Beginner Ski Dates & Prices

Beginner Ski Holidays & Beginner Snowboard Holidays

To be looking at this page you must have at least a slight interest to strap yourself to a plank(s) and slide down a frozen hill?

Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or are looking to experience the infamous Apres Ski that the Alpine resorts pride themselves with, a winter ski or snowboarding holiday is definitely a unique one. Not really renowned for being relaxing and chances are that you will have more bruises by the end of the week than you would have achieved on a night out since your student days, but it is fun and you will laugh. Most probably at someone else’s expense. As you gain more control of your speed and your technique improves, the steeper routes will seem possible and before you know it, the whole mountainside can be explored and you will finally start to understand why people become addicted to spending a fair amount of their hard earned cash on a holiday to just dress up like a munchkin man.

Fancy a week learning this crazy sport?

Action Outdoors offers beginner instruction at all of its resorts. Therefore it is up to you to decide what is more important to you - the centre comfort, the night life, the distance to the slopes etc. Click on the following links below to see exactly where we go:

Why book with Action Outdoors?

We're the UK partner for the French UCPA, which offers a different ski holiday experience to what you will find anywhere else. The whole set up is designed to help you, as a beginner, learn to ski or snowboard. Everything is handled in house – the ski shop, the ski school, there are even evening lectures (not compulsory but very interesting), so that by the end of the week, you are not only skiing well but talking the talk too!

If you are travelling with friends that have skied before then the UCPA concept still works brilliantly as it enables them to take a ski course for their own ability level without having to worry about you. Even those lucky individuals that have grown up on ski’s can venture off piste with a local guide. But most importantly, you will still have plenty of  free time to ski together. UCPA provide ski school for beginners on Sunday afternoon so your friends don’t even need to feel like they have to teach you the basics and can instead remember what to do themselves.

All of our ski resorts offer good locations to learn to ski. Some have specific beginner areas just metres from the centre but all of the UCPA centres run courses specifically for beginners. If it is not specified as a beginners ski course, then the full time and half time instruction will state that it is for all ability levels.

We highly recommend  our RESORT ADVISOR questionnaire to help you decide on where to go but in summary:

Argentiere - travel to slopes by bus but fantastic designated beginner ski area at La Tour.

Chamonix - travel to slopes by bus but designated beginner ski area at Savoy and Planards.

Flaine - pedestrian lift to take you to the designated beginners ski area.

La Plagne - beginners area meters from the front door.

Les Arcs - various beginners areas in the surrounding area. Bus required.

Les Contamines - bus required to lift station but designated beginners ski area at the top of the walk in bubble lift.

Les Deux Alpes - beginners ski areas 150m from the centre.

Serre Chevalier - beginners ski area out of the front door.

Tignes - beginners ski area 200m from the centre.

Val d'Isere - beginners area 400m from the centre.

Val Thorens - bus required to beginners ski area for first day.

If you would rather discuss which resort to go to in person or have some questions about booking a ski holiday, then please feel free to call the team - 0203 328 5443

What do I need to pack?

We have written a comprehensive packing list but as long as you own a waterproof jacket and trousers plus are willing to buy some thermal tops and bottoms, a fleece, some gloves and sunglasses, you will be fine! But ask around, you will be amazed at how many people have ski equipment hidden away in their closets. Ebay, TK Max and the supermarkets all offer ski clothes too. If you do buy, buy so that you can wear it in the UK high street too, then it is worth spending money.

Should I take lessons beforehand?

If there is a local dry slope / indoor slope near where you live, then we would recommend that you learn the basics here so that you can progress much quicker when on holiday. Although not half as exciting, it seems a long way to travel to the Alps to spend the first morning learning how to stand up. But if time or money doesn’t allow, it really doesn’t matter, don’t stress.

Do I need specific ski insurance?

You must take out an insurance policy and we recommend doing it as soon as you pay your deposit. It is just one of those things. Ski accidents have a tendency to cost and the difference to normal holiday insurance is the costs involved with rescue from the mountain. Also, by taking out insurance it means that if you lose a ski or your bag doesn't show up at the airport, or that your elderly grandmother passes away prior to you travelling and you miss the holiday for her funeral, you are covered and should get some money back!

When is the best time to go skiing?

