Planning to ski Sierra Nevada? Here’s my complete guide to skiing at one of the best ski resorts in Spain.
Mention southern Spain, and most people think of the beaches, but few associate it with winter sports or mountains. It comes as a surprise to many that you can actually find world class skiing in Sierra Nevada. Plus, it’s cheap and close to popular tourist sights and beaches. No wonder it’s considered to be one of the best budget ski destinations in Europe.
As Europe’s second most mountainous country (next to Switzerland), Spain rises to an average altitude of 650m above sea level with over one quarter of the country actually over 1000m above sea level. Little wonder then that Spain is home to around 35 ski resorts!
Just an hour away from our homebase in Granada is Sierra Nevada, one of Spain’s most popular ski destinations. Because of its proximity, we make sure to head up to the ski station at least once every winter season. This past winter, I made a day trip up there as usual and had a great time in the snow mountains even though I didn’t ski (I was seven months pregnant then!) — there are lots to do up there, including winter activities like ice skating and riding toboggans at the recreation center.
Why Ski Sierra Nevada?
As Europe’s southernmost yet highest ski resort, Sierra Nevada is great for skiers of all levels (especially for beginners like myself) with an impressive vertical drop of 1200m. Thanks to its high altitude, it also boasts an uncharacteristically long season running from late November all the way to early May.
Another positive that Sierra Nevada has, which very few resorts can boast, is the bright sunshine that blesses the mountains all year round. Being so far south, the climate is fantastic even in winter – promising temperatures around 5-10 degrees Celsius. On the last day of the season, you are even encouraged to ski in your bikini/swim shorts (which will get you a free day pass)!
Skiing in Sierra Nevada is also much more affordable than in other parts of Europe — day passes are as low as €35 for a full day (half the price for night skiing) and you can rent your equipment and gear for just €19 per day. Not to mention prices of hotels and food are also considerably cheaper here.
Here’s a look at some photos I shot on the mountains last winter. Forget the Swiss Alps or French alpine resorts, consider heading over to southern Spain for your winter escape next time. Oh, don’t forget the sunscreen!