling, Stowe also offers group and private lessons for adults, including the chance to create new runs first thing in the morning with the resort’s private Early Riser lessons, offered on weekends. and some holidays.

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June Mountain Ski Area, California

June Mountain ski area in California.

Considered one of California’s most family-friendly ski resorts, the photogenic June Mountain Ski Area is nestled in the peaks of the Eastern Sierra in the Inyo National Forest. Overlooking the town of June Lake, the ski area rises to 10,090 feet and offers skiers 1,500 acres of terrain. More than half of the resort’s 41 runs are designated for beginner and intermediate skiers, and the easiest runs are tucked away around Bunker Hill. There are also many ways to learn June Mountain. The ski area offers half-day adult group lessons as well as half-day, full-day and hourly private lessons. After mastering the basics, intermediate skiers have a number of educational offerings to explore. Intermediate level skiers can head into the backcountry with Sierra Mountain Guides for a off-road hiking tailored to the skills of the participants. And, for a taste of the region’s diverse natural wonders, the resort also offers ski tours led by volunteer naturalists from the United States Forest Service, open to intermediate level skiers.

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Copper Mountain, Colorado

Copper Mountain in Colorado.

Nestled in the White River National Forest just west of Denver, Colorado copper mountain is an idyllic winter getaway for novice skiers. Anchored by 12,441-foot Copper Mountain, the ski area offers 2,507 acres of terrain, traversed by more than 140 named trails. Nearly half of the resort’s runs are aimed at beginner and intermediate skiers, with the majority of the green runs clustered around the West Village base area. Copper Mountain also offers an abundance of opportunities for adults to continue their education on the slopes, including private and group lessons, skill-specific clinics, and seasonal programs for skiers of all skill levels. For a private tour of the mountain’s offerings, the Copper Guides program offers skiers a personalized tour of the resort’s terrain, tailored to individual experience levels. The resort also offers private uphill tours – a unique way for less experienced skiers to get a taste of the backcountry experience. Specialized tours include an introduction to skinning, the technique used for uphill travel, and end with a beginner-friendly descent down a green slope.

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Crystal Mountain Resort, Washington

Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington.

Located in the center of the Cascades at the northeast end of Mount Rainier National Park, Crystal Mountain Resort has a number of advantages for beginner skiers. Spread across a chain of tightly condensed peaks, the ski area is the largest in Washington State, serving over 2,600 skiable acres with 80 marked trails. Although there is spectacular expert terrain, including a large area of ​​backcountry, nearly 65% ​​of the slopes in the ski area cater to beginners and intermediate skiers. And, for some peace of mind, all of the resort’s beginner runs are condensed into the same mountain strip, so there’s little chance of accidentally skiing down double black diamond slopes. The ski area also offers private and group lessons for adults, as well as camps and clinics. While learning the ropes, skiers also get stunning views of some of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic peaks, including 8,363-foot Mount St. Helens to the south, 10,786-foot Mount Baker to the north and 14,400-foot Mount Rainer, the highest volcanic peak in the Lower 48.

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