Obviously your work is the biggest constraint here but if you can travel anytime between December and April you will notice that the prices reflect when is popular and when is not. The cheaper weeks do mean that the pistes will be emptier (less targets to hit) though the nightlife won’t be quite as lively. Take the next statements with a pinch of salt but there tends to be lots of snowfall December and January meaning fresh powder snow (soft and fluffy) but often grey and cold days, February offers blue skies but the weather is often super cold. March is a bit of a gamble - the snow can be a bit icy meaning harder to slow down but can also have fresh snow and April offers longer warmer days, but you may find that the snow cover isn’t so thick and may be slushy in the afternoon. Not really an issue as a beginner or an intermediate skier. Those more advanced should look at ski touring (the best sport ever we think!). However, we have had some of our best ski days in May – you can just never tell!

What does a typical day involve?

08:00 Breakfast
08:45 Put ski’s on
09:00 Lesson begins
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Next lesson begins
15:00 Meet up with friends
16:30 Apres Ski – down to the bar
19:00 Dinner
21:00 Head out to town / sleep


As tempting as it might be to teach yourself to ski or request the assistance of friends who are ‘experienced’ skiers or boarders, we do not recommend it! You are on holiday, is it really worth spending money on relationship counselling or hospital bills afterwards? The quickest way to find your feet, gain control and confidence so that your friends are keen to spend their afternoons with you is that you sign up to beginner ski or snowboard classes. Expect learning to take 3 days before you really start to enjoy it. 

The decision to learn to ski or learn to snowboard is very much down to you. As a beginner snowboarder, you will find it harder to progress initially and that your bottom takes some hard hits but once over this, you will find that you can improve super quickly. Beginner skiers tend to learn to control their speed faster and with less falls but then will reach a stage where their bottom sticks out and they weave back and forth across the piste avoiding going downhill until they workout the carving manoeuvre (this is where a lot of people get stuck but don’t feel the need for more ski instruction) or ski directly downhill under the belief that they are in control. Either way, try and help us convince them that the improver ski courses will make them look more like a freeride professional than the British holiday maker that they currently are!

Equipment hire

Rather than get carried away with spending even more money, save your pennies and hire ski’s, poles / snowboard and boots (all of our holidays comes with equipment included). You will find that you may want to change your boot size as you gain more confidence and want to do them up tighter. That said, when you put your ski boots on for the first time and stand upright, your toes should touch the end. Then if you bend your knees forcing your shins into the front of the boot (try and break the Velcro of the top band – the power band) then this is your ski position and your heels will move to the back of the boot. The buckles should be tight around the ankle but you can undo them with 2 fingers, the Velcro done up tight and the boot should feel comfy. Snowboard boots are like slippers much to the frustration of the skier!

Wearing a helmet is completely your decision. More and more people are choosing to and even if you trust yourself skiing, it is the other people that ski into you that hurts especially when poles and ski’s are involved. We highly recommend hiring / buying one…

Lift pass

As a beginner it may take a few days to progress onto the ski lifts. However, the lift pass is also a voucher to say that you have made a contribution for the piste bashers and staff (big ploughs that smooth the ski routes / pistes) to enable you to use them. The pistes are designated various colours to show their steepness. Expect to learn on green and blue pistes first as these are flatter. Do not see it as a challenge to ski red or black pistes as every resort has different standard and a black piste in one resort can be markedly different to a black piste in another. It is more important that you ski in control than challenge yourself, especially if you plan to ski everyday without a visit to the local hospital. The UCPA instructors will push you and take you down pistes that you don’t like, but they know what they are doing and how to help you if you freeze. Working in the industry, we hear on a daily basis how friends scared each other so much so that they have never wanted to put on a pair of skis ever again. Remember it is a holiday not a personal challenge!

Using lifts is also very daunting, whether a beginner snowboard or beginner skier. There are various types and all seem to have their own beginner scare stories especially the dreaded button lift. But it is so much easier than walking up hill so it is worth persisting, we promise!

If you don't have a clue what to do or where to go? Try our

Resort Guide Chamonix Argentiere Flaine Val Thorens La Plagne Les Arcs Tignes Val D'isere Deux Alpes Serre Chevalier


UCPA was originally set up to provide affordable adventure holiday packages for people aged 18 to ​45.

Today the UCPA has a wide variety of excellent value ski & snowboard packages for people of all ages.