Most ski resorts offer instruction and a range of terrain for different abilities, the goal is more people on the mountains after all. But, that doesn’t mean all ski resorts are made for learning. There are a few key characteristics that help newbies excel when you’re strapping on a snowboard the first few times.
It all starts with the mountain topography. The best beginner terrain includes greens with a variety of pitches, and not all stuck at the bottom of the mountain either (beginners love the views too). One green run that’s more road than slope just won’t cut it. Lift options, like starter carpets and gondolas, take the anxiety out of getting on and off a standard lift and make the learning experience a bit smoother. Finally, an experienced and organized learn-to-ride program caps it all off. Experienced instructors who are passionate about the sport can make the rough first runs (and many falls) enjoyable and progression a breeze.
These nine ski resorts check all those boxes (according to us), with stellar terrain and services tailor-made for beginner shredders.
Copper Mountain, Colorado
I can also personally attest to the awesome on-slope education at the Copper Ski & Ride School. There are private and group lessons for any age, ability level, and interest. It’s just as good for intermediate snowboarders looking to level up and work on tricks. Woodward is home to Copper’s acclaimed freestyle programs. The training facility features indoor ramps, foam pits, and trampolines. It’s a safe place for beginners to practice and build confidence with experienced instructors, including coaches for Olympic freestyle and X Games athletes.
With seasoned pros and coaches leading the way, it doesn’t take long for riders to level up, no matter what the starting point. Plus, Green Acres is one of the area’s best kept secrets for beginners. This area is chill enough for guests who’d like to DIY their learning experience. The rest of Copper is naturally divided by ability, so you won’t accidentally stumble onto a run above your level until you’re ready.
Aspen Ski Co is made up of four different mountains that all offer varying levels of terrain and difficulty. Beginners flock to Snowmass and Buttermilk for their acclaimed Ski & Snowboard Schools led by talented and inspired pros. Here, beginners build confidence and familiarize with the terrain in private lessons, guided experiences, group lessons by age, and adaptive clinics.
Big Sky Resort, Montana
Big Sky Resort boasts nearly 1,000 acres of first-timer’s paradise. With 882 acres dedicated to learning, beginners can practice with next to no crowds. Montana’s Big Sky Resort base area offers a magic carpet and poma lift for smoothing out the basics under the tutelage a certified Professional Ski Instructor.
Park City, Utah
The new High Meadow Park is designed exclusively for beginners with a wide-open, gently-graded slope. It has three adventure trails for natural progression and High Meadow Express Lift for easy laps. It’s the perfect spot for kids and families to learn to ride. It’s located mid-way up the mountain, so there are beginner slopes and spectacular views all around. Park City Mountain’s snowboard instructors have decades of teaching and riding experience. They are experts at making the learning process fun and effective. Their passion for snowboarding rubs off on students and instills a love early on.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, there are 7,000+ more acres to practice and progress from green to blue, blue to black, and on up to double black. Park City is the largest ski resort in the U.S. so that bluebird sky is the limit to learning.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Beaver Creek is known for long, well-groomed runs. While it is home to iconic world cup races, the easier greens are no less impressive. Plus, Beaver Creek has a special gondola dedicated to guests in snowboard and ski lessons. That means beginners have unlimited runs with their instructor and won’t have to wait in longer lines.
Beaver Creek rewards adults who persevere, buy two days of snowboard lessons and get the third day of lessons free.
This North Lake Tahoe ski resort is home to the one and only Burton Academy. Northstar’s specialized learning experience is all about you and optimizing progression. The Ultimate 4 limits group size to four guests for personalized attention and connection with the coach. In addition, Her Mountain is “inspired by women, taught by women, and created for women.” If that’s not enough for you, there are private coaching sessions also available. There’s a long green avenue to practice turns as well as an entire mountain-side covered in terrain parks of all sizes.
Sun Valley, Idaho
There’s an entire mountain dedicated to beginners at Sun Valley Resort. The beginner’s mountain, Dollar Mountain, features gradual pitches that move up in difficulty as snowboarders progress. Plus, it boasts a world-renowned SnowSports school with instructors to guide every step (or slide) along the way.
Deer Valley, Utah (for any snowboarders curious about skiing)
This ski-only resort is the place to learn how to ski. Nearly 30 percent of Deer Valley’s slopes are green, and perfectly manicured to boot. Plus, you won’t look longingly at snowboarders zipping alongside as you refine your technique from pizza to French fries. It’s all about personalized attention, too, choose from private lessons or “Max 4” lessons, so you’ll learn alongside no more than three other people. I had the opportunity to take two days of ski lessons at Deer Valley, and can personally vouch for their supportive instructors and forgiving green trails. Proof: I didn’t fall once on my first day on skis.)