After several months wandering the beautiful streets of Granada city centre, I thought it was time to venture upwards into the breath-taking mountains of Sierra Nevada. An early bus from Calle Neptuno (the main pick up and drop off point for the Best Life Experience trips), we were whisked away from the warm, tropical south of Spain to the magical snow covered slopes. The resort is only around 40 minutes from the centre of Granada and there are frequent Alsa buses from the bus station if you prefer not to go with Best Life Experience.
The price was pretty reasonable for skiing and snow boarding from what people have told me. Best Life Experience offered a full day skiing pass with skis included, travel there and back and a breakfast for a total of 65 euros. The cost of renting equipment wasn’t too bad either; a helmet, salopettes and a ski jacket came to a total of 21 euros. The journey up offered insane views of the mountains and it was truly impossible to not jump about with excitement. Definitely have Snapchat and Instagram at the ready. Stepping off the bus was a shock to the system as the temperature was not “Spanish” like, but there are guys selling skiing gloves and hats in the car park for 10 euros so don’t worry if you have forgotten warm clothes or just didn’t think to bring a woolly hat and gloves to Spain.
However, there was a downside about going with a company. They had managed to get a deal with one of the renting shops to rent the ski equipment to us as part of the package (I know, what a shame. I didn’t have to pay as much money…). But there was a large group of us and it took a ridiculously long time to actually get the equipment sized and on. It doesn’t sound that bad but when you are champing at the bit to get on the slopes it is very difficult to be patient. I would say if you are not a beginner and you know what you are doing and what you need, its probably best to get your skis from a different shop. I think it’s around the same price and you won’t have to wait around outside for an hour and a half, especially when you only have a certain amount of time there and you want to get your monies worth.
The resort/ village itself is very pretty with many restaurants and shops for renting or buying the best skiing gear. When I went it was a feira – everyone was off on Monday – so there was such a good atmosphere. There are also lots of cosy bars which I recommend going to after you have skied.
After a long and tense wait I was ready for my first experience of skiing. I didn’t realise how much I was going to enjoy the cable cars to travel up to the slopes. I can’t explain how amazing the views were, especially as they contrasted with my usual surroundings which were only 40 minutes away. I recommend that when you get on the gondola that you savour these moments and really take in the view as, if you are a beginner like me, the rest of the time you are sticking-your-tongue-out-of-your-mouth-concentrating. When we finally got to the slopes I was a little nervous as the green slopes (seemingly the easiest) looked pretty steep and scary from the bottom. A short wait to get on the ski lift and you were subjected to beautiful views again. I was very lucky as the weather was fantastic and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. At the top I still had some nerves but I was dying to try it out. I was even more determined when I noticed every second person was a child of about ten years old, who were making it look so easy. I didn’t get a lesson which I don’t regret; who wants to spend more money than they need to. Fortunately, my friend had been skiing before so she told me how to stop and off I went. After falling several times – some because I lost my balance, others because I was going too fast and couldn’t stop so decided to chuck myself on the ground – I eventually got the hang of it. And oh my it was a good feeling.
By the time we had to catch the bus I was exhausted. I had definitely used muscles that I hadn’t before. To get back down to the resort you could either ski all the way down or you could get the cable cars. At this point my body was aching, I was weak with hunger and I my legs were shaking because I was so cold. So yeah, I was boring and got the cable cars. However, in hindsight I am glad that I opted for this option because my friends took the fun route down and they were beaten by the end of it. They also encountered a red slope which I hadn’t tried yet and I probably would have bum-shuffled my way down it. Although, the cable cars weren’t boring in the slightest; the views were breath-taking. Plus, you could laugh at all the people struggling to get back down the slope as you took the relaxing ride down.
The ski shop that we hired the equipment from was only a five minute walk from the end of the slope but it took me for what seemed like forever. I really need to get the knack of carrying skies and walking in ski boots. As I trundled back to the shop I was met with glorious smells of patatas bravas from the surrounding restaurants and my stomach started making very strange noises. Eventually I handed all my rented equipment back in and caught the bus just in time.
All in all, it was a great day and I hope to be returning soon. I would say that Sierra Nevada is a great resort with lots of facilities, not to mention the value for money. But I would say what’s best about it is the fantastic and memorable views. To all you professional skiers, I would say that you should definitely take a trip here. However, to all those beginners like me, I would say you should definitely try this resort out but keep in mind to rent a helmet, eat potatoes beforehand and learn how to stop.