11 Best Ski Resorts For Beginners in the U.S. (2023) All Ages!

by Robert Stanley | Updated: January 24th, 2023 |  Best Ski Resorts

Are you heading out for your first ski trip? Learning to ski can be daunting for first-timers. While you can learn to ski at any resort - It really does improve the experience if you pick a resort with plenty of wide-open spaces, shallow gradients, and lots of beginner-level runs.

You're spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the best ski resort for your first ski vacation. We've got you covered whether you're on the east or west coast.

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Our Top Picks

11. Granite Peak at Rib Mountain State Park


Granite Peak
Photo by vxla licensed under CC BY 2.0

Often quoted as being one of the best resorts in the Midwest, Granite Peak was established in 1937. The resort extends to more than 200 acres, over one wooded side of the mountain.

What’s the Skiing Like?

Runs are equally split between green and blue, so there is plenty of scope for practicing beginners, although several black runs are dotted over the resort. Recent upgrades include the lift system, which includes one six-seat and two four-seat high-speed chairs.

The beginner area over by the ski school meeting point is well equipped with a chairlift and two drag lifts. These give you access to 4 green runs, some of which trail through the forest. It’s easy to progress further into the forest to try out some of the more difficult blue runs there.

Although it’s quite a compact resort there is plenty of variation in the terrain to keep the skiing interesting.

Amenities at Granite Peak congregate around the base area with all you need for a day’s skiing, including rentals, ski school, lift tickets, food & drink, and lockers.

Learning to Ski

Granite Peak is well geared up for lessons for kids right through to adults, using certified instructors. For beginner skiers aged 3 to 12 years (snowboard lessons start from 7+) the One-Day Lesson Programs are particularly popular and it’s necessary to book early.

Lessons are available Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays and can be taken in the morning or afternoon or as a full day with lunch provided. For more experienced kids there are two progressive courses spread over three weeks.

If you want a change from skiing one afternoon, kids can work off some energy at Sylvan Tubing Hill in nearby Wausau, which has six slopes. You don’t even have to climb the hill; a lift drags you to the top on the tube.

Off the Slopes

For lodging, Granite Peak is just a 10-minute drive from downtown, and nearby Wausau is a further 10 minutes. Both towns are large enough to feature a diverse range of restaurants, hotels, motels, and rentals to suit all pockets.

What We Love About Granite Peak

  • Granite Peak is a mid-size resort, which will satisfy beginners skiers
  • Recent lift upgrades should ensure queues are kept to a minimum
  • Lessons are comprehensive


Granite Peak Stats

Summit Elevation:1942 ft / 592 metres
Skiable terrain:155 acres

Why Choose Wisconsin for Skiing?

Wisconsin is blessed with more than its fair share of day ski resorts, which means easier and quicker access and, more importantly, longer on the slopes. Several resorts don’t have that much elevation, but their extensive snowmaking facilities ensure that coverage shouldn’t be a problem.

All the resorts we featured offer lessons for beginners by certified ski and snowboard instructors. Wisconsin resorts might not have Big Sky airs but the State more than makes up for it with great learning breaks, affordability, and good old fun.

Wisconsin resorts might not have Big Sky airs but the State more than makes up for it with family fun, great learning breaks, and affordability.

10. Sky Tavern



Sky Tavern Ski Resort has a colorful past attracting film stars and celebrities, such as Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Bergman, and Gary Cooper, who made it their destination resort.

Sky Tavern is close to the transport connections of nearby Reno and is also close to Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, and Tahoe National Forest. So, there is plenty to see close by if you want to spend a day away from the resort.

Sky Tavern is now operated as a not-for-profit, run by volunteers and parents, who make it a center of excellence for training kids on how to ski and snowboard.

The executive director, Bill Henderson, sums it up best: ‘I tell people when not in the ski business, we’re in the kid development business.’ Parents are happy to donate at least two hours of each ski day helping with practical tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and helping out on the lifts.

What’s the Skiing Like?

You will find the beginner area at Sky Tavern just on the right-hand side of the Lodge.

There are four shorter green runs where you can practice and break off to go and have a coffee nearby. One of the lifts is a hand tow, where you grab a slow-moving rope, which drags you to the top of the hill.

The other lift is a Poma or button lift. These can be a challenge for the first few times you use them but it’s a useful skill to have, as they are still in use in many resorts.

