Skiing In Sierra Nevada

One of the few places in Europe you can sunbathe on a Marbella beach one day and Ski Sierra Nevada the next


Ski Sunday Sierra Nevada 

Sierra Nevada Chairlift

Being tall has its advantages except with low hanging chair lifts

My first attempt at skiing in Sierra Nevada was 35 years ago when I was just a young kid.  I hardly remember the occasion but for my mother it was an unforgettable experience.  How dad convinced her to put a pair of skis on in the first place, Lord only knows! 

Her recollection of skiing on snow for the first time was a petrifying descent down a green slope towards some bystanders.

Upon yelling ‘Get out of my way!’ they swiftly made an educated guess that this little lady who slightly lacked finesse would be unable to manoeuvre herself around them, they wisely shuffled over to avoid impact!

Back then in the 80’s, my dad was an enthusiastic viewer of BBC2’s Ski Sunday and our Sunday tea was accompanied by Ski Sunday’s theme tune followed by thrilling downhill races and grand slaloms.

My dad felt that the hours spent viewing and admiring the incredible skills of Tomba la Bomba sufficiently, qualified us to tackle the slopes of Sierra Nevada during our next visit to Spain.

Well, 35 years on and we still don’t ski like Tomba La Bomba!  But we still ski.  A lot!

Ski Sierra Nevada: Snow on our doorstep

When I say that we ski a lot, it’s no exaggeration!

During the ski season (end of November to end of April), the handy Sierra Nevada app is constantly in use as we check the weather forecast for the weekend, or for Christmas, Three Kings, or Semana Blanca. 

This app is great for providing the latest snow report, weather forecast, the slopes and lifts open and webcams showing the conditions on the main pistes.

All this information plus the added bonus of the mountains being just a 2.5 hour drive away from our doorstep means that we lucky residents can plan a ski weekend at the drop of a pair of ski goggles!

Skiing in Sierra Nevada has never been so easy!  It’s even possible  to do in just one day!

beach saturday, ski sunday!

Ski Sierra Nevada in 48 hours

If you’re keen to test out the slopes for the first time, here’s an account of how my son and I normally spend 48 hours in Sierra Nevada.

07.00 We set off from Marbella, taking the toll roads to Granada wherever possible.

Eventually we start to spot the brown signposts for Sierra Nevada.

View from the Sierra Nevada chairlift

Cant see what all the fuss is about. Sit here going up and down all day. Piece of cake!

Our 230 km journey usually takes us 2.5 hours on a good day with minimal traffic.

09.30 We arrive at the entrance to the Pradollano carpark. 

The left-side entrance to the underground carpark allows convenient access to the hotels located around Plaza Pradollano:  Hotel Melia, Hotel Zyriab and Hotel Trevenque

The Hotel Zyriab tends to be our favourite place to stay overnight due to its location, lodge style features and good value for money.

Its short distance to the telecabin and ski hire outlets eliminates plenty of legwork., saving our energy for the pistes! 

10.30 By this time, we are sitting at Cafe bar Oso, drinking coffee and eating cheese and ham toasties having completed our short checklist:

  • Ski hire for 2 days from the Intersport shop.   It’s one of the closest ski rental shops to the Al-Ándalus Telecabins (not seated).
  • Forfaits for 2 days.  These can be purchased at the main ticket office in Andalucia Plaza, close to the Borreguiles Telecabins (seated).

Where to head for

11.30 We’re making our way over to Lagunas de las Yeguas via the Veleta chairlift. 

Lagunas de las Yegues is great for the intermediate and advanced skiers with plenty of long, red slopes to choose from and without the crowds and long queues that you often get in the Borreguiles zone.

There are 131 slopes to choose from in Sierra Nevada.  That’s a total of 110.4 km

The wide variety of pistes and snow-parks test the ability of any snowboarder or skier.

Where to eat above 2,000 metres

14.30 Pit-stop at the main self-service restaurant in Borreguiles. 

Trying to find a table at this hour isn’t easy.  The food isn’t incredible for the prices they charge but at least it’s hot…. hot until you arrive at the long queue to pay.

16.30 After an exhausting day, we make our way down ‘El Río’ during the rush hour. 

On ‘El Río’ there are skiers everywhere;  beginners, intermediates and advanced, all making their way down to the bottom.  Some on their bottoms!  It’s manic!

Águila, which happens to be the longest run at 6.5km is our preferred route down to the plaza. 

I recommend it as an alternative, calm and scenic route back to the main square.

Gary Larson cartoon

Gary Larson: Funniest cartoonist in the world

Lodge Style Hotel

20.00 Dinner time at Hotel Zyriab

We’ve checked into our twin room that has a beautiful view of the snowy mountains. 

A buffet dinner is served between 8pm and 10.30pm and offers a good selection to suit all tastes.

We’ve stayed at various hotels and apartment-hotels in Sierra Nevada but not many offer breakfast until 11am.  The Zyriab does.

12.00 The next day, we check out of the hotel and head for the slopes once again for a full afternoon of skiing.

18.00 Leaving the carpark and zig-zagging our way down the hill along with hundreds of other vehicles is painfully slow but we don’t care because our two days of filling our lungs with fresh mountain air and improving our health through great and exhilarating exercise has been worth every céntimo.

Charming, lively and compact

Sierra Nevada is a charming little resort and is improving year upon year.   

I suppose we could one year go somewhere else to ski,  Val d’Isère or Verbier perhaps.  But once you add up the costs of flights, transfers and hotels etc., Sierra Nevada is an easier option on all accounts.

It’s compactness and efficiency make weekend visits like ours so easy to do.  We’ve even done it  in a day! 

Sunbathing on the beach on Saturday and skiing in Sierra Nevada on Sunday! Who would believe it?! 

Terrasur Homes are here to help you with any aspect of your upcoming Costa del Sol trip. You can contact us for anything you need by clicking here.