In our resort reviews and our articles on lessons for first timers you might have read about "magic carpets." If you don't know what we are talking about (and before you start going off on Aladdin daydreams) it is worth a quick explanation of these lifts and why they are so good for those just starting out with snow sports, especially skiing. Magic Carpet Lift on Wikipedia.
First time skiers start out learning how to move around on the flat. Once they have mastered that it is on to sliding and stopping on a very gentle slope. This takes a bit of practice and repetition, which means you have to keep getting back up that gentle slope. To start with walking up is no problem as you don't have to go far. However as you get better and more confident you are comfortable sliding further. Walking up a long way get very tiring and we want you to keep your energy for skiing down. A magic carpet lift is like a conveyor belt that you walk onto and it transports you up to the top of a small slope. Choosing a resort with a good magic carpet or surface lift saves you both time and energy and will vastly improve your learning experience.
Not all magic carpet lifts in the region are ideal for learners though. Some are used mainly for sledging and tend to be a little bit too steep for beginner skiers. If you are very lucky you might be able to find a resort with a chair lift that goes up to the top of a very gentle slope, but these are few and far between.
We recommend Maiko Kogen Ski Resort as a great place for that first lesson as they have two carpets and both of them have a good gradient for a ski lesson.
Snowboarders don't need to worry so much about using a lift of this kind. Beginner snowboarders find it easier learning on slightly steeper slopes than the skiers. As a result they end up using the chairlift much sooner.