Once you’ve conquered the green runs you can take the Skyridge Chair, which will give you access to the 6 blue runs higher up. The terrain is lightly forested on one face of the hillside.

Plans are underway to upgrade the snowmaking and floodlighting on the ski area to extend the season and enable night-time skiing across the resort.

Sky Tavern is also a strong advocate of teaching freestyle skiing. As a beginner, it’s probably too ambitious to sign up for a freestyle lesson but there’s nothing to stop you from watching a lesson in progress or seeing freestylers practicing.

It’s one thing seeing freestylers on TV or on YouTube but watching them live you really get to see another dimension of their skills.

Adaptive Skiing at Sky Tavern is similarly well organized. A specialist team adapts their skills and equipment to suit everyone’s needs so beginners are more than welcome.


Learning to Ski

At Sky Tavern the lessons are led by fully qualified PSIA/AASI instructors, so you can be sure safety and experience are paramount. The youngest program, Sky Kids, is aimed at 4-5-year-olds, where they are introduced to the basics of equipment and skiing. Children must be accompanied by their parents.

For older kids and teenagers skiing lessons are subdivided into nine individual lessons, which all concentrate on progressively more advanced techniques. Snowboarding is organized in the same way, broken down into seven individual lessons.

A full program of adult lessons is also available at the weekend, and they are generally scheduled for the afternoons, while the kids are enjoying their free time on the slopes.

Off the Slopes

Although there is no on-resort lodging there is a good range of accommodation in and around nearby Reno. This includes hotels, inns, privately owned apartments, and holiday homes for rent.

What We Love About Sky Tavern

  • It’s a well-organized, economical way to learn the basics of skiing
  • The adaptive skiing program is well-established
  • There is plenty of family accommodation in nearby Reno


Sky Tavern Stats

Summit Elevation:7557 ft / 2303 metres
Skiable terrain: n/a

Why Choose Nevada for Skiing?

The summits of our two picks in Nevada are high, which means there is a good likelihood the snow will be sure, even if it’s scorching down in the desert.

The lessons at both Lee Canyon and Sky Tavern are high quality. This means the instructors are skilled in helping beginners to gain confidence and skills. It also shouldn’t be underestimated that the cost of lift tickets in Nevada is considerably less than in some other larger resorts.

9. Sundown


Photo by WalkingGeek licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ski Sundown resort relaunched in 2014 and equipment upgrades has created a compact ski area, which is ideal for beginners. State-of-the-art snowmaking has now been extended to cover all the runs, so any concerns about poor coverage are now unfounded.

The ski area is close to the towns of New Hartford and Springfield and only a two-hour drive-by interstate from New York State.

What’s the Skiing Like?

The season at ski Sundown generally lasts from early December to late March. There are 16 runs altogether across one face of the hill with a total of 70 acres of skiable terrain.

The skiable terrain is on one face of the mountain, which makes it easy to orientate if you are new to the resort. The beginner area is just to the side of the Ski School, where you will find two shorter conveyor lifts, Big Easy and Little Easy, which will give you access to the green run, Little Joe.

Further along, you’ll find the triple chair, Sunnyside Express, giving access to 3 slightly harder beginner runs, including a short blue through the trees.

When you’re feeling ready for a bigger challenge you can take the Exhibition Triple Chair to the top of the mountain, where you’ll find access to 4 green runs towards the back, as well as a couple of blue runs which take you back down to the base.

The longest run extends for 1.6 KM and night skiing is extensive, across 15 of the runs.

At the base of the resort, you’ll find all the usual amenities including, The Lodge, which offers hot food for winter days including homemade chili, fresh salads, sandwiches, and sometimes even a BBQ. Ski rental, lessons, and lift tickets are all administered nearby.


Learning to Ski

The Sundown website has a section for first-timers, where you can pick up all sorts of useful tips, such as the First Timer Package for ages 7 to adult. This provides you with a free 8-hour lift ticket in the Sunnyside area, equipment rental, and a 1.5-hour ski or snowboard group lesson. The package is even cheaper if you take the night skiing option.

If you want more conventional tuition, then group lessons are split into 4-6 years and 7+. They last for 1.5 hours and are scheduled regularly throughout the week and weekend. All lessons can be booked online and there is a useful online test to measure your experience.

