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Resorts that are particularly good for beginners - Page 2

post #31 of 46
In tahoe I would say the top 3 beginner resorts have to be

1- Boreal (very easy terrain and the "bunny slope" is off to the side, does get busy at times but it is open 12hrs/day..)
2- Seirra (easy terrain but they do have some issue of run out into the bunny slopes and tends to get busy)
3- Alpine (in my personal oppinion I think the staff and the others who ride there are supportive and tend to give beginners their room..but there isnt too much beginner terrain and if you try to go on too advanced of runs and you stall others they tend to get overly-irritated than other places)

my .02 cents

**oh but i almost forgot about Sky Tavern.. its a sole "resort" for beginners and you buy a lesson to be able to ride there and they advance you through their ranks by passing their little tests. my cousin spent a season there and improved A LOT from the previous season.. but the disadvantage is there is no real challanging terrain to advance to..
post #32 of 46
Around Tahoe:

-Squaw is great for children, because they get such cheap lift tickets. Not so cheap for adults. Big beginner area at the top of the tram.
-Donner Ski Ranch--cheap as all getout, and a great old school atmosphere. Much better than dodging the mobs of snowboarders at Boreal.
-Mt. Rose has a pretty good-sized beginner area, largely separated from other traffic. Can get crowded on weekends, though.
-Sugar Bowl--not the best for first-timers, but lots of terrain for advanced beginners.
-Kirkwood--agreed.

The beginner terrain at Heavenly is too spread out, includes too many narrow trails, and in part is too subject to heavy traffic, IMHO. Some of the other places people have mentioned can be too crowded on the beginner slopes.
post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstocksez View Post
Bump this for a new twist.

Are there resorts that are particularly good at teaching snowboarding to beginners (and, perhaps, not as good at teaching skiing) or vice versa. My absolute novice wife is on the fence as to which one she wants to try. I'm interested in particular in the Tahoe area, since that's where we'll be.
As a general comment on the choice: snowboarding is harder for the first day or two--you fall a lot, both faceplanting and hitting your tailbone hard (it's just harder to balance & recover with your feet attached to one plank than it is on skis). BUT (and a very big but)--if you get past that it's MUCH easier to start having fun on a lot of parts of the mountain much sooner on a snowboard. Cat tracks are tricky, but blue terrain should be available in a few days (in fact a pretty gentle wide blue is easier for a snowboarder than a very flat green cat track). I found I could do some blacks on day 3 on a board (granted I was already a skier). Speed control (and thus fear) are less of a problem on the board.
post #34 of 46
Buttermilk, CO

Its almost empty, pretty hard to get lost on, has TONS of beginer and intermediate runs, but the best thing about it (IMO) is that the difficulty of the runs is perfectly divided between areas on the mountain.

First timers can go to west buttermilk and ski mellow, scenic, serene greens to their hearts content. Once they get a little better, go to main buttermilk, ski greens and easier blues. If they think they might be ready for one of the other mountains, but aren't sure, they can go to Tiehack to ski some very easy long black groomers.
post #35 of 46

Beginner AREAS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstocksez View Post
Especially useful thread for me, since my wife is going to try skiing for the first time this year.

Any opinions on Diamond Peak? They have a very cheap learn to ski week sometime in January that I was thinking of having my wife try out. Also, they have a separate beginner area that seems like it may be good for an absolute novice. (I tried to get my 3 year old son on that slope last year, but he'd developed a resistance to skiing after two short days at Northstar, the second of which included a sort of bad fall. We'll try again this year though; he's already said he wants to go and he gets excited when I play a ski instruction DVD, so ... we'll see.)

How about the smaller areas, like Tahoe Donner or Soda Springs? Those places seem like they may be good for a beginner, but, given their small size, I wonder whether the instruction is as good as you'd find elsewhere around Tahoe.

Woodstocksez, Diamond Peak has the easiet most nonthreatening beginner area in Tahoe. Good for lst day but thats about it. Homewood (taught there) has a good beginner area on bottom but (very short and no chair lift). If you want to take a chairlift your lst day you are out of luck because there is no Easy was down from the top for a lst timer. I agree with Ski Spirit Northstar has great terrain for beginners but is very crowded with many runs funnelling into the beginner run s which makes for some real problems if you are the beginner. Sugar Bowl has a good separate lst timer area with a magic carpet and Alpine Meadows has a good beginner area. Just my opinions. Have a great year. Pete
post #36 of 46
Thread Starter 
I haven't been to the smaller resorts. It sounds like they may have some major advantages for beginner skiers (lift ticket cost, lesson cost, etc.). Of the large resorts at Tahoe that I have been to, here is my list of best resorts for beginners:

1) Kirkwood - The easiest bunny slope of all resorts except for perhaps Sugar Bowl. Completely isolated from runs used by more experienced skiers. Good transitions, alternate routes off of runs at beginner area (Timber Creek) offer different opportunities for things to work on. The blue runs next to the bunny slope have a lot of variation/opportunites for development (including a couple of gullies and a small half pipe).

