Only two Colorado two ski areas — Aspen Mountain and Silverton Mountain — have absolutely no beginner terrain. Everyplace else has at least one gentle ultra-beginner slope and meandering green-circle trails for newly minted novices, one step up from beginners, can begin to explore the mountain. The best tactic for a newbie to graduate from being a “never-ever,” which is what skiers call someone who has never ever skied or snowboarded, is to sign up for a few lessons. It is important to to learn how to turn and stop, and an instructor can shortcut the learning process. Beginner slopes and a ski area’s easiest trails are marked with green circle signs. Little pods of beginner terrain with dedicated lifts, separated from faster-moving downhill traffic, help new skiers and riders practice their turns and become confident enough to tackle more challenging terrain.

(credit: CBS)

Copper Mountain

0184 Copper Circle, Suite A9
Copper Mountain, CO 80443
(866) 841-2481
Union Creek, Copper’s beguiling beginner area, gets a major upgrade for the 2011-12 season with a new higher-capacity, higher-speed chairlift replacing the venerable High Point double chair. It boasts its own attractive little base complex with a day lodge for food service and rentals, as well as child care and the children’s ski school — plus the bottom of the new lift just outside the door. The lift accesses a handful of long, languorous cruising runs that are gently and steadily pitched to encourage both skill-building and confidence-building.

Skiers at Eldora in March 2010 (credit: Jesse Sarles)

Eldora Mountain Resort

2861 Eldora Ski Road #140
Nederland, CO 80466
(303) 440-8700
Arrayed on the left side of the ski area (looking up from the base) just 21 miles west of Boulder is the beginner hill with a few lifts and trails. Tenderfoot is a short and ultra-gentle run with its own tow and most suited for small children. The generously wide Ho-Hum beginner slope served the Little Hawk double chairlift is enough and gently tilted. Another chairlift, this one the EZ triple chair accesses a handful of runs that are a little longer and a little steeper. After a couple of lessons, novices become intermediates and can begin comfortably skiing blue-square runs.

Skiers at Loveland Ski Area on Oct. 15, 2008. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)


Exit 216 Interstate 70
Georgetown, CO 80444
(303) 569-3203
Loveland is one ski area at the Continental Divide, right at the east entrance to the Eisenhower Tunnel. In fact, Loveland Basin is a vast expanse of white that arcs over the tunnel entrance, while Loveland Valley is a tame beginner slope just visible on the left side of the Interstate just before the tunnel. It has its own chairlift, day lodge and rental shop. Loveland’s economical Three Class Pass is good for three days of lifts, rentals and instruction.

(credit: Chuck Winters/Winter Park)

Winter Park

85 Parsenn Road
Winter Park, CO 80482
(970) 726-5514, (303) 892-0961
Sorensen Park, the beginner zone at the base of Winter Park, is the first stop for beginning skiers and riders. Two moving carpets, similar to moving walkways, ferry beginners to the top of a super-gentle slope to make those first turns. The next step is to board the next step is a ride on the Gemini chairlift to Discovery Park, a protected on-mountain beginner area. Two additional chairlifts are dedicated to Discovery Park, and when it’s time to head back to the base for a break, lunch or at day’s end, the Turnpike trail is the easiest route down, Another option is ride the Gemini chairlift to the base.

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