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HOT Winter Sports - White Christmas

With an annual average of 325 sunshine days, the Costa del Sol boasts the mildest winters anywhere in mainland Europe. Yet, conversely, if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, you can have that, too, because the world-class ski resort of Pradollano-Solynieve is a winter wonderland little more than a two-hour drive from sun-kissed Mediterranean beaches.

Report: Carolyn Mowlem

From December to April, or sometimes May, the Sierra Nevada is the only place to be for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities from novices to the seriously accomplished. The tantalisingly white peaks are clearly visible from the Coast from late autumn to spring and this year received their first dusting of snow - at altitudes above 2,750m - at the beginning of October.  

It’s said that skiing conditions on the Andes mountain range in Latin America herald those of the Sierra Nevada, so if that is indeed the case, it bodes well for a long and idyllic season for mainland Europe’s most southerly winter sports resort dominated by Mount Mulhacén which, at 3,481m, is the highest peak on the Spanish peninsula. As HOT Properties goes to press, the pistes are expected to open on 1 December, with the official launch – including a cross-country ski demonstration and inaugural party two weeks later.

Sierra Nevada

An internationally acclaimed winter sports resort, Pradollano-Solynieve hosted the World Alpine Ski Championships in February 1996, and more recently, the Ladies Alpine Ski World Cup, Vodafone Skicross, and XXXIII National Veterans Trophy in 2007. Provisional dates for 2008 include the World Freestyle Cup in February, with the World Cup on the 23rd and the Andalusian Championships on the 24th, followed by the European Cup on 2 March and the Spanish Championships on 3 March.

Annually attracting more than a million visitors, keen skiers will find more than 70kms of pistes, from confidence-building nursery slopes to the dizzy heights of the daunting Olympic black run rising up to 3,400m with breathtaking views across the Mediterranean to Morocco’s Rif Mountains. In addition, there are various cross-country ski trails, including two challenging competition circuits in Pradollano and Borreguiles, where good technique and endurance are essential due to the altitude, length and terrain.

Not surprisingly, the Sierra Nevada has also spawned many fine artistic and acrobatic skiers who now have a dedicated Acro-Park on which to hone their skills, while snowboarders will also be in their element at this legendary winter sports resort where other activities also include carving, ice skating, snowmobiles, inflatable toboggans, dog sledges, pony trekking and horse-drawn sleighs. At weekends, floodlit skiing and snowboarding beneath a canopy of stars are other experiences just too fantastic to miss.

Sierra Nevada

With no fewer than 19 lifts, almost 32,000 passengers (and their skis) can be carried each hour, the Al-Andalus and Borreguiles gondolas, and the Genil and Jara chairlifts providing direct access to the pistes. There are bars and restaurants to suit all teates and budgets and if you should ever tire of the snowy slopes, or those members of the family who prefer a less active lifestyle, you can chill out in the leisure centre, kick back in the Montebajo Sports Club and pamper yourself with a comprehensive choice of relaxation, anti-stress, slimming, detox and beauty treatments, or even indulge in a spot of high altitude retail therapy in the shopping mall.

Infinitely more family friendly and much more reasonably priced than the majority of Western European winter sports resorts, as night falls and the slopes are bathed in moonlight, it’s time to enjoy the vibrant buzz of après ski with a wide selection of pubs, clubs and piano bars from which to choose, or if you prefer urban chic, then simply head for the stunning city of Granada, just 17km away.

Sierra Nevada

Close enough to the Costa del Sol to combine a morning on the pistes with an afternoon on the beach, for a longer visit there is also plenty of accommodation on offer in Pradollano itself, ranging from 4-star hotels to self-catering apartments, while other options include staying either in nearby Granada, or in the various villages that line the approach road – at 2,100m, the highest in mainland Europe.

Equipment hire is available in the resort, while on the Costa del Sol designer ski-wear, boots, gear and accessories are all readily available at major sports shops and from branches of El Corte Inglés. The Sierra Nevada peak season includes Christmas, New Year and Easter, so if you’re planning a visit during these times you’ll need to book in advance. Outside these periods, there are various reduced tariffs for ski passes of from two to 25 days’ duration, and ski and snowboard instruction is available in most European languages.

Official Sierra Nevada Website:
Sierra Nevada Call Centre:
Tel: (+34) 902 708 090
Information, Reservations & Weather Reports:
Tel: (+34) 958 249 11

Please note: Every effort was made to check the accuracy of the information contained within our archived HOT Properties Magazine articles at the time of originally going to press, but may well have been superseded over the ensuing years. They are now made available as historical archival information only. The said information has not been reviewed subsequently for present day accuracy nor has it been updated and we expressly disclaim any duty or obligation to do so. VIVA cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor for the authenticity of any claims or statements made by third parties. We therefore strongly recommend that readers of these archived articles make their own thorough checks before entering into any kind of transaction. Prices were correct at the time of publication but may now vary due to circumstances beyond our control. The views and opinions of editorial contributors do not necessarily reflect those of VIVA .

HOT Properties Magazine Issue 78 - 2007

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