On a clear day, you can see North Africa's coastline from the upper slopes of Spain's Sierra Nevada ski resort. This is Europe's southernmost ski resort, and with it comes the sunniest slopes.
Sierra Nevada (2100m-3300m) has a total of 105 pistes spread over 120 kilometres of terrain. Skiing in Sierra Nevada is suitable for all levels: 18 green, 40 blue, 50 red and eight black.
OnTheSnow's Javier Gonzalez has put together an itinerary for how to spend three days in Sierra Nevada . . .
Skiing in Sierra Nevada can be divided into three distinct areas: Borreguiles, Loma Dilar and Laguna de las Yeguas. Borreguiles is the central hub of the resort and the majority of major lifts are accessed from Pradollano. Intermediates wanting to practice turns should hit the blue runs from the Veleta chairlift, while more confident skiers take the six-seater Stadium chairlift up to the varied red runs. From here you can also access the eastern slope of the central valley "Cauchiles" which is an ideal place to avoid the crowds during weekend or holidays. "The Eagle" is the longest run in the resort (6km/1,200-metre vertical) and offers spectacular views of the San Juan valley.
Dining options . . . For lunch on the mountain, try La Alcazaba. Sample a la carte dining, particularly the barbecued meats, on the large sun terrace with far-reaching views. For dinner, try the delicious apres-ski tapas at The Carthusian in the village.
Slopes of Sierra Nevada. Courtesy of Jexweber.fotos
Starting again from Borreguiles, but this time access the Zayas ski lift, offering access to the steeper descents from the summit of Veleta as well as access to the beautiful, spacious valley of the Laguna de las Yeguas - the place of choice for advanced skiers and snowboarders. From near El Veleta, you'll get stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of northern Morocco. The long, wide tracks, many with steep descents, are often thick with powder.
Dining options . . . For a snack hit the La Laguna Kiosk, near the lower station of the Laguna chairlift. Or for something more substantial, the Nevasol restaurant is a log cabin restaurant serving paella and barbecue on a sun terrace next to the lower station of the Veleta chairlift. For an evening meal, we recommend the Italian restaurant, Floren, with its famous wood oven.
Centre of Sierra Nevada. Courtesy of Jexweber.fotos
For your final day, hire a guide and hit Sierra Nevada's ample off-piste terrain: Tajos de la Virgen, Tubos de Pradorredondo, Tubo de Cauchiles, Ascensor, Fuente del Tesoro, and Valle de San Juan.
Back on the pites, the Montebajo area features several blue and black runs. It is also home to the Sulayr snowpark with lines for all levels of freestylers. There's a permanent half-pipe which is 165 feet long, six feet high and is adapted to FIS standards for major competitions. Do you dare try it?
Dining options . . . Hit Montebajo fast food hut, which sells sandwiches, burgers and salads, and is situated between the upper station of the Monachil and Jara lifts. For a proper sit-down lunch, a good option is the Genil pizzeria at the foot of the chairlift Stadium, which serves pasta and pizza.
So head on south, but don't forget the sunscreen!
More information on skiing in Sierra Nevada