Above all for beginners, Kirkwood has a phenomenal deal offerring a season pass and group lessons for the season as well as rental equipment for a low amount of money (approx. $200??) after taking a first time lesson.

2) Squaw would be my next recommendation for beginners. Large area devoted to beginners, very good ski school.

3) Sierra at Tahoe - lots of beginner terrain including a green run going from the top to the bottom....can get crowded but runs are wide.

4) Sugar Bowl's beginner area is completely isolated from the other runs.

5) Northstar - Good terrain for beginners but unbelievably crowded especially on weekends and designated as a top resort for snowboarders...so lots of them funneling into central runs...possibility for collisions certainly higher because of crowds..

6) Heavenly -- Not as many beginner runs as other resorts (IMO); can be very crowded even on weekdays.
Group lessons longer than most other schools (2 3/4 hrs) and more costly.

7) Alpine - Great atmosphere; down to earth, but not that much area for beginners and more challenging than other resorts. More demanding transitions from other resorts. Possibly the worst lunch lines of any resort if you decide, in particular, to have a salad....

That's my personal ranking for beginners. As you can tell, I think the deal offerred by Kirkwood is phenomenal
for beginners! Best of luck!!
post #37 of 46
I was thinking about a season pass at Monarch to learn on, anyone who skis here think this is a good place to learn? Otherwise I could head up to Breckenridge, but its a little more expensive and further drive.
post #38 of 46
Look into "SKI COOPER" its between Monarch and Breckenridge (Leadville).
I have taken several of my grandchildren there to learn.
lift tickets were around $31 in town last season
post #39 of 46
I would say you might look at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado. This is a very nice place that is not as crowded like some of the others. They have different areas for different types of skiers. The green run side is usually not that crowded even when there is a large crowd at the resort itserlf.

Too many places I find skiers like to hotdog on the green slopes and congregate there. Not at Copper mountain I found. Also, just a warnign but, green at Copper does not neccessarily mean easy !!! If you are from out East like me you might look at some of the green slopes and go 'Wow..that would be a blue or maybe a black at Seven Springs' or Holiday Valley'.

Most of the green slopes are pretty easy though and not real steep but watch out where you go as you could end up in over your head if you go too far off on the catwalks.

I also rode some of the blue runs and they are fun as long as you stick more towards the center area...some of the blue runs advertised there are seriously steep and covered with moguls!
post #40 of 46
if my memory serves me correctly Jackson Hole is more or less broken up into two mountains, the more beginner/intemediate terrain being to looker's right as you enter the resort and the advanced stuff being to lookers left. Bob Peters can chime in with more on this.

i just remember when i went there two seasons ago i hitched a ride from one of the Adaptive Ski School Instructors who said that JH was known for their program as they had an area set aside for teaching that was removed from the hustle and bustle of the hardcore riders.
post #41 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
if my memory serves me correctly Jackson Hole is more or less broken up into two mountains, the more beginner/intemediate terrain being to looker's right as you enter the resort and the advanced stuff being to lookers left. Bob Peters can chime in with more on this.

i just remember when i went there two seasons ago i hitched a ride from one of the Adaptive Ski School Instructors who said that JH was known for their program as they had an area set aside for teaching that was removed from the hustle and bustle of the hardcore riders.
You're right about most of the easier terrain being to the right as you're looking up at the Jackson Hole mountain resort.

In the interest of full disclosure, however...

One thing I'll say about our area is that we do have somewhat limited LOWER-intermediate terrain. We have quite a bit of absolutely outstanding first-day-beginner terrain (I would put ours up against any resort anywhere) and lots of intermediate-and-up terrain, but there's a bit of a gap for someone who's not yet comfortable with using turns (or braking) to slow down. We *have* that kind of terrain, but it's a little spread out and there's not all that much of it.

