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Want to learn to ski, but not sure where the best ski resorts for beginners are? We’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of our favorite learn to ski resorts in the United States where you’ll not only have a great experience learning to ski, but also get the most bang for your buck.
Spoiler: A lot of the best ski resorts for beginners ARE NOT the big-name resorts that you’ve often heard of. We find that smaller ski resorts are the best for learning to ski in the United States, so that’s where we focus our efforts.
Smaller ski resort = smaller crowds which is always better for beginner skiers and gets you the most bang for your ski buck! You’ll find everything from luxury ski resorts to small mom and pop hills, and everything in between.
Best Ski Resorts in the US for Beginners
1. Snowbasin, UT
Snowbasin Resort in Utah is home to incredible slopes for all levels of skiers that go from welcoming beginner trails to some very steep ones meant for experts, which means it is the perfect destination for just about everyone. It’s our top pick for the best ski resorts for beginners.
The resort’s Learn and Earn ski school program caters to first-time skiers looking to learn the ropes of skiing and wind up as experts, as does the Little Cat Lift. Located at the base of the mountain, it offers many green trails that kids and adults alike will enjoy.
Snowbasin’s beginner terrain park makes learning to ski as an older kid or teen especially fun, and we love the resort’s recent focus on safety. Snowbasin is a fantastic blend of a luxury ski experience and a family-friendly resort and we highly recommend skiing there.
Consider staying at Best Western Plus Canyon Pines
2. Grand Targhee, WY
Located in the tiny town of Alta, Wyoming, 12 miles from the Idaho border, Grand Targhee ski resort offers an authentic taste of the wild west mixed with heaping servings of good snow.
Even though Targhee is definitely not short on intermediate and advanced runs, it also happens to boast a fantastic beginners’ area making it one of the best places to learn to ski. Their learning areas, fun zones, and animated trails are great for keeping the kids entertained and motivated. The views of the Teton mountains alone make this resort worthy of visiting and the unpretentious town is fantastic for getting a good dose of western vibe and hospitality.
We skied there a couple of years ago with the kids who then were ages 2-12 and everyone found something they liked. Their ski school there was absolutely OUTSTANDING and the powder that mom and dad can enjoy while the kids are off with their instructors is absolutely LEGENDARY, making it one of the best ski resorts for beginners, and all other skiers who want excellent skiing without the crowds. If you’re looking to fine-tune your skills, they also have plenty of adult ski lessons that are top-notch.
Consider staying at Modern Mountain Family Home
3. Bogus Basin, ID
Set 16 miles north of Boise, Idaho, Bogus Basin ski resort is somewhat of a well-kept secret as far as ski areas go, which makes it a great place for beginners. You can start off your skiing journey without being overrun by crowds and long lines.
Offering breathtaking views of the mountains and Boise, their ample terrain is divided pretty evenly between beginner terrain, intermediate ski runs, and advanced runs for every age group, with a magic carpet and a bunny hill that beginners love. It’s an affordable hill that makes it easy to stay in the city while taking a few day trips to the mountains for ski days. The have a great ski school with multi-week programs there which are a fantastic option for learning how to ski in Idaho.
Consider staying at this Functional Condo
4. Mount Bachelor, Oregon
Mt. Bachelor ski resort is a dormant volcano set on the eastern face of Oregon’s Central Cascade Range.
Famous for its light snow and diverse terrains, 15% of Bachelor’s 4,300 acres of skiable terrain are dedicated to beginner skiers and snowboarders. Newbies here can learn the ropes at the slopes at the Ski or Ride program, which includes five lessons, rentals, and lift tickets at a great price. They also have the Sunrise Lodge, a base area that caters to first-timers, as well as two chairlifts to take you to ample beginner terrain, Alpenglow and Early Riser.
If you’re looking for a great Oregon ski resort for beginners, Mount Bachelor is one of your best options.
Consider staying at this Gorgeous Golf Course, Covered Outdoor Living
5. Loveland, CO
Located in the Rocky Mountains amid famous swanky resorts, Loveland offers a simpler option where skiing and snowboarding are the stars for those who want to concentrate on learning and polishing their skills without being distracted by dancing (and costly) trimmings. It’s one of our all-time favorite low key resorts and it’s incredible for family skiing in Colorado.
For newbies, Loveland is a great place to learn, with a separate base area where you can try out your skills without fear of being run over by daredevils. This is so incredible, especially for kids learning how to ski. Loveland doesn’t have the heavy crowds that nearby big resorts get, while the ski area also keeps skiing and boarding affordable. Loveland is also closer to Denver than every other ski resort, so you’ll have less traffic to battle on I-70. It’s one of the most family-friendly resorts in Colorado.
Consider staying at TownePlace Suites
6. Arapahoe Basin, CO
Arapahoe Basin has a special place in my heart since it’s where our oldest three kids learned to ski. Located 96 miles from Denver, way up in the Continental Divide, Arapahoe Basin, also known as A-Basin, is famous for its laid-back vibe. It’s one of the best beginner ski resorts in Colorado, but also offers no shortage of expert terrain.
We love that the magic carpet and the beginner lift are right next to the Pali chairlift which accesses the most extreme terrain on the mountain. This makes it a perfect place for families who are teaching their kids to ski, but want to quickly and easily sneak away for a run or two and get directly to the best terrain possible.
This no-frills skiing area is ideal for those who want to experience the rugged side of Colorado’s ski scene. Even though Arapahoe Basin doesn’t have a lot of beginner runs, it is a reasonable place for novices. There are also a few small terrain parks and programs run by the ski school, which include lessons and avalanche courses to prepare riders for the backcountry. Private and group lessons are available here to help you learn to ski better.
