A long ski season, high mountains and excellent snowfall contribute to Colorado's popularity as a ski destination. The state's natural resources are tempting to advanced skiers and its human resources make it an excellent place for novices to learn the sport. In Colorado, snow sports are an essential part of the lifestyle. Skiers come from all parts of the globe to teach at Colorado resorts. When they arrive, they go through an extensive training program, which lasts throughout the season. Most Colorado resorts have superb ski schools, but some have terrain and special programs that are more beginner-friendly.
Beaver Creek has a base elevation of 8,100 feet. This is about 1,000 feet lower than the average Colorado resort, which translates into less time spent acclimating to the altitude. Like all ski areas owned by Vail Resorts, Beaver Creek has extensive grooming. The corduroy snow makes it easy to learn the sport. With 19 percent of the terrain rated green, beginners have many options. The trails that run off the Hay Meadow and Highlands lifts are excellent for beginners. There's even advanced-beginner terrain at the summit. Ride the Centennial Express. Turn left, and you'll see the Cinch Trail, which is a long, winding gentle run.
Beaver Creek Resort
40 Village Road
Avon, Colorado 81620
Beginner's Magic Program at the Ski Schools of Aspen
A Beginner's Magic program takes place at either Snowmass or Buttermilk, two of the mountains that make up the area known as Aspen. The program is designed to teach new skiers to go directly to parallel skiing, instead of spending months practicing the "wedge" position. In 2009, the three-day package that included lift, lessons and a voucher for equipment rental cost a quite reasonable $352. The program has its own ski rental shops in the base villages of Aspen and Snowmass. Instructors arrive one hour before class to help students with the fitting process. Unlike most ski school programs, which use Level 1 instructors to teach novices, Beginner's Magic uses some of its best ski pros for the program.
P.O. Box 1248
Aspen, Colorado 81612
Loveland's Three-Class Pass
If you live in Colorado, or plan to spend a good deal of time here, you may want to consider Loveland's three-class pass program. If you sign up for three beginner ski or ride lift lesson and equipment rental packages, you will receive a free season pass after your third lesson. Loveland has a separate learning area known as Loveland Valley. Some people call it an "old school" resort, because it is lacking in mountain lodging and fancy restaurants. However, what it lacks in amenities it makes up for in friendly, helpful staff, free parking near the lifts and an authentic, non-commercial atmosphere. It often opens as early as October, and can close as late as June. Loveland is located on the side of the Eisenhower Tunnel that is closer to Denver, helping you avoid the traffic hassles of getting to the Summit County Resorts on the other side of the tunnel.
P.O. Box 899
Georgetown, Colorado 80444
Article Written By Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.