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 Snowmass and 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 Buttermilk is Aspen's multi-lift, large-scale teaching hill. Steamboat is also a great choice to get started in the sport.

Just snowboarding: 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 Crested Butte, Aspen Highlands, and 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.