Consider staying at this Newly Remodeled; Quiet Location; Spacious Deck
7. Sugarloaf, Maine
Surrounded by Maine´s Western Mountains, Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley has stunning views and over 642 acres of skiable terrain, including 139 fantastic trails for all levels of difficulty.
With three terrain parks designed for different ability levels, you’ll have a great time whether you’re an experienced skier or you’re trying out your skills for the first time. An added bonus are the spectacular views you’ll get. On clear days, you might get to see views of Vermont, New Hampshire, Mount Katahdin, and Canada, all from the same place!
Consider staying at Snowbrook ski in/out
8. Steamboat, CO
Located In Northern Colorado, this high country ski resort has easy access, gentle slopes, and an amazing ski school that beginners love.
With three lifts to take newbies to beginner terrain, first-timers will feel right at home. Steamboat has 550 on-site instructors that offer programs for children and adults. The little ones enjoy learning at the magic carpets and flat, gentle slopes, while adults can learn to control their speed and turns at Swinger and YooHoo, kids will love skiing down Stampede and Lil Rodeo. Splendid views and a good ole’ fashioned cowboy vibe are added attractions.
Consider staying at Club Wyndham Steamboat Springs
9. Brighton, UT
Brighton was the first ski resort in Utah ski and one of the oldest in America. In fact, it’s where I learned to ski as a kid. Brighton allows kids 6 and under to ski free and regularly has discount nights throughout the year that make learning to ski in Utah very affordable.
With many terrain parks for all abilities and difficulty levels, Brighton has a big appeal with freeskiers and snowboarders alike. Brighton doesn’t have many of the fancy trimmings other resorts have, but they sure know their business and the atmosphere is amazingly family-friendly.
Consider staying at The Snowpine Lodge
10. Mammoth Mountain, CA
As the name suggests, Mammoth Ski Resort has a very large terrain with over 3,500 acres of skiing and snowboarding in east California, close to the world-famous Yosemite National Park.
As one of the biggest ski resorts in California, Mammoth offers no less than 25 lifts to get you up the mountain, giving you the chance to choose between gondolas, 6-pack chair lifts, and high-speed quads. Beginners are catered to with over a fourth of the varied terrain.
Consider staying at The Westin Monache Resort
11. Schweitzer, ID
Ranked as “the best kept secret in North America”, Schweitzer Ski Resort is an emerging resort that is still uncrowded compared to other resorts in Idaho, while having all the trims of a growing enterprising looking to grow in the industry.
The varied terrain is not especially geared for beginners, but they do have their designated area and beginner lift tickets are very inexpensive.
Consider staying at this Beautiful getaway for two near the Schweitzer Mountain Resort
12. Angel Fire, NM
Located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico, Angel Fire Ski Resort is a popular ski and snowboard destination for locals and visitors alike, and a great place for beginners to try out their skills on the snow.
Considered very beginner-friendly, it offers 21% of its 560 acres as easy trails. Angel Fire has a great on-site village with a nice array of cozy apres ski, dining, and lodging options, making it a great place to soak up the whole skiing scene and experience the New Mexico mountain vibe.
Consider staying at Mtn-View Angel Fire Condo
13. Sunday River, Maine
The ski resort of Sunday River in Maine is perfect for beginners as it features several moving carpets and practice slopes at the South Ridge base station.
Unlike other ski areas and resorts, beginners at Sunday River can ski throughout the entire resort and overall eight peaks on easy slopes marked as green.
They take great pride in their coaching staff who are chosen and trained to make your first time on the slopes an unforgettable experience. The special section with tips for newbies makes beginners feel right at home before even getting there!
Consider staying at this Ski-in/out 2-story condo
14. Bolton Valley, VT
Sitting high in the Green Mountains of Vermont, Bolton Valley is an alpine village winterland surrounded by over 5,000 acres and jaw-dropping views.
Three mountain zones offer varied terrain for all levels of expertise, from beginner to advanced. Bolton features numerous recreational opportunities for everyone, which makes it a wonderful option if what you’re after is to take the family to the slopes for the first time but are on the lookout for extra fun after a day on the mountain.
The Bolton Valley Ski and Snowboard School offers lessons for kids and adults of all levels, while the village offers everything you’ll need, including ski-in lodging, restaurants, bars, deli stores, and a Sports Center with jacuzzi, heated pool, and sauna.
Consider staying at Best Western Plus Waterbury
15. Liberty Mountain, PA
Liberty Mountain Resort is located an hour away from both Washington and Baltimore.
With four terrain parks designed for different levels, they are incredibly beginner and family-friendly. 33% of their terrain is designated for beginners, with special Family Fun Zones available.
While there are lessons for beginners of all ages, they also have a Children’s Learning Center that offers a variety of programs for the little ones and access to the Snow Cat Alley, a special area with a magic moving carpet where they can learn in a fun and safe environment.
Consider staying at The Lodges at Gettysburg
16. Nordic Valley, Utah
If you’re looking for a really budget resort to learn to ski at, Nordic Valley Utah is the place to go, Known by locals as the best budget ski resort in Utah, its recent expansions make it a great ski area for all abilities. Best of all, kids 12 and under ski free, and when you purchase your lift tickets in advance online, lift ticket prices are as low as $10 per day.
Nordic Valley has an easy magic carpet to start the day on and the beginner lifts are adjacent to the magic carpet and lodge making first day ski logistics even easier.
Consider staying at this Moose Hollow Condo
17. The Summit at Snowqualmie, Washington
If you’re looking to learn to ski in Washington, Snowqualmie is a fantastic ski resort for beginners. It’s easy access from Seattle makes it a great option for those in the city.
For the best deals, look into their evening learn to ski lesson programs which often offer multiweek lesson options and have other great deals on affordable beginners lift tickets.
Consider staying at Snoqualmie Pass Apartment