Many people seem to progress quickly enough that they move right through that terrain gap, but I have run into people who just aren't that comfortable with the somewhat-healthy jump in steepness that's required to move from our outright beginner runs to our intermediate runs.
post #42 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
In BC Canada:

1: Sun Peaks
2: Silver Star
3: Big White
4: Panarama

All have lots of very very long, flat easy runs.....
Of these four, I have only skied Silver Star and Big White. I would agree that they are great resorts for beginners and lower intermediates.
post #43 of 46
On the Tahoe area....Speaking as a recent beginner, I spent the 04-05 and 05'06 seasons mostly at Boreal, and after getting creamed by a boarder from the back, I couldn't take the heavy and often out of control boarder (and to some extent, skier) traffic any more and decided to not go back there. I had to spend all my time looking back to check for out of control boarders and skiers. It's truly amazing how many people will barrel down a hill at top speed, yet not have the skills yet to turn or stop adequately. Boreal is really strongly populated by people who probably only ski a couple of times per season and who never progress beyond a low and dangerous level of inexpertise. Boreal's lower slopes are good for learning, but just too darn crowded and the more advanced runs funnel right into the beginning runs so you have people tearing down at top speed among the beginners who are weaving back and forth. Boreal now strongly caters to snowboarders, especially teen boarders, and they are pretty wild and fast. We skied mostly mid week, which during non-holiday times was fairly uncrowded, but weekends and holiday periods were hopeless in my opinion. If you can ski mid-week at the right times, though, Boreal isn't terrible in terms of their terrain and they have a program (free) where you sign up, then after buying two tickets you get the 3rd time free. So the cost is fairly low compared to other resorts.

Mid last year we tested out Squaw and absolutely loved it. It was never horrendously crowded, we rarely spent more than a couple of minutes in lift lines. There are lots of wide open slopes so there is less congestion, in general the skiers dominate over boarders and in most areas people are good enough to avoid slower skiers. I felt a lot safer there and was able to concentrate on my skiing rather than avoidance of a crash. My skiing improved 1000% because of my time at Squaw, and we loved it so much we bought a mid-week season pass for the upcoming year.

Squaw's passes are fairly expensive, but there are other options to save a bit of money....a pass in which after you've bought 4 passes you get the 5th time free. This lowers the overal cost spread over 4 ski trips. You can also get a Snowbomb card for around $30 which takes $10 off each regular ticket all season long ($10 off at Squaw, and varying amounts off at other Tahoe resorts) and if you buy the card at Costco, you additionally get one full-day ticket to your choice of several resorts, including Sugar Bowl, Homewood and several others. I'm not sure if you get this same deal when you buy the card online...perhaps you do.

Squaw has a total beginner area for rank beginners at the bottom of the hill where the lifts all start, but at the top at High Camp are extensive fabulous beginner to low intermediate runs, most of them very wide and open. Lessons are a great value...$49 last year for a TWO-hour lesson and when I did the group lessons there were never more than 3 in the class. (There theoretically could be more, but in my experience classes always looked small no matter what the level.) Can't complain about that, and the instructors were pretty good. They have a Squaw kids program for young kids, but don't know the details on that.

I skied Sugar Bowl once last year (fairly early on when I was still more tentative about my skiing) and found the main beginner run way too flat and easy, and the next more difficult run too hard and too full of speed demons, so once again I was nervous about getting crashed into.

Alpine didn't seem great to me as a low level skier, either. They had one easy run that was way too short, crowded, and it quickly got boring since it was so short. The next more difficult run was too hard for me at the time, and was also long (tiring for a weak skier). Plus, towards the end of the season they closed the lower level runs and only the more advanced runs are open.

I've heard Homewood is good for beginners, also Tahoe Donner. These two resorts seem to have shorter seasons than some of the others.
post #44 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMCM View Post
On the Tahoe area....Speaking as a recent beginner, I spent the 04-05 and 05'06 seasons mostly at Boreal, and after getting creamed by a boarder from the back, I couldn't take the heavy and often out of control boarder (and to some extent, skier) traffic any more and decided to not go back there. I had to spend all my time looking back to check for out of control boarders and skiers. It's truly amazing how many people will barrel down a hill at top speed, yet not have the skills yet to turn or stop adequately. Boreal is really strongly populated by people who probably only ski a couple of times per season and who never progress beyond a low and dangerous level of inexpertise. Boreal's lower slopes are good for learning, but just too darn crowded and the more advanced runs funnel right into the beginning runs so you have people tearing down at top speed among the beginners who are weaving back and forth. Boreal now strongly caters to snowboarders, especially teen boarders, and they are pretty wild and fast. We skied mostly mid week, which during non-holiday times was fairly uncrowded, but weekends and holiday periods were hopeless in my opinion. If you can ski mid-week at the right times, though, Boreal isn't terrible in terms of their terrain and they have a program (free) where you sign up, then after buying two tickets you get the 3rd time free. So the cost is fairly low compared to other resorts.

