Skiing in The Spanish Sierra Nevada Mountains

Although we awoke to a forecast of 20 degrees the following day we had planned to trek up to the Sierra Nevada ski region above Granada as the conditions and forecast for the next few days up there were also perfect. We had not skied for 4 years and in the interim Paul had had an operation on his knee so we thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to try it out. The drive up there was spectacular and the road by mountain standards a very good one . We had the co-ordinates of an aire which is located above the village 2400 metres. Although the aire was open there was no electric hook up so we opted to stay in the parking area below which was free to park (GPS 36.098884 -3.394046).  As we hadn’t planned to ski as part of our trip unfortunately we had no clothing or ski gear with us so needed to find somewhere to hire it all so after lunch we caught the ski bus to the village. We quickly managed to locate a store that was able to help with our clothing, skis and boots at cost of 95 Euros. With that part sorted our next task was to go in search of some cheap ski gloves which we managed to find for 10 euros each in a general store along with some socks for Paul. With us now kitted out we went to pre-purchase our lift pass so that we could head straight for the slopes the next morning.

The drive to the Sierra Nevada and village views

A visit to tourist info told us that the 1st ski bus was at 8.40am so we intended to be up early and on the slopes before the crowds. The temperature overnight was forecast to drop to -8 so we kept our heating on low overnight but found that our boiler was struggling in the cold and making all sorts of noises we’d never heard before. A call to Alde heating informed us that the control panel that was fitted alongside it as standard is not really suitable for high altitude and that when we next get back to the UK we should get it exchanged for the new version which would allow us to set the altitude therefore making it compatible. We just hope it holds out in these temperatures.

Feeling both excited and nervous in equal measures we set an alarm and after a filling breakfast of muesli, fresh fruit, yoghurt and honey we hopped on the 1st bus to the village to collect our gear. The sky was a picture perfect blue and the air cold and crisp, so once kitted out we took our 1st gondola lift up the mountain to face the moment of truth. I think we’d both forgotten the full extent of the exhilaration we’d felt in the past when skiing, simply gliding down the slopes in the fresh mountain air is both thrilling and breathtaking. Although it hadn’t snowed since 27th January the slopes were well groomed if a little compacted. As we gingerly clicked our skis on it was the moment of truth – time to see if Paul’s knee would hold up and if we both could remember what had previously come naturally. A long blue run which was a little icy and steep in places took us all the way back to the village. Despite my hire boots being extremely uncomfortable, we couldn’t wait to get back up there again so after a quick coffee stop and some boot adjustment we were back on the lift. I’ll admit to being pleasantly surprised by the extent of the Sierra Nevada Ski area, with over 100km’s of piste it offers a varied choice of slopes for all abilities. With Paul’s knee in mind and the fact that our insurance doesn’t cover us for winter sports this year we decided just to stick to blue runs for the day which would give us the opportunity to get our legs back in without being on anything too challenging and putting ourselves in undue danger. Paul’s knee held up brilliantly and he can’t wait to get back on skis again and despite being hindered by my uncomfortable hire boots I am now working on Paul to get Boris geared up for a future ski trip!

Our day on the slopes

After an exhausting day on the slopes we made our way back to Boris to have a relaxing evening. The temperature was set to drop to -11 overnight so we were keeping fingers crossed that our heating would cope. Despite noisy groans from the boiler we were super cosy and the only thinking to suffer was our plastic waste pipe which despite leaving it open was frozen solid by the next morning. With heavy snow forecast for that night we needed to head back down the mountain as we weren’t carrying snow chain,s so prepared ourselves for a long drive back to the coast.

Changing mountain weather beautiful sunsets & thick fog

Although an expensive day trip at around 230 euros it was worth every penny for us to establish if Paul could still ski comfortably. Maybe next time we will carry our own gear then all we need to buy is the lift pass at 45 euros.

Feeling accomplished

Andi & Paul xxx

 

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