The Sierra Nevada ski resort, only 30min. from Granada, is a shocking change from the tropical coast only a few miles south. The snow is fresh until mid-May and the resort boasts a whopping 105km of slopes and a difference in altitude over 1200meters. It's a great place to work off those tapas you over indulged in in Granada! There's a great official ski school for novices (I'd suggest Carlos and Paquillo as instructors) and a lovely restaurant, one of Europe's highest, to have a nice meal afterwards!
There are slopes for all levels and a truly incredible amount of different courses to run. Also, as a nice change from an increasing trend in many ski resorts, snowboarders and skiers are mixed up, with no separate course for either and no problems either. Once you arrive at the ski station, there is a place to rent equipment (both for skiers and snowboarders), lifts, and a restaurant offering some delicious barbeque. In short, we had a blast skiing at Sierra Nevada!
What? You don’t know what "tobogganing" consists of? Then relax because now I will explain and show videos so you get a better idea.
Summing up, it is a night time descent in an individual wooden sleigh on the 2’5 km ski piste in Formigal. But it is much more than this, it includes a delicious dinner, and truly, it is a unique experience.
To give you an idea, first, about 19:00 we went up on the ski lift to the Cantal restaurant, where we had dinner. Once it was finished, and I was so full that I could hardly move, we took the sleighs. Of course, before beginning the adventure, since usually nobody had done it before, they told us how to use the sleigh. Between 21:00 and 22:00 we began the descent from the Trattoria Cantal, this is what is known as the “Tobogganing descent”.
Everybody still wanted to do it again because a 2.5 Km ski piste descent in an individual wooden sleigh and at night… you don’t do these every day!
Candanchú is one of the most classic stations in Spain. They say that it is one of the stations, together with Astún, that has the most snow during the year. Also, for those coming from Madrid, it is one of the nearest stations together with the Sierra Nevada.
It is a station which does not make any compromises, it is loved by those who can ski very well and those who know nothing. And the explanation is because the pistes are mainly red and black and otherwise we are talking about very easy blue and green.
It is a northern station, the sun sets approximately at about 13:00 and it gets very cold. Also, on the red and black pistes, being very difficult and steep, there is often a lot of ice, and you have to take care. The services of the station are good, good cafes in the middle of the pistes, shops, etc.
Astún is the ski station where I began when I was ten years old in this world of skiing, which one day became my profession (now thwarted); well, that’s another story.
Where was I… ah, yes, it is a small station with a unique town centre which has various restaurants, bars and shops and rental shops. The same way, it has two ski schools, a snow park and a hotel (the Europa).
Speaking of pistes, it has a very good distribution, which has been improved over the years, although since the mountain is willful you need good snow falls to enjoy them. Bearing in mind that there is snow, we’ll find ourselves with an extension of about 70 Km more or less, of which I recommend the pistes of Sarrios and Truchas, although for the most adventurous the track that descends from La Raca to Puente del Ruso stands out, in the vicinity of Candanchú. In spite of its risk, it offers one of the best slopes, snow and views of the zone (no offence to "El Tubo de la Zapatilla" in Candanchú).
If we go for this option, we don’t need to worry much about the car, since later, with a little effort, you can get to Candanchú, and from there, catch the little train which will take us back to Astún.
If you want hundreds of kilometers of skiing slopes, the best is to go to places like Formigal, Baqueira or Sierra Nevada, but if you are looking for something else, Valedezcaray can be perfect.
Let me explain. We spent an entire weekend there, during which we could enjoy the snow (the kids had their first ski excursion and the older ones could enjoy good descents) and getting to know a very charming village like Ezcaray, a real natural paradise.
About 20 km of slopes, more than 20 slopes and 9 ski lifts make Valdezcaray a family resort, perfect to spend a good weekend with your family.
Only 24km from Reinosa (330km from Madrid) there is a mountain with no less than 32km skiable slopes ranging from those for cross-country skiing (4.4km) to regular alpine skiing (27.7 km).
The resort is dominated by the Tres Mares peak and has 23 slopes and lifts with a capacity for 13,100 skiers. Important fact: there are 10 red slopes and no black ones. You can of course rent or buy all the necessary equipment in one of the nearby stores.
There are also some restaurants and cafés at the bottom of the slopes. You can't miss the "El Chivo," a cafe/restaurant 1850 meters high.
Only an hour and a half from Zaragoza and Valencia
This ski station belongs to the ARAMÓN group, as well as the ski stations of Huesca del Pirineo, and Javalambre, also in the Iberian System. Only an hour and a half from Zaragoza and Valencia, this station tends to be full at weekends. It is a good option if you don’t want, or can’t, go to the Pyrenees.
It is the southernmost station in the Community of Aragon. It is in the Sierra de Gúdar, inside the highest municipality in Spain, Valdelinares, at an altitude of 1693 m. The secret of Valdelinares is a perfect combination of the natural attraction of its forests and the comfort of a family friendly station.
If you want to learn to ski, the station is ready to initiate you into the white sport, and also here you can experience sensations in the pistes which have the highest level of difficulty. For the most adventurous, they have redesigned the tracks and jumps of the Snowpark, which has changed the location of the Villarejo piste, now is double the size.
This year, the little ones have a piste solely for themselves, the Skity piste, where they can enjoy the snow in a specially designed natural environment. The most modern snow-making systems guarantee snow during the entire winter season, all the ski areas have artificial snow making machines available.
Only an hour and a half from Valencia and Zaragoza, in the Sierra de Javalambre, this ski station opened its doors in the 1995/96 season to augment the offer of snow in the province of Teruel.
In 2010 a new sector was opened which expanded the offer of pistes by 5 Km, access to this is by a latest generation chairlift of 6 detachable seats. There is a total skiing area of more than 12 Kilometres. Modern snow production systems guarantee skiing during the winter season, since they cover all the skiing area.
For lovers of nature there are new panoramic walks, which lead the visitor around the perimeter of the ski station, allowing the enjoyment of majestic views of the Sierra de Javalambre.
A good alternative for those who are far from the Pyrenees is to be able to go there any weekend to go down on the snowy pistes.
The ski station has 14 Km of ski slopes, 14 pistes and 166 snow cannons, the capacity of the ski lifts is 10060 skiers an hour.