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SKIING IN SPAIN – DAY TWO

PlanetSKI has been making some turns in Spain. The Pyrenees? No, Sierra Nevada in southern Spain. And there is far more to it than just the skiing. Our blog continues…

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First Stop – the historic Alhambra Palace and the beautiful city of Granada; see here for one of the most interesting journeys you can take to a ski resort.

Second Stop – the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Day 2 –

Today was the day.

It was a glorious sunny morning and I was itching to get up the mountain to see a ski area that many people don’t even know exists.

And in southern Spain too.

The Sierra Nevada is situated 32km from the old town of Granada.

Sierra Nevada hosted the World Alpine Skiing Championships in 1996 so I had to assume that there must be some good skiing.

Now was the time to find out.

The resort opened in 1964, and is probably one of the most popular ski destinations in Spain – certainly in this part of the country.

It was one of those places that had aroused my curiosity being so close to the Mediterranean and I’d been looking forward to skiing in Sierra Nevada for a while.

And the views?

Well you don’t see vistas like this in many ski areas.

Somewhere in the not-so-far distance is the Mediterranean Sea which is less than two hours away.

On a clear day, and possibly with a little imagination, we were told you could just make out Morocco.

Looking out over Spain

Looking out over Spain from the Sierra Nevada. Image © PlanetSKI

Others had been before me.

In one bar, named Crescendo, photographs of James Hunt, Sean Connery and other personalities from the late 70s decorated the walls.

I guess they must have had villas in the area.

There were framed cuttings of Princess Margaret’s visit.

Sean Connery

Sean Connery at Bar Crescendo. Image © PlanetSKI

The Spaniards flock from miles around to ski its slopes, enjoy the spectacular views and occasionally simply get away from the heat of the nearby Meditarranean.

They also come to party.

Snow conditions weren’t at their best and though the area has over 100km of ski slopes only a fraction of the terrain was open – some 20km.

No matter, I was in Spain sampling a totally different atmosphere from the resorts of the Alps and even the Pyrenees.

But the cannons were hard at work.

Early morning firing cannons

Early morning firing cannons Sierra Nevada. Image © PlanetSKI

Dotted at regular intervals round the mountain was an army of snow cannons hard at work – 350 cannons in all.

The cannons were pumping out 200 litres of water per second.

Snow making in the Sierra Nevada

Snow making in the Sierra Nevada. Image © PlanetSKI

It was a bright sunny day the temperature was low.

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada basking in snow and sunshine. Image © PlanetSKI

The 20km of pistes were beautifully groomed and offered enough variety of skiing for the day.

When the resort is in full operation there is ample skiing for everyone.

There are 124 ski runs to choose from, half of which are blues and greens.

The remainder are mainly reds plus 7 black runs.

Sierra Nevada Skiing Terrain

Sierra Nevada Skiing Terrain. Image © PlanetSKI

The longest ski run is called the Pista Aguila which is around 6.25km long.

There was even a run called Zoro.

Zoro was 1,850km long and sadly did not live up to its name.

It was not a mysterious black run full of surprises and intrigue ? , but non-the-less it was a lovely blue run.

Sierra Nevada, Spain

Sierra Nevada, Spain. Image © PlanetSKI

The resort also has the usual snow park, a fun family area and from 2017 will also have a permanent a ski cross slope.

The children’s area was well catered for.

There are 3 enclosed  magic carpets to convey the  beginners up the slopes and some great family runs including the Pista del Bosque slope where the children can ski through the jaws of a massive shark and other giant sea creatures.

Observatory & Jaws

Observatory above & Jaws below. Image © PlanetSKI

By lunch-time though it got slightly crowded.

In fact very crowded.

The Spanish enjoy their lunch.

Lunchtime

Lunchtime at Sierra Nevada. Image © PlanetSKI

It was an odd weather day.

One minute the sun shone brightly, then moments later the cloud cover closed in and visibility was impossibly low.

No matter I was skiing in the Sierra Nevada in southern Spain.

It was a agood day, but tomorrow offered more.

Not least a ride up to the top of the mountain to the Pic Veleta in a piste basher.

I wonder if I might be allowed to drive it?

Visit to the Alhambra palace – see here for Day One.

For the spirit of the mountains

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