Sundown’s private lessons are for all skiers and snowboarders from 3 years to adult. Sundown also operates a lesson schedule for adaptive skiing.

Off the Slopes

The resort website details hotel and accommodation partners that are all within 35 minute drive. Depending on the party size ski packages can include lift tickets and discounts on rooms. Check with the accommodation when booking to make sure you don’t lose out on discounts.

What We Love About Ski Sundown

  • It has a larger than usual beginner area, offering a good variety
  • Comprehensive floodlighting extends the skiing day
  • The resort is available to a huge catchment in New York State


Sundown Stats

Summit Elevation:1075 ft / 502 metres
Skiable terrain: 70 acres

Why Choose Connecticut for Skiing?

For sheer convenience, Connecticut is hard to beat for a skiing trip. Good road connections cut traveling time and our three recommended resorts are all only just over a two-hour drive from New York. The resorts we’ve reviewed are on the smaller side but that makes them ideal for beginner groups or families who want a short break or long weekend as a tryout.

8. Massanutten


skiing resort

Massnutten Resort is located 10 miles from Harrisonburg the closest town and approximately 120 miles from Washington DC and 100 miles from Richmond. It’s in a picturesque part of the Shenandoah Valley.

From the top of the hill, you can get long-distance views across the valley and even across the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What’s the Skiing Like?

The skiable terrain extends over 70 acres of mostly lightly wooded terrain on one face of the hillside. Beginners will be able to locate the easiest slopes as they are just in front of the Lodge and Snow Sports School. Here you’ll find three conveyor lifts and plenty of wide-open space, where you can find your feet.

When you need more of a challenge you can try the nearby Easy Rider quad chair and come back down on the Easy Street green run.

From there it is only a few steps to take the Creek Side chair, which will bring you down on the last of the green runs, Southern Comfort. This whole region has been designated as a slow area, so you can be confident you won’t feel intimidated by faster skiers.

Once you have all the green runs under your belt it’s time to take a small leap of faith and try out some of the blue runs higher up on either side. All the trails at Massanutten Resort are now lit with LED lighting to extend the skiing day on cloudy afternoons and into darker evenings.


Learning to Ski

The website at Massanutten Resort has some useful information for beginners including videos, FAQ’s, and feedback from beginners who still come regularly.

Private lessons are available for all ages although youngsters under six years need their own dedicated instructor. The resort’s instructors use the Terrain Based Learning system, where specially shaped snow features help students to control speed and body position. This builds confidence and removes the traditional fears and anxieties

There are plans underway to expand the beginner terrain and make the snowmaking facilities more extensive to ensure better coverage during the season from December to March. The resort is a year-round business with golf and other activities during the summer.

Massanutten also has three terrain parks and a snow tubing park.

Off the Slopes

You can grab a bite if you head over to Base Camp, where you can choose between sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, pasta, and salads.

The restaurant recommends diners check for seating availability via Yelp or the resort app, as the restaurant is very busy at peak times.

Alternatively, the Campfire Grill can offer you hand-crafted pizza, camp-stove chili, chicken dumplings, steakhouse burgers, and skillets among others.

There is plenty of choice for accommodation at Massanutten Resort both on and off the mountain.

At the resort, you can choose between the hotel rooms of Massanutten Resort Hotel or a selection of townhouse condos with all the amenities you’d expect. Alternatively, there is Woodstone Meadows with its selection of larger four-bedroom condos which are off the mountain but still nearby.

What We Love About Massanutten Resort

  • Within easy reach from Washington DC and Richmond
  • The Ski School is skilled at keeping beginners on their feet
  • Accommodation is available on and off the mountain
  • Family fun at the snow tubing park


Massanutten Resort Stats

Summit Elevation:2925 ft / 891.54 metres
Skiable terrain: 70 acres

Why Choose Virginia for Skiing?

The two resorts we have highlighted are similar in many ways, with smaller ski areas and a good proportion of green and blue runs for beginners.

This makes them ideal for beginner families, where the limited range of the terrain enables parents to safely give their kids a bit more freedom and freedom for themselves at the same time.

More experienced skiers and snowboarders will tend to choose alternative resorts, which reflect their abilities. This means Bryce and Massanutten Ski resorts will tend to be quieter enabling beginners to concentrate on improving.

While the Rockies may have a lot more grandeur, the hills around the Allegheny Mountains have a beauty of their own.

7. Vail


Vail is the most well-known ski resort in North America but ask anyone around the world and it will most likely be their first choice as well. Vail is one of Colorado’s oldest resorts and is famed for its great snow, excellent facilities, and endless activities.

What’s the Skiing like?

Vail has a staggering 5,289 acres of terrain to explore and 18% of that has been designated as beginner, so there is little chance of you becoming bored on the same runs!

The main beginner area is just in front of the Vail Village Bar, where you will find the Gopher Hill lift and green run. From there it’s just a short walk to try your skills getting on and off a gondola, Gondola 1, which will take you right up to Mid-Vail.

From here you have greens going in both directions, which will take you on long and winding routes through trails in the forest.

The mountain at Vail is well designed, so even as a beginner you can take in some of the highest peaks and still enjoy straightforward greens back down to the base. There are numerous traversing trails across the mountain, like Lion’s Way, Gitalong Road, and Trans Mountain.


Learning to Ski

As with the quality of skiing, the quality of the tuition in ski school is also second to none. There are several ski school locations throughout the resort, Golden Peak is the main children’s Ski School, while classes can also be found in Vail Village and Lionshead.

Packages for tuition include a 3-day First Timer Package, which includes three days of group lessons, your lift ticket, and equipment rental.

As a beginner family, you can also opt for a private lesson, which would last for a full day with up to 6 people in your group. The instructor can tailor the lessons depending on your age and abilities. This package does not include a lift ticket or equipment rental.

One of the main reasons Vail is so popular is the excellent Adventure Ridge fun zone. The young and the young at heart alike can have fun snow tubing, sledding, snow biking, snowmobiling, and ice skating.

Off the Slopes

Don’t worry if you can’t ski yet. Adventure Ridge is accessible by gondola. And once you’ve worked up an appetite, stay up there for dinner at the child-friendly restaurants.

What We Love About Vail:

  • Adventure Ridge fun zone.
  • Terrain for all the family.
  • The kudos for skiing in one of Colorado’s most famous resorts.


Vail Stats

Summit Elevation:11,570 ft / 3526.54 metres
Skiable terrain: 5317 acres

Why Choose Colorado for Skiing?

You really are spoilt for choice when choosing a resort in Colorado for skiing, some of the stats for skiable terrain and snowfall are mind-blowing. However, this doesn’t mean the State’s resorts are only suitable for experts. Far from it, all of our top picks demonstrate that these resorts are keen to attract beginners and offer them some of the best tuition.

Your personal choice will most likely be governed by geography, budget, accommodation, activities, and layout of the resort. But whichever you choose you will be sure of creating some lifelong memories.

P.S If you want to know what it’s like skiing throughout the season from November to April – read our guide on the Best Month to Ski in Colorado.

6. Jackson Hole


Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole Ski Resort has no shortage of terrain that is well suited to complete beginner skiers, as well as those looking to improve their skills. It’s a great resort to visit, whether as a group of beginner friends or as a beginner family.

The snow quality is generally considered to be excellent at Jackson Hole and there’s certainly no shortage of it each season.

What’s the Skiing Like?

One of the great advantages for beginners at Jackson Hole is that you’re not going to be limited to easier runs, which are all down at the base next to the Lodge. So long as you pick carefully there are easier blue runs from halfway up the mountain.

For example, taking the Apres-Vous and Teton quad chairlifts will take you to almost 9000ft (2745 m) for some great views and a good selection of blue runs back down to the base.

When you have built up confidence on that side of the mountain you can move things up a gear and use the central Bridger Gondola up to Rendezvous Lodge, for a new set of tree-lined blue runs and glades.

For beginners just starting out, there is a dedicated learning area with its own Teenwinoit quad chair and green runs next to the terrain park.


Learning to Ski

Ski School at Jackson Hole has more amenities than most ski schools and the instructors are fully qualified to teach beginners just starting out right up to competitive racing standards.

Lessons can be booked as private or for groups and the starting age is seven years old. Some find private lessons among a small group of friends are a quicker way to progress for complete beginners.

In this format, the instructor can devote more of his time to individuals, so you learn quicker but, on the downside, you do have to pay more for the lessons.

Group lessons are generally more fun as there is a better social aspect to them. Learning to ski is a real icebreaker so you can’t help but make friends with your fellow students. Group lessons are put together by students whose ability level is roughly similar.

Jackson Hole is unusual in that it provides lift tickets for beginner terrain only. If you need to rent gear, head on over to one of the local shops in town to get fitted and suited up. The resort does advise booking lessons, lift tickets, and equipment all at the same time, as the resort, does get very busy.

If you really take to skiing in the first few days you can also take a lesson in cross-country skiing to try out some of the trails around the resort. In addition, there is plenty of wildlife spotting, as well as ice skating, and tubing.

Off the Slopes

If you’re looking to have a down day on your ski trip, why not head over to nearby Yellowstone National Park? Your family or friends can check out the amazing sights while resting up for the next full day of hitting the slopes.

For beginners, on-resort lodging is the ideal option albeit more expensive. Learning to ski is bound to create a low level of anxiety, so any action you can take to minimize this is a real plus. When lodging at the resort everything is laid on and a lot simpler, you don’t have to think about cars or buses or mislaying equipment.

Teton Village is at the base of the slopes, and it has several options for lodging, including hotels and condos that are ski-in and ski-out. If you’re looking for a wider range of stays per your budget — nearby Jackson will be your best bet. They have plenty of shopping, nightlife, and restaurants to keep you busy in the evenings.

What We Love About Jackson Hole:

  • The unique character of Teton Village (not a cookie-cutter ski village)
  • Some good beginner runs from higher up on the mountain
  • Close to Yellowstone — beautiful views and plenty of wildlife
  • Many options for lodging that are suitable for all budgets


Jackson Hole Stats

Summit Elevation:10450 ft / 3185 metres
Skiable terrain: 2500 acres

Why Choose Wyoming for Skiing

All of the top picks we’ve chosen in Wyoming have a good provision of skiing for beginners and those improving. Unusually, for most resorts, access to the top of the mountain is often easy with simple routes back down to the base. This enables beginners to feel part of the whole skiing landscape, rather than contained in a beginner area at the base.

Our overall top pick for the best Wyoming ski resort for beginners is Jackson Hole. Being the largest ski resort in the state, it has many amenities that will make your experience one to remember. However, if you feel you might be more comfortable in a quieter resort, as you find your feet, then choose from one of the smaller resorts where there will be fewer distractions.

5. Bald Mountain - Sun Valley



Owned by a gold-mining company Sun Valley resort is a nugget in its own right. It draws a varied crowd including Hollywood celebs drawn to roughing it in style. Its wild-west history still filters through creating a real sense of individuality.

Higher up the runs are pretty much all green and blue, while the terrain is open and easy to negotiate. There are several terrain parks, which can sometimes draw in the crowds but luckily these tend to be lower down, so you can stay high if it's crowded.

What’s the Skiing Like?

There are two mountains at Sun Valley, Bald Mountain, or “Baldy”, as it’s known to regulars, has plenty of green and blue runs. Nearby Dollar Mountain is an open, protected beginners’ area that has plenty of scopes to give beginners the practice they need. Dollar Mountain also has a terrain and tubing park.

With 3,400 ft (1036 m) of vertical fall and over 2,400 acres of varied terrain, Sun Valley has something for everyone. There are 13 lifts, 65 runs, a full-size terrain park, and best of all no lift lines! Sun Valley typically receives 220 in (5.6 m) of snow per season and snowmaking covers an extensive 645 acres.

The beginner area of Dollar Mountain is just a short walk from the base village of Sun Valley. Beginner families will enjoy that all the beginner amenities are in the same area. The ski school has a great reputation and is conveniently located at the base of Dollar Mountain.

Higher up the runs are pretty much all green and blue, while the terrain is open and easy to negotiate. There are several terrain parks, which can sometimes draw in the crowds but luckily these tend to be lower down, so you can stay high if it’s crowded.

When you have cut your teeth on Dollar Mountain for a few days it’s straightforward to transfer over to the runs on Bald Mountain. You can get a real taste of the elevation beyond the 9000 ft summit, even as a beginner. Starting out from the summit choose the green, Bowl Lane, then Broadway Face, and then a choice of greens right to the base.


Learning to Ski

Whatever your level of skiing Sun Valley’s instructors will be able to focus on your weak points and encourage you to develop the best technique. This can be with a private one-to-one lesson, a private family lesson, or in a small group.

Off the Slopes

There is no ski-in ski-out lodging around the resort, so most skiers head to nearby Ketchum on the shuttle for its variety of simple hotels and upmarket lodges.

What We Love About Bald Mountain, Sun Valley

  • With its consistent, groomed slopes Sun Valley resort is an ideal beginner family destination
  • Compared to other large US ski resorts Sun Valley never gets crowded
  • Sun Valley, Idaho has a charming and genteel vibe
  • There are plenty of activities beyond the slopes


Bald Mountain, Sun Valley Stats

Summit Elevation:9150 ft / 2789 metres
Skiable terrain: 2054 acres

Why Choose Idaho for Skiing

The numerous ski resorts in Idaho have everything a beginner will need to have a great ski and snowboard session. From licensed daycare services that care for young children, trails that cater to all degrees of skill, ski and snowboard schools, and other activities to keep both the parents and the children engaged throughout the day. Round it out with a tasty dinner and sleep the fatigue away comfortably before rising up on a new day, energized and eager for a new adventure with the whole family.

4. Park City



Park City Mountain is the largest ski resort in the United States, offering a huge area of skiable terrain. Park City boasts 341 runs across more than 7,300 acres of some of the best snow in the whole of the US.

What’s more, Utah is known for having some of the best powder in the country as well. So, for beginners, there are whole areas of the resort that have been designed to keep things simple but at the same time offer variety.

What’s the Skiing like?

One of the advantages of taking lessons is that you will have access to the instructors and their in-depth knowledge of the whole resort. Depending on what you personally want to achieve their recommended actions will vary.

Some beginners prefer to concentrate on technique while others seek out adventure, and often most want a bit of both.

If you’re very new to skiing or snowboarding and you want to spend time with your family building confidence, then High Meadow Park at Park City is the best choice.

Opened in 2018 the Park is a dedicated learning area designed exclusively for beginners. The terrain has been re-graded to provide the perfect slopes for beginner skiers and snowboarders. As your skill level improves High Meadow Park also features three new adventure trails to create new challenges.

High Meadow Park is situated halfway up the mountain at the top of the Red Pine Gondola. As beginners feel more confident, they can move on to Adventure Alleys and improve their skills further.

If you fancy a break away from the slopes for a day, there is plenty to do. Activities like alpine rollercoasters, dog sledding, tubing, zip-lining, and more. There are also countless restaurants out there for a quick lunch in between skiing sessions. 


Learning to Ski

The sheer size of the terrain at Park City means there are still 550+ acres of runs appropriate for beginners. That’s bigger than some entire resorts!

They also have an excellent ski school for ages three and up. And for families with kids under three years old, drop them off at the Little Adventures Children’s Center if you want to hit the slopes or shops for a few hours alone.

The instructors at Park City are fully qualified and world-class, in fact, they train several courses for the US Ski Team, including slalom and giant slalom. If that’s a step too far you can try one of several courses including Ski College, where you will have five consecutive days of lessons with an instructor.

The Park City website has a very useful resource under ‘lessons’ where you can find out all the do’s and don’ts of starting lessons.

Off the Slopes

Park City Mountain is located just 35 minutes away from Salt Lake City, meaning affordable accommodation is very easy to find for the whole family. For beginner families wanting to stay in the resort, there is a huge host of lodging options, including gorgeous vintage hotels.

What’s more, as a historic mining town, Park City offers great activities for those who want to take a break from the slopes.

What We Love About Park City:

  • Dedicated quieter beginner areas
  • It’s absolutely massive
  • Plenty to do on and off the slopes
  • Close proximity to Salt Lake City


Park City Stats

Summit Elevation:10026 ft / 3056 metres
Skiable terrain: 7300 acres

Why Choose Utah for Skiing?

Utah has a reputation for large resorts with substantial falls of powder but that doesn’t mean they are not suitable for beginners. In fact, their sheer size for the most part allows for the creation of easier greens and blues that beginners can enjoy. Additionally, the quality of ski and snowboard lessons enables first-timers to get onto the slopes more quickly.

3. Mt. Bachelor


Photo by U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

By lucky coincidence, the snow that falls on Mount Bachelor is routinely light and dry and at the same time, it falls early and late enough to considerably extend the season. The skiable terrain extends over a colossal 4300 acres, most of which is accessible by the lift system.

What’s the Skiing Like?

If you’re arriving at Mount Bachelor as a beginner family, then Mt. Bachelor Daycare Center is a state-licensed day-care center, which can provide you with the extra freedom to concentrate on your lessons. The daycare is aimed at children between the ages of 6 weeks to 10 years old.

Mt. Bachelor has been operating as a ski resort since 1958. The mountain was created by two volcanoes on top of each other, which explains its dramatic appearance.

The highest elevation extends to 9065 ft (2763 m) and there are 3,365 ft (1,026 m) of vertical fall to the base. There are 11 lifts in total accessing over 101 runs, which are rated 15% novice, 35% intermediate, 30% advanced, and 20% expert.


Learning to Ski

The beginner area is just to the left of the West Village Lodge and consists of a short lift and two easy green runs, Milky Way, and Home Run. Another smaller beginner area lies at the base of Sunrise Lodge. It’s easy to progress from these beginner runs to some of the higher greens and blues accessed via the Pine Marten lift.

Progression Park and The Lava Tube trails are also ideal for beginner skiers who want to push their skiing knowledge. The undulating terrain of the volcano provides some great trails through forests and glades. The lessons offered at Mt. Bachelor include half-day or full-day ski and snowboard instruction for kids aged 3 ½ to 5.

For older kids, a Snow Explorer package is for youngsters aged 2 ½ and older. Lunch is also included in the full-day program and can be added optionally for half-day program attendees.

For older beginners, there are 2-hour and full-day lesson options for adults, teens, and youth. There is also a dedicated beginner package which is aimed at adults and teens, ages 13+, and youngsters aged 6-12. The beginner package is aimed at skiers who want to experience skiing or snowboarding for the very first time or the second time.

Off the Slopes

There is plenty of choices when it comes to eating out at Mount Bachelor. with full-service bars, cafes, and mobile kitchens, all the way to Demo Center to try out new gear and many exciting events all year round, there’s no shortage of good time for the whole family. There are numerous local B&Bs, motels, and hotels in the local area.

What We Love About Mt. Bachelor:

  • Wide range of activities for all ages
  • Ski trails that accommodate both beginners and experienced skiers
  • Well-equipped gear shop, with tuning and repair services
  • Rich culinary selections, ranging from light bites, and comfort foods, to local brews


Mt. Bachelor Stats

Summit Elevation:9065 ft / 2763.012 metres
Skiable terrain: 4323 acres

Why Choose Oregon for Skiing

Our top picks for beginner ski resorts in Oregon have everything those starting out on their skiing adventure need. When picking your resort you shouldn’t need to concern yourself with snow coverage; the majority of the resorts experience more than 350 in and several often experience more than 400 in.

Lessons for beginners are all well established for all ages, and you can take your pick between private tuition or saving some cash and having fun in a group lesson. Similarly, the design of resort trails is now well-considered. So, beginners can access lifts and find clearly marked beginner runs from the top of the lift.

2. Hunter Mountain

New York

Hunter Mountain
Photo by Rym DeCoster at licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hunter Mountain is one of the most popular ski resorts in the Catskills region and for good reason, it boasts of a powerful snowmaking system, which covers every trail in the resort.

There are four separate and distinct mountain faces on Hunter Mountain, which allows guests a wide variety of terrain that spans from beginner-friendly to more advanced trails. That’s one of the main appeals of Hunter Mountain, that it can offer trails to every ability level.

What’s the Skiing Like?

Most beginners at Hunter Mountain head down to the Base Lodge and Learning Center, which lie at the foot of several of the easier green runs where beginners can build their confidence.

Unlike a lot of beginner areas, the one at Hunter Mountain is served by three chairlifts, so skiers can additionally practice getting on and off lifts.

It’s then easy to progress across the mountain gradually taking in more difficult blue runs, and it’s even possible to take the Snowlight Express lift to the top of the mountain and then descend via a choice of two blues.


Learning to Ski

All the instructors at Hunter Mountain are fully qualified and experienced in helping complete beginners to find their feet in the snow. There are group lessons, which are ideal if you’re keeping an eye on expenses, and private lessons, which admittedly cost more but do provide better personal tuition, which can really improve your skills.

Off the Slopes

If you need a bit of light relief after a hard day of lessons it’s hard to beat a few rides on the snow tubing lanes to get your sense of humor back. The resort also offers snowmobile and snowshoeing experiences if you’re looking for other adventures in the snow. There is limited shopping on the mountain but there are plenty of dining options ranging from pizza, burgers, BBQ, and even sushi!

What We Love About Hunter Mountain:

  • Less than 3 hours from New York City
  • A good selection of beginner runs and chairlifts to practice on
  • Spa treatments available
  • Top-of-the-line rental equipment available


Hunter Mountain Stats

Summit Elevation:3200 ft / 975.36 metres
Skiable terrain: 320 acres

Why Choose New York for Skiing

There is no shortage of high-quality skiing to be found in the state of New York. Nearly all of these resorts offer lessons from qualified instructors, who are experienced in dealing with first-time skiers. This really takes the pain out of your first few days on snow, where an experienced instructor corrects your mistakes quickly rather than you finding out by trial and error.

Our overall pick for the best New York ski resort for beginners is Whiteface Mountain at Lake Placid. It stands out with its beautiful scenery, great amenities, and some lovely skiing.

1. Stratton


Photo by Jon Buckley licensed under CC BY 2.0

Located on the highest mountain in Southern Vermont, Stratton has excellent snow, rapid lifts, a great variety of runs, and a high percentage of beginner trails. Plus, beautiful surroundings and a fantastic collection of non-ski activities.

The resort is close to the wilderness of the Appellation Trail but at the same time not far from the north-south road connections of I-91.

What’s the Skiing like?

For first-timers, you’ll find the beginner area just in front of the Snow Sports School. There are a couple of magic carpets and a short chairlift to transport you around the area.

If you prefer to start on something a little more demanding head over to the Sun Bowl Lodge, where you can take the Solstice lift and take your pick of several green runs from the top. The difficulty of the runs is easily graduated so you can progress at your own pace, without suddenly being presented with an overwhelming challenge.

If you’re not sure which to choose always check with a lift attendant or ski instructor, as they will be happy to recommend runs that suit your ability.


Learning to Ski

Stratton Ski School offers both daily and seasonal lessons. If you’re staying in the area for a few weeks a seasonal program of lessons will offer the flexibility to learn more gradually.

Alternatively, you can try out a Lesson and Rental Package, which is a cost-effective way of learning from scratch. These packages include equipment rental, a lift ticket, and a half-day lesson.

If you need childcare, Stratton operates its own in-house facility, which accepts kids from six weeks old.

Off the Slopes

There is a European Alpine feel in Stratton Village, with its modern range of condos and lodges. There is no skimping on amenities either with a spa, fitness center, shops, bars, and restaurants. And the proximity to Manchester – only 20 minutes away – means a change of scene or a whole host of other amenities is on hand if necessary.

What We Love About Stratton:

  • Two beginner areas, one for first-timers and the second learners
  • The European-style alpine village.
  • The tube park, ice rink, and other kid-friendly activities.
  • Snow parks for all levels, from beginners up to extreme athletes


Stratton Stats

Summit Elevation:  3875 ft / 1181 metres
Skiable terrain:670+acres

Why Choose Vermont for Skiing?

Vermont is ideally placed for picturesque mountains and wooded slopes, along with the native wildlife. Many resorts and ski areas are rural but good road connections make for fast and easy travel.

These are well-established resorts that have been operating for quite a while and so they understand the requirements of skiers and snowboarders, and design accordingly. All of the above resorts are suitable for complete beginners and many offer beginner packages, which include equipment rental, lift tickets, and the lesson.

How Did We Order This List?

To help rank our top selection of ski resorts for this list we compared the following ranking factors:

👨‍👩‍👦 Ranking Factor📈 Power to affect Rank
Amount of Beginner Trails (Mi) 4x
Amount of Skiing Area (Mi) 3x
Cost of two adult tickets + child ticket1x
How many magic carpet lifts1x

We gave each factor its own weight depending on how important we feel it is for family fun across all ages. For example, a resort with more beginner trails is higher ranked than a resort with a lower-priced family ticket - with all else being equal. That's because while cost is a factor, it's not a primary one. We may also use our editorial judgment to remove or add resorts that we believe should make the list.

When taking all of this into account, it gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.

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Best Ski Resorts For Beginners USA