Ski trails at a resort in Jackson Hole with blue and red sunset visible over mountain.
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Best Ski Resorts for Beginners: Top 5 U.S. Picks

Learning to ski as an adult can be intimidating. Booking a trip at a ski resort (as a beginner skier) is also intimidating. Let us put your nerves at ease by sharing five of the best ski resorts for beginners in the U.S., because we want you to have one heck of a fun ski holiday!

Hotel Terra Jackson Hole during winter season.

Confession: I’ve Never Been Skiing Before

Let me start this off by saying…I have never skied before. I’ve lived in Slovakia, Alaska, Colorado and most recently visited 36 states and 5 Canadian provinces on our 17 month RVing road trip. And yet, I’ve never set foot on a pair of snow skis in my life.


A few reasons really.

  • I’ve always assumed it was too expensive (gear rental, ski apparel, fees, etc)
  • I hate being cold
  • Gravity
  • Fear
  • Thinking I’m too out of shape to ski
  • Fear of gravity
  • I’m from Texas – we water ski
  • Fear

Did I mention fear? Yep, skiing intimidates the heck out of me.

But I have a goal for 2019 and that’s to step foot in a pair of skis for the first time and ski down a slope. Because of this goal, I’ve been doing some research on ski resorts for beginners. So if you’re like me and you’ve never skied before, but you really want to learn, I hope the information I share gives you the confidence and know-how to book your very first ski trip.

5 of the Best U.S. Ski Resorts for Beginners

Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Solitude Station

If you’ve been following our travels and reading this blog, then you know we’re big fans of the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area. Big fans. Like…I think I could move there and be perfectly content…fans.

Gondola ski lift at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Read: 5 Reasons Fall is the Best Time to Visit Jackson Hole, Wyoming

We’ve visited this location both in the summer and in the fall. Next up? The winter!

I reached out to some folks who know a thing or two about Jackson Hole and asked if they knew of some best places to ski for beginners in the area. Guess what? They did.

As a matter of fact, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is opening a beginner ski experience for the Winter 2018/2019 season called Solitude Station.

Here’s a little bit about Solitude Station:

For the Winter 2018/2019 season, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is expanding its dining options with Solitude Station, a new ski learning center located at the Sweetwater Gondola mid-station, and a new base-area fast casual restaurant at the base of the Aerial Tram. Solitude Station will boast 12,000 square feet of ski school, rental and dining facilities. With two dining rooms and an exterior patio, the full-service lodge will provide families with an area to relax and refuel with a variety of beverage options.

Solitude Station provides an enhanced Mountain Sports School experience for children 7 years and older and adult lessons for all ability levels.

Just look at some of the snowfall we witnessed in Jackson Hole, WY.

Ski lift at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Very snowy, cloudy day at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

They’ve already received their first snowfall of the season and are anticipating record-breaking snowfall for the 2018/2019 season.

If you’re planning a ski holiday to Jackson Hole, here are a couple of hotels to consider. Both are offering a Fourth Night Free package valid for stays before December 15, 2018. Stay three nights and the fourth night is free!

Both properties are slopeside to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the number one ski resort in North America according to Forbes. Both properties are also in the perfect location, nestled at the base of the Grand Teton National Park and a short drive to Yellowstone National Park. There are plenty of winter activities to keep you busy, including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, wildlife tours, winter bike tours, and more!

22-person rooftop hot tub at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa

Aspen Snowmass, Colorado: Ski School

When I think of a top skiing location, I think of Aspen, Colorado. But when I think of where the best places for beginner skiers to learn, Aspen didn’t come to mind. Until I learned about the Snowmass Ski School.

Aspen has four main ski areas: Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain and Buttermilk. All of these are located in one resort destination and require only one lift ticket.

Snowmass is the perfect place for beginner skiers because of the terrain. In addition, if you’re traveling with experienced skiers, they can enjoy nearby resorts while you take a lesson. It’s a win-win ski winter experience for everyone.

Skiier going downhill in Snowmass, Colorado.

Here’s what has to say about the Snowmass Ski School for adults:

The Beginner Magic Lounge is a must-do for adults who have never skied before. There’s a rental shop at Elk Camp stocked with safe gear made specifically with beginners in mind. The shop’s staff knows you might be a little intimidated by the whole experience, so they make things easy and comfortable for you by making you laugh and reminding you that skiing’s all about having fun. Ski school lessons for beginners will use the magic carpet and beginner chairlift. If you graduate to the bigger slopes, you can ski to the bottom and the rental shop at the top of the Elk Camp Gondola will send your shoes down for you.

Northstar California: Ski & Snowboard School

Located in Truckee, California, the Northstar California resort is easy to get to by car, plane or shuttle. Before you travel, be sure to check the current road conditions via their live webcam.

Why did Northstar make the list of best ski resorts for beginners? Because of its very friendly ski terrain and it’s excellent ski school for adults.

Northstar California believes it’s never too late to learn! And they have a wide range of lesson opportunities for adults including:

  • Private one-on-one lessons
  • Her Mountain Retreat – a weekend for the ladies: “a weekend that pairs rejuvenation with exhilaration, the old you with the new you, champagne with yoga, all shared with a small group of women looking for that same “something”, that new sense of accomplishment. On this retreat you’ll get the mountain completely to yourselves and an expert instructor who masterfully orchestrates the entire weekend, just for you.”
  • Group Lessons
  • Adult Ultimate Four Lessons – perfect if you want to learn in a small group setting
  • And more!

If the family gets tired of skiing, there’s a tubing hill and bungee trampoline within the village.

Big Sky Resort, Montana

Big Sky Resort in Montana is a first-time skier’s paradise. Here’s why:

Welcome to Big Sky Resort where a minimum of 400 inches of powder fall on 5,800+ skiable acres and 4,350 vertical feet. Lift lines are small to non-existent.  More than 2,300 acres of beginner and intermediate terrain, and 3,525 acres of advanced and expert terrain with 300 degrees of skiing off of Lone Peak.  The mountain boasts one of the most innovative lift systems in the world, with the first 8-seat, D-line lift coming to North America for Winter Season 2018-19, featuring ergonomically-shaped, heated seats and a weather-proof bubble. No matter if you are learning how to ski, or consider yourself the best skier on the mountain, Big Sky Resort promises to leave you permagrinning and with memories to last a lifetime.

There’s also a ton of other non-skiing winter activities. Try a zipline adventure, snowshoe tour, dog sledding, or sleigh ride.

If you’re curious about zipline adventures, check out our experience with The Gorge Zipline in North Carolina.

Group of people learning to ski in Colorado

Beaver Creek, Colorado

I tried not to include two Colorado resorts on this best places to ski for beginners list, but I couldn’t help myself. One, I’m biased because I consider Colorado our second home and two, it’s Colorado – home to some of the best skiing in the world according to more sources than I can count.

Read: 10 Best Ski Destinations in the USA <– Hint: Colorado resorts are on the list multiple times.

Why Beaver Creek for beginner skiers? It’s known to be less crowded than other ski resorts, it has some of the best and longest beginner runs in the country and they have a very large learning area.

Plus, just take a look at all of their programs for adult beginner skiers. It’s top-notch and has something for everyone.

So what do you think? Do you feel a bit more confident to book your ski trip with the family or significant other, even though you’re a beginner? I hope so.

If you know of any other ski resorts that are best for beginner skiers, please share in the comments below!


Best Ski Resorts for Beginners in the U.S.

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  1. Imagine never gone skiing when you’ve been to all those places! But I get your fear though, fear is pretty dominating. I am from Norway and they say we are born with skiis on our feet (poor mothers!) so it comes as a second nature to me. You could begin with cross country skiing, that’s not scary at all. Very cosy in fact, bring a thermos with hot chocolate and life is good. I really hope you get to experience all the lovely winter activities next year. I so want to visit all these ski resorts!

    1. What a great idea Stine! I’ve never even thought about trying cross-country skiing, but that might be the perfect way to get comfortable with the sport. Norway is at the top of my travel bucket list. I can’t wait to get there!

  2. I love the idea of booking a trip to a ski lodge but I’ve never gone skiing either- I also hate being cold and am so intimidated! Maybe someday I’ll build up the courage and head to one of these resorts…I’ve always wanted to visit Colorado.

  3. Jackson Hole is NOT beginner friendly. Unless you want to stay on the same 3-4 very tiny hills the whole trip. I’ve been skiing my whole life (46) and the blues and double blues were extremely challenging. They have the second steepest hill in America. Cannot recommend for beginners looking for a good amount of run choices. But it’s beautiful and tons of fun.

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