Sliding down a snow-covered hill in a controlled manner on a pair of skis or on a snowboard is not an intuitive process.

Most people strapped into skis or a snowboard for the first time generally will sit back - and promptly land on their aspen - when speed or control gets out of hand. It's just human nature.

Many times those pratfalls will lead to more than bruised bottoms and egos - the fallen often don't return to the sport. So it behooves first-timers to get some guidance from experienced and knowledgeable instructors. 

Of course, ski and snowboard schools are not limited to teaching never-evers. Even the most experience riders can use a brush-up once in a while.

Where are the best places to find these types of ski and snowboard schools? Here is a brief compendium of Colorado resorts that fit most of these criteria:

Children's programs: You want a resort that has a section of the hill - preferably fenced off from the rest of the terrain - totally dedicated to the little ones, and the best ones can be found at [R406R, Snowmass] and [R425R, Steamboat].

Another thing to consider is who is running the show. You've found the right spot if the head of the children's program is passionate about kids - and not just some junior member of the ski school working his or her way up through the ranks and running a baby-sitting program.

For beginners: You want terrain and lifts that are exclusive to that skill set, and [R92R, Buttermilk] is Aspen's multi-lift, large-scale teaching hill. Steamboat is also a great choice to get started in the sport.

Just snowboarding: [R1673R, Echo Mountain Park] has programs that will get you shredding - and shredding well - in no time. An added benefit is that it's the closest lift-serviced snow to Denver.

More adept riders: look to [R120R, Crested Butte], [R24R, Aspen Highlands], and [R456R, Telluride] for guidance in negotiating the super steep and deep. They've got the mountains to give you the experience you need. 

Racing skills: Steamboat, which has produced a significant number of U.S. Ski Team alumni, is perhaps your best option. Aspen also has a distinguished and legendary racing program.