Spain. The home of sun, sea and...snow?
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Spain. The home of sun, sea and...snow?

With the arrival of December and the opening of the ski season imminent, it was time again for the agents of Iglu Ski to go out into the world to check out some of the resorts that we’ll be sending thousands of people to over the coming months. Sierra Nevada in Andalucia, Spain was my assignment; one of the latest resorts to be taken on by the short break specialist tour operator and Iglu Ski partner, Ski Weekends.

Words and photos by Pete Fleckney, Iglu Ski Sales Expert

Skiing in Spain

On the slopes in Sierra Nevada

I’ll be honest, I was a little apprehensive. Spain isn’t the first place that springs to mind when planning a ski holiday. In fact I’ll be surprised if it features at all in many people’s thought processes. Despite the promising snow reports I had visions of tufts of grass poking through a few lonely tracks of white, surrounded by gravel and jagged rocks. I was wrong.

The conditions on arrival were pretty good. Despite it being early December and there being no glacier to rely on, the resort’s high altitude had ensured a plentiful covering of snow to rival some of the best French resorts, many of which hadn’t seen fresh snow since early 2016.

Sierra Nevada ski holidays

Fresh snow overnight in Sierra Nevada village

There were a few bare patches, that is to be expected so early in the season, but the whole mountain was open and there was good skiing to be had. The promise of impending snow was set to cover the bald spots, and that snow arrived in the form of a 20cm dump overnight. The whole resort was covered in the morning, with fresh powder all over the mountain that afforded some amazing boarding with a bit of off-piste opportunity as well. More snow was forecast for the week, making Sierra Nevada one of the snowiest resorts for the start of the season.

Veleta Peak

Piste basher excursion to the Veleta Peak at 3398m

About three hours from Malaga and just forty-five minutes from Granada, Sierra Nevada is unique as a ski resort in that you can be at the beach in less than two hours and, with the right conditions, from the top of the Veleta peak you can see the Mediterranean Sea.

Unlike many European resorts, Sierra Nevada’s ski area is effectively a funnel shape, with all runs eventually leading down to the bottom. It’s much like Jasper in Alberta, Canada in that respect, and makes it very easy for groups to split up and do their own thing before meeting up again at the mid-station or by the gondola in the resort. The run from Veleta down to the village is Sierra Nevada’s longest, at 6.5km, and is simply awesome. I nailed it on the second day just before I took my rental kit back, then went back into the shop to ask if I could have the equipment back for a bit so I could do the run again.

Skiing in Sierra Nevada

Spectacular views from the top of the ski area

Admittedly it’s not the biggest ski area in the world, and there perhaps isn’t a great deal for the more advanced skier, but for beginners and intermediates Sierra Nevada is perfect. There’s more than enough for a short break, and you could easily spend a week there honing your skills.

Ski Weekends are featuring Sierra Nevada as part of their new city/ski packages, which give you a few days on the mountain and also allows time to take in the historical sights of nearby Grenada, such as the Alhambra, which we were also fortunate enough to experience. With over 100 km of piste, great conditions and a healthy smattering of après bars, Sierra Nevada deserves a place on anyone’s shortlist of resorts this season, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Iglu Ski in Sierra Nevada

The Iglu Ski team, Pete, Helena and Rufus, with their ski guide

 3, 5 and 7 night holiday options to Sierra Nevada are available through Iglu Ski. Prices include flights, transfers and hotel accommodation. Book by 30th November 2017 for 2 for 1 lift passes on all dates to Sierra Nevada.

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