Knee-Deep Novices: Ten Great Ski Resorts for Beginners

Northstar-at-Tahoe, Sunday River, and Deer Valley
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Northstar-at-Tahoe
Although all the major ski resorts in California have plenty of runs suitable for novices and intermediates, Northstar (800.466.6784. www.skinorthstar.com) is the clear destination of choice for the not-ready-for-prime-time-slope skier in the northern part of the state. The terrain is mostly intermediate, and the lower blue runs—with reliable, superbly groomed snow—are as good as anywhere in the West. For beginning skiers who are nervous about riding a chairlift, an airport-style conveyor belt called the Magic Carpet provides smooth transport up the slopes. Northstar has also recently expanded its snowmaking and improved its advanced runs on the backside. This is a solid choice for all classes of skiers.

Sunday River
Rarely does Sunday River, Maine (800.543.2754. www.sundayriver.com)—one of the best training hills in the East—get overcrowded. It has smooth, well-groomed slopes, and great snowmaking capacity that covers more than 90 percent of the runs. Although most of the slopes here are intermediate, skiers of all abilities will find enjoyable terrain and 2,340 feet of vertical drop.

Deer Valley
Distinguishing Deer Valley, Utah (800.424.3337. www.deervalley.com), are its smooth, well-groomed, wide-open slopes. These offer plenty of fun without pushing novices or intermediates past their limits. First-timers will especially enjoy Wild West, the new beginners-only area. You can improve your skills here without thrashing yourself or losing face. Deer Valley also boasts the best food and customer service in the Rockies.


Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 20 Aug 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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