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Sierra Nevada

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Been watching a bit of the Freestyle Worlds this week. Sierra Nevada might be a perfectly functional ski area, but it sure ain't pretty! These champs certainly aren't selling it to me!

I dare say the bare patches and the brown snow doesn't help. I assume the snow colour is due to the sand/dust/desert thing as opposed to mud coming through?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@hammerite, sand dust desert? Are we on about Sierra Nevada in Spain? The terrain there is rocks all over. I've been in summer and the only comparison I can give, is that it's like skiing in a slate mine quarry. Very little grass but I'm not sure what you mean about sand/desert?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Dust blows over from Africa and coats the snow turning it a yellowy brown colour.

I can't remember where we were one week but it was somewhere in the Alps and the snow was a yellowy colour as it had been coated with dust blown over probably from the Sahara. There were quite a few photos of it on here at the time.

I can get the slate mine thing, I said to the OH that the town reminded me of a Welsh village.
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Skied it yonks ago. It's a bit weird skiing and looking at the Med in the distance. It's a good day (or 2) out if you're in the area, I wouldn't make a week long destination of it. We were staying with friends near Malaga.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Here we are, this is what it's like. The website this is from confirms that it's Sierra Nevada and dust from the Sahara.

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You'll need to Register first of course.
I was there a couple of weeks ago for a couple of days; it's a great little resort! The brown "off piste" was somewhat disconcerting at first, I'll admit. But decent conditions underfoot and a decent uplift system too. I'll be going back in April for a day or two, really enjoyed it there.

The observatory and satellite dish are like something out of James Bond, and there's a few runs that make it feel like skiing on the moon. definitely really nice to do something different to "traditional" Alpine skiing though. 4 euros for a pint in resort was somewhat different to the French experience too....
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Was in Andorra a week ago and it was like that but not nearly so bad - guides were indeed talking about Saharan sand.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I live 200 Km away from Sierra Nevada and I usually go there a couple of times every season. This is a rare phenomenon that it isn't usual. Normally the Sierra is nicer and more beautiful. It has not slopes between trees because of the high altitude. But thanks to it you can find good snow even in the late season and in spite of being in South Europe.

And, usually, the snow is white there Madeye-Smiley
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Some of the riders at the Freestyle championships have been less than complementary about the FIS's decision to host an event at the Sierra Nevada at this time of year.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Richard_Sideways wrote:
Some of the riders at the Freestyle championships have been less than complementary about the FIS's decision to host an event at the Sierra Nevada at this time of year.

Yeah, I saw James Woods was pretty scathing about the whole affair.

I'm hoping to go there for a couple of days in mid-April, which is sounding more and more optimistic as each (sunny) day goes by....
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Dav wrote:
I was there a couple of weeks ago for a couple of days; it's a great little resort! The brown "off piste" was somewhat disconcerting at first, I'll admit. But decent conditions underfoot and a decent uplift system too. I'll be going back in April for a day or two, really enjoyed it there.

The observatory and satellite dish are like something out of James Bond, and there's a few runs that make it feel like skiing on the moon. definitely really nice to do something different to "traditional" Alpine skiing though. 4 euros for a pint in resort was somewhat different to the French experience too....


We went the other week and were lucky to get some snow for a day, was good the next day but melted so quickly. Enjoyed it but like others have said wouldnt go for longer than a couple of days. We commented on how bad it was going to be for the championships and were glad we werent going to be jumping or doing moguls in those conditions

The main thing I learned from skiing there was to wear suncream, my god did I get burnt in one afternoon.

The satalite dish was indeed pretty cool but the other thing we found there that Ive not seen at any resorts before was the sausage tree, this needs to be incorporated into the other typical skiing dishes. I think if it came with a fondue or a raclette it would be the greatest skiing meal ever



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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Mollerski wrote:
Skied it yonks ago. It's a bit weird skiing and looking at the Med