Mid last year we tested out Squaw and absolutely loved it. It was never horrendously crowded, we rarely spent more than a couple of minutes in lift lines. There are lots of wide open slopes so there is less congestion, in general the skiers dominate over boarders and in most areas people are good enough to avoid slower skiers. I felt a lot safer there and was able to concentrate on my skiing rather than avoidance of a crash. My skiing improved 1000% because of my time at Squaw, and we loved it so much we bought a mid-week season pass for the upcoming year.

Squaw's passes are fairly expensive, but there are other options to save a bit of money....a pass in which after you've bought 4 passes you get the 5th time free. This lowers the overal cost spread over 4 ski trips. You can also get a Snowbomb card for around $30 which takes $10 off each regular ticket all season long ($10 off at Squaw, and varying amounts off at other Tahoe resorts) and if you buy the card at Costco, you additionally get one full-day ticket to your choice of several resorts, including Sugar Bowl, Homewood and several others. I'm not sure if you get this same deal when you buy the card online...perhaps you do.

Squaw has a total beginner area for rank beginners at the bottom of the hill where the lifts all start, but at the top at High Camp are extensive fabulous beginner to low intermediate runs, most of them very wide and open. Lessons are a great value...$49 last year for a TWO-hour lesson and when I did the group lessons there were never more than 3 in the class. (There theoretically could be more, but in my experience classes always looked small no matter what the level.) Can't complain about that, and the instructors were pretty good. They have a Squaw kids program for young kids, but don't know the details on that.

I skied Sugar Bowl once last year (fairly early on when I was still more tentative about my skiing) and found the main beginner run way too flat and easy, and the next more difficult run too hard and too full of speed demons, so once again I was nervous about getting crashed into.

Alpine didn't seem great to me as a low level skier, either. They had one easy run that was way too short, crowded, and it quickly got boring since it was so short. The next more difficult run was too hard for me at the time, and was also long (tiring for a weak skier). Plus, towards the end of the season they closed the lower level runs and only the more advanced runs are open.

I've heard Homewood is good for beginners, also Tahoe Donner. These two resorts seem to have shorter seasons than some of the others.

Tha sounds like a fun place CM. I have never been skiing in CA. I am relatively new to modern skiing as well. I know exactly what you mean about fear of being run into. I have been slid into a couple times, nothing major.

This is why I like Copper Mountain Ski Resort in CO. Everything is segregated by skill level and patrolled pretty well. I havent been to too many other places in the West. I was going to ski at Keystone once but when we drove up there was a very large crowd and we went back to Copper down the road on the highway.

I know what you mean about the steeper runs. I stay off the steeper stuff, not just because I am too afraid of the runs but I suppose I am just as annoying to these skiers who want to go fast as they are too us when they ride on the easy hills at high speed. I would be an easy target for a collision I think. Someone skiing a zillion miles an hour doesnt belong on a green run and someone like me going 10-20 mph doesn belong on a steep black run. Thats pretty much how I look at it. I will go on green and some blue runs but no blacks for me.

I also noticed how the ratings differ from one resort to the next in terms of difficulty. At Copper mountain most Blue runs and some green runs are plenty steep - nothing like green or blues at Holiday Valley or Seven Springs in the East here! My first reacton on some trails was 'You call this a green run? That would easily be a black or difficult blue at Seven Springs !'
post #45 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
You're right about most of the easier terrain being to the right as you're looking up at the Jackson Hole mountain resort.

In the interest of full disclosure, however...

One thing I'll say about our area is that we do have somewhat limited LOWER-intermediate terrain. We have quite a bit of absolutely outstanding first-day-beginner terrain (I would put ours up against any resort anywhere) and lots of intermediate-and-up terrain, but there's a bit of a gap for someone who's not yet comfortable with using turns (or braking) to slow down. We *have* that kind of terrain, but it's a little spread out and there's not all that much of it.

Many people seem to progress quickly enough that they move right through that terrain gap, but I have run into people who just aren't that comfortable with the somewhat-healthy jump in steepness that's required to move from our outright beginner runs to our intermediate runs.
My mother liked AV. If she could ski it, any intermediate could ski it. Besides, your ski school must be stocked with pros that can easily sense when the skier is ready to make that jump.
post #46 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
Winter Park has a very large beginner area with its own lift system and it is not at the bottom of the mountain, so you really get the mountain experience. Great ski school too.
I have to admit, WP's beginner area was the most impressive I've seen to date at a resort. Instead of being in a bowl area, learners got to ride a slow lift system with wide open "trails" that actually had scenery while they meandered through the trees. I actually took a few runs through there...it was enjoyable for even a seasoned skier. Beginners can feel like they are skiing on the mountain, not in a beginners bowl area.

I give WP for that.
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