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Skiing in Colorado for Beginners

  • Filip 

Colorado is famous for its amazing ski resorts and picturesque mountains. There are 32 listed resorts in the state, and many of them offer comprehensive lessons for anyone who is new to skiing or who would like to get a refresher course. Each resort is unique, and if you know that you will need lessons, then it is best to reach out before traveling to ensure that they can accommodate you and give you information on what to bring with you.

Because there are so many Colorado locations, you can attend one of these more accessible mountains to learn. Once you build your skills a bit more, you can jump over to more complicated intermediate places. The entire state is only an eight hour drive across, which means that a day trip is all you would need to reach any resort in the nearby mountains.

From 2020 and forward, there will be changes to how things operate, not only beginner lessons but entire resorts. Since this is uncharted territory, there is no knowing what safety precautions any given location in Colorado will be implementing, so you will want to reach out ahead of time to a customer support agent at your preferred resort for more information.

What Should You Expect?

Beginner lessons are designed for you to learn the practical steps to skiing on the resort of your choice. This involves understanding the layout, properly using the equipment, and tips for staying safe and healthy on the mountain.

Most first-time lessons involve learning the basics of using your equipment correctly and things like turning, slowing, and stopping. Most of the time, you will be taught for half the day and then practice on the beginner slopes for the rest of the day, but some locations have the option of one-on-one or group training for the entire day, during which you will be guided down the hill by experienced instructors.

What Locations Offer Beginner Classes

The locations listed below offer classes for all levels of beginners, and they were chosen specifically because their mountain terrains are ideal for anyone new or returning to skiing after a significant break. These are resorts that will provide the best chance for you to learn quickly. Some locations have lessons booked up at the start of the season, so you might want to call ahead to ensure that they can accommodate walk-in beginners. You can also sometimes enroll in classes online through websites, which makes the check-in process faster.

Beaver Creek Ski Resort

This location does not offer day-of lessons, so you must pre-order a pass before arrival. They also will not be providing childcare. You will need to have someone willing to watch your child if you have come skiing with the whole family. The Beaver Creek Ski School has season-long options, so you can choose to get taught for the entire year while learning the ins and outs of alpine skiing.


Opening Day: November 25th, 2020

Closing Day: April 4th, 2021

Location: Rocky Mountains


  • Child
  • Teen
  • Adult
  • Private

Buttermilk Ski Area

This is a premier destination for skiing pros, but it also has areas that make it ideal for learning. There are over 1,200 professional skiers able to give personalized, private lessons or group experiences. For the 2020 season, private lessons will become available for enrollment in mid-September. They offer one, and three-day first-time lesson packages that run from 10 am to 3 pm. It is recommended that you arrive for classes at 9 am to get fitted for your beginner gear, which comes included in the Ski School price.


Opening Day: December 18th, 2020

Closing Day: April 4th, 2021

Resort Hours: weekdays 9:00 am to 3:30 pm

Location: Rocky Mountains


  • Private Lessons
  • Guided Experience
  • Adult Lessons
  • Adult Ski Clinics
  • Adult First Time Lessons
  • Child Lessons
  • Teen Lessons
  • Specialty Programs


This resort is located in the heart of the rocky mountains and has various types of classes focusing on the younger generation. They have much shorter lesson durations than most mountains and are ideal for someone who needs a quick refresher before hitting the slopes. They are suitable for first-time skiers because you can access every level of slope (e.g., green circle, blue square, black diamond) at the same resort.


Opening Day: November 30th, 2019

Closing Day: April 19th, 2020

Resort Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Location: Rocky Mountains


  • First Time Group Lesson (2 or 4-hour options)
  • Adult 2 Hour Lesson
  • Adult Private Lesson
  • Child Group Lesson
  • Child Private Lesson
  • Child Group Sunday Program
  • Child Multi-Week Group Program

Loveland Ski Area

This mountain is located on the Continental Divide and has a whole host of lesson options available, including 3-day passes. Pre-enrolling is encouraged. Some aspects of their lessons, such as workshops, will be highly minimized or entirely missing during the 2020 ski year. To find out more about what is currently being offered, you can check their website for updates.


Opening Day: October 25th, 2020

Closing Day: Early May (TBA)

Resort Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (opens 8:30 am on weekends)

Location: Near Georgetown, CO


  • Adult Lesson (private, group, first time, “your level”)
  • Child Lesson (private, group, first time, “your level”)
  • Special Lessons and Clinics
  • Family Private Lessons

Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort

The majority of the Sunlight Mountain terrain is suited for beginner level skiers. This makes it an ideal destination for someone brand new to the sport. They have a wide variety of lesson lengths and types. You will want to reach out about availability to ensure that there will be openings for the classes or clinics you wish to attend.


Opening Day: December 11th, 2020

Closing Day: TBA (currently unlisted)

Location: Glenwood Springs, CO


  • Child Lesson
  • Young Adult Lesson
  • Multi-Week Young Adult Lessons
  • Adult Group Clinics
  • Adult Private Lesson
  • Adaptive Skier Lessons
  • Additional Weekly Programs

Steamboat Ski Resort

This resort features some of the country’s highest level ski trainers, which makes them an ideal spot to go for anyone wanting more out of the sports than weekend recreation. Enrolling ahead of arrival is recommended, and since 2020, there may be slight changes to the format and size of group clinics. You can find out more information on changes from their website.


Opening Day: November 21st, 2020

Closing Day: TBA (Not Currently Listed)

Location: Steamboat Springs, CO


  • Child Private Lesson
  • Child Group Lesson
  • Young Adult Private Lesson
  • Young Adult Group Lesson
  • Adult Private Lesson
  • Adult Group Clinics
  • Multi-Week Lessons

What Do Beginner Classes Entail

What to expect from the class will be determined by which kind of lessons you signed up for and what that specific location has to offer. Some instructors will walk you through the entire process step-by-step while others will give the bare bones lesson information needed to extrapolate while practicing. The resorts we listed above offer some of the gentlest slopes for beginners and top-rated teachers so that you will be in good hands.

Becoming Familiar With Your Gear

Before anything else, you will be introduced to the ski gear that you will be wearing. For safety reasons, you must understand how everything works. This is also an opportunity for you to get used to how the skis move with your body.

Basic Ski Instructions

Most of the things you will learn on the first day involve acquainting yourself with the physics of being balanced on skis while swooping down a mild slope. Stopping, starting, turning, and slowing down will be the main focus for beginner classes. Each lesson’s degree of detail will depend on the instructor, resort programs offered, and your comfort level.

How Much Do Beginner Classes Usually Cost

The cost of classes will depend on which lesson program you choose and the resort you are attending as some locations have highly skilled professionals to offer. They may come at a slightly higher price, especially if you intend to get private personalized lessons.

However, the average cost for a day is between $50 and $150. Locations that offer beginner gear as a part of the package will cost slightly more.

What You Should Wear

You will want to have thick, warm socks and layers that you can take off as needed if the temperature is not as cold as predicted. A ski jacket, pants, gloves, and hat are also recommended as they will be waterproof and insulated. Whatever you are wearing closest to your skin should be something that absorbs rather than retains moisture so that you do not have to deal with being sweaty under your layers.

For safety reasons, ski goggles and ski helmets should always be worn even when you are just walking around on flat ground. There is the potential of falling at any time, especially while you are still acclimating to skis, so it is essential to keep your head and eyes protected.

Buying Versus Renting

Some lessons programs provide beginner gear, and some do not. You will want to check before leaving for the resort. It can be cheaper to buy your own if you know that you will be using the equipment for the entire season; otherwise, for shorter trips, renting is probably more cost-effective.