Many people associate Spain with sunshine, sangria, and flawless beaches. What you may not know is that Spain is also an incredible place to enjoy snow sports: meaning that if you relocate to Spain, you don’t have to give up your passion for skiing!
The Sierra Nevada is the most southerly ski resort in Europe. Offering 124 different ski runs across Spain’s highest mountain range, visitors can also enjoy views over the historic city of Granada and the world-famous Alhambra fort as they whizz and weave down the slopes.
Whether you’re a veteran snow sports enthusiast or want to try your hand at skiing for the very first time, here’s everything you need to know about skiing in the Sierra Nevada:
Finding Your Way to the Sierra Nevada
One of the main perks of skiing the Sierra Nevada is that the resort benefits from an incredible 5 month long ski season most years! Because of its sheer height, and its north-facing position, skiing here typically lasts from November to early May, which is much longer than the season offered by many other resorts.
Finding your way to the Sierra Nevada is also much easier than you might think. Located in Andalucia, the resort is a simple, straightforward 35-minute drive away from Granada and also has excellent transport links. If you prefer not to drive then Sierra Nevada is also accessible by bus, airport and train. In fact, the resort prides itself on its accessibility and its convenient transport links.
What are the Ski Runs Like in Sierra Nevada?
One of the first questions that must accomplished skiers will ask before they visit a new resort is what, exactly, are the ski runs like. The runs in Sierra Nevada are suitable for skiers of a wide range of experience levels and abilities.
Almost all of the runs feed from the ski run base, which is called Borreguiles. Here you will find the ski school meeting points, lockers, cafes, and restaurants, as well as access to the baby slopes and the start of more chairlifts that spread out like a fan across the slopes of Valeta (Spain’s 3rd Highest Peak). In total this fan will encompass more than 100 different ski slopes with a good number of red slopes available for experienced skiers meaning that, no matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it here. The one think that Sierra Nevada is lacking is off piste or cross country slopes: all of the skiing here is on organised pistes, which is bad news for cross country ski enthusiasts but good news in terms of the resort safety records, which are excellent.
Will there Always Be Enough Snow?
If there’s one thing that can’t be predicted, it’s the weather. But that shouldn’t stop you enjoying the full ski season on the Sierra Nevada. Like most European resorts, Sierra Nevada experiences a real mix of snow quality depending on the temperatures and snowfall levels in any given year.
But, the resort has invested heavily in snow cannons and now has over 200 cannons that produce 2,000 cubic meters of snow per hour on 14 runs when at full capacity: that means that even when the snow quality is poor or the expected levels of snow simply don’t fall, it shouldn’t effect your ability to have a great time.
How Busy Can I Expect the Resort to Be?
Like most tourist attractions, the crowd levels in Sierra Nevada will depend on when you choose to visit. Peak season is considered to be from 21st December onwards (when many Spanish people will take their Christmas holidays) and during this peak period you can expect to see queues of between 15-20 minutes for the ski lifts: very occasionally these queues may exceed 20 minutes.
If you ski during quieter periods though, such as during the week rather than at weekends and avoiding public holiday periods, it is unlikely that you will have to queue at all. On a positive note, skiing on busy days can still be great fun, as the whole resort has a bustling festive atmosphere: because everyone is at the resort to ski and have fun, you may find you enjoy the social aspects of the busier periods.
Learning to Ski in the Sierra Nevada
The Sierra Nevada is a great place to learn to ski, thanks to the mix of runs and the huge number of ski schools. It is also a relatively affordable place to learn to ski, particularly if you are already living in Spain!
Booking your lessons online, and buying your lessons in bulk rather than one at a time is the best way to bring down the price of lessons. It will also be more affordable if you learn to ski as part of a small group, rather than paying for one to one lessons. As a rough price guide, expect to pay between 40-50 euros per hour or between 200-250 euros per day for private one to one lessons in the Sierra Nevada.
How much is a ski pass?
You can’t ski without a ski pass, so it’s important to factor in the price of your pass into the cost of your stay. A Sierra Nevada ski pass is €46 in low season and €48 during high season. Extra insurance cover for emergencies can be bought for €2.50 each, although you are also recommended to have your own extreme sports travel insurance cover.
For young people (age 13-16) passes are €42 and then €43.50 in high season.
For children, (under 13) passes are €32 and €35 in high season.
The resort also offers family passes and multi-day passes for discounts. A 10 day adult pass is €410 and a 25 day adult pass is €955.
A winter season ticket for an adult is €1,1128
You can find the most recent price list in full here. Would you love to live in a place where you can access the beach and enjoy winter snow sports from the within a short drive? Have you always dreamed of relocating to Spain? Then why not get in touch with our expert team of property relocation specialists, who would be delighted to help you turn that dream into a reality.