Ever thought about learning how to ski in Sierra Nevada while looking over the African continent? In the heart of Andalusia, in southern Spain, where the bright sun and a clear blue colour dominate the sky, rises the mountain range of Sierra Nevada. Pradollano, a hilltop village, lies in its mountains and is home to the only ski resort of Sierra Nevada. In spite of the common belief of being a summer beach destination, Sierra Nevada is home to one of Spain’s largest ski resorts and boasts an impressive skiing reputation and history.
This article will provide you with an in-depth guide to the ski resort in Sierra Nevada, followed by an overview of the different areas you can find within the resort of Pradollano. From the busy area of Borreguiles for kids and first-timers to the adrenaline-pumping slopes of Veleta, you can enjoy a wide variety of runs for all ages and levels. Also, help you find skis schools, and lessons to start skiing or finish perfecting your skiing/snowboarding skills, as well as an insight into the various attractions and activities you can enjoy near the resort.
1) The ski resort: Pradollano
Located in the south of Spain, the Sierra Nevada mountain range stands above the beautiful city of Granada. Pradollano stands as the southernmost ski resort in Europe. It is a medium-sized station, enjoying snow for approximately 5 months, operating from late November until the beginning of May. February and March are the best months to visit the resort due to excellent snow and weather conditions. However, this is also the time when visitor numbers are highest.
A major advantage of skiing in Sierra Nevada is that you won’t have to worry about rainy days or bad weather since the resort enjoys a wonderful climate with over 75% of days of sunshine during the winter season. So, remember to bring a pair of sunglasses and sunscreen with you!
It was first opened in 1964 and 20 years later, in 1986, the Sierra Nevada mountain range was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Just 38 kilometres from the city of Granada, Pradollano is located at an altitude of around 2,100 to 3,282 meters, and it offers an extensive and modern system of ski lifts and gondolas. Here are the two highest peaks of the Iberian Peninsula: Mulhacén (3,479 m) and Veleta (3,398 m).
The station offers a total of 131 slopes suitable for all levels of skiing and snowboarding. On the 110 km of slopes, you will find a good variety of slopes, with 19 green slopes, aimed at beginners, and 7 black runs for experienced skiers. A further 41 blue slopes and 50 red slopes can be found at the resort.
The fastest and easiest way to buy your ski pass is online directly on the resort’s website, which offers different types of passes depending on your preference: seasonal, weekend, promotions, and many more. Booking in advance will also save you some money and time from waiting in line!
2) Learn to ski in Sierra Nevada
Whether you wish to take your first ski lesson, or are seeking to discover new slopes to slide onto, the resort is equipped with a wide variety of areas for all levels, ranging from kids to the most daring skiers.
This is the main area for first-timers and children. In this area, where the initial lessons and training take place, you will be able to learn in a safe environment that is ideal for taking your first steps. In order to reach this area, you can take the Al-Andaluz or Borreguiles gondolas.
This is an ideal spot for children, offering an alpine garden, a magic carpet, and plenty of entertainment for them to learn to ski while they have fun. If you would like your kids to learn the basics in a fast, safe, and fun way, then a kids ski lesson is a great option. During the lesson, they will learn in small groups with other kids and will be under the full supervision of the school’s instructors. In the meantime, you can relax while having a drink or have fun going down the slopes!
Alternatively, you can choose to do a private ski or snowboard lesson, if you want to progress quickly or prefer undivided attention from your ski instructor. This type of lesson will help you improve quickly since you will focus on your specific goals and needs. Also, these lessons are ideal if you or your kid have previous experience, so they won’t get held back by other people in the group as they progress.
- Loma De Dílar:
This spectacular area offers great views down the valley to Granada and features high quality, broad, blue runs giving you plenty of enjoyable slopes among the hills, and is ideal for both beginners and intermediate skiers seeking a more relaxed skiing experience.
Adults are also welcome to join ski lessons, whether in small groups or with a private instructor, you will learn techniques and tips to improve your skiing skills. Group lessons usually go on for 3 hours and can be extended up to 6 days. For private ski lessons, you can opt for one to four hours of lessons per day, and are usually more flexible.
Advanced skiers can expect lots of action going down the Veleta summit and the valley of La Laguna. Skiing in this area is characterised by more challenging red runs and some black runs. La Laguna is a favourite Freeride spot, offering a wide, endless off-piste option.
- Río Monachil y El Parador:
Used to descend from Borreguiles to the village of Pradollano, this slope is in the shape of a riverbed is one of many blue slopes, and is fitted with snow cannons that supplement natural snow. It is one of the longest runs of the whole resort, and it has a heavy skier flow throughout the day. A fun fact about this slope is that you can experience what it is like to ski at night twice a week!
3) Après-ski and sightseeing in Granada
After a long and tiring day of skiing, après-ski becomes a must, and Sierra Nevada is no exception. In the village main square, Plaza de Andalucía, and around the village you can find 30 restaurants and 28 bars to enjoy a well-deserved drink and delicious Spanish tapas.
And of course, being in Granada, you can’t skip a day trip to its impressive Moorish palace, the Alhambra, or the Albaicín, the city’s oldest quarter with narrow streets and traditional houses that has kept its timeless essence over the years.