Sun and Snow all in one day
Europe’s most southerly ski resort is a great option for a day trip if you wish to combine the warm weather of the coastline with the ski slopes of the Sierra Nevada, or with average daytime temperatures of 20°C during the summer months it can be a welcome break from the heat of the coast.
Where is it?
The Sierra Nevada is Europe’s most southerly ski resort and sits on the same latitude as Cyprus. It offers one of Europe’s longest ski seasons, usually starting in late November and running until early May. The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort is located on the slopes of the Pico de Veleta, Spain’s third-highest peak, located just 32km or around 30 minutes from the historic city of Granada. The resort was founded in 1964 and has 124 runs suitable for all levels of skiing and snowboarding.
How to get there?
It is quite easy to get to and very well signposted. From the coast just head North to Granada on the A-44 and take the junction 132 turning signposted for Sierra Nevada, then once on the A-395 follow it all the way for the next 30 km until you reach you destination
What kind of resort is it?
Compared to many of the mega ski resorts in the Alps, the Sierra Nevada ski station is relatively small, but it is a centre of world-class, high-altitude skiing – the highest altitude is 3,300 metres and you can descend 1,200 metres. The resort regularly holds international ski and snowboarding events, such as the Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships in 2017. Its high elevation means the ski season can last from late November until early May and the views on a clear day can stretch to the northern coast of Africa.
What are the runs like?
There are a good range of runs over the 106 km of pistes, from 19 Green Runs, which are very easy and aimed at beginners to 7 Black Runs that are classed as ‘very difficult’. There are 41 ‘easy’ Blue Runs and 50 ‘difficult’ Red Runs in between.
What other features are there?
There is also the Superparque Sulayr – a specialised snowboarding park with an 165 metre-long, six metre-high half pipe (the biggest in Spain) and medium and advanced difficulty areas covering pipes and jumps. Those who fancy a more gentle ski can try some of the resort’s cross-country runs. The resort also offers night skiing from Thursday to Sunday and a children’s snow park.
Adrenaline junkies should consider paraskiing, which involves paragliding with an instructor over the Sierra Nevada, affording you incredible views over the mountains, then landing on the slope and skiing down. A must-try for budding James Bonds.
Can I take lessons?
Yes, the resort has over 15 ski schools and a variety of lesson options, from two-hour beginner lessons to private classes to brush up on your skills.
Can I rent ski equipment?
Yes, the Sierra Nevada has two rental shops, in Pradollano and Borreguiles, where you can rent everything you need to hit the slopes, including boots, skis and helmet for €25 per day. You can book your equipment online before you set off, or rent it on the day.
How much does it cost?
Adult day passes are €46 during low season and €48 during high season. Youth (aged 13-16) passes are €42 and €43.50 respectively and children’s passes are €32 and €35. Family passes and longer-term passes (from two days to seven days) are also available. See the resort’s website for more details. You can buy most tickets online ahead of time.
What is it like in Summer
The resort town of Pradollano is located at the bottom of the slopes and is very quiet during the summer months but still has a number of cafes, bars and restaurants catering to those who wish for a break from the summer heat. The town during the summer is a perfect base for hiking or if you fancy mountain biking you can take the cable cars and hook the bikes on the back of the cab and ride back down, or just take the cable car to the summit for some spectacular scenery and views.