Learning to ski or snowboard is no easy feat. The equipment is expensive and complex, the movements seem unnatural at first and, of course, the idea of whooshing down a steep mountain at top speed would scare any first-timer right off the bat.
The whole concept can be intimidating in at least a dozen different ways, but quality instruction, a friend to learn from (or with) and a mountain suitable for beginners will go a long way in easing apprehension. When it comes down to it, you can learn to ski at just about any resort, but some places make learning easier and much less frightening than others.
We asked our readers which resorts they thought were the most beginner-friendly and then took a close look at the statistics: the terrain, ski schools and other amenities. After our reader’s opinions and our evaluation of the statistics, here are the top ten U.S. ski resorts for beginners.
The third best ski resort on the continent, according to our readers, is also among the best for beginners. More than 5,200 skiable acres offer plenty of terrain for skiers and boarders of every level and their ski schools are among the best out there. Though the mountain is known for hardcore terrain and backcountry access, there are plenty of gentle, wide slopes that offer amazing snow that has been groomed to perfection.
#9 Crested Butte
This old school Colorado ski area has much to offer first-time skiers and boarders—the majority of terrain is classified as either beginner or intermediate and the mountain has several very long gradual runs. They’ve also stepped up their slope side offerings, opening an adventure park and offering winter horseback rides and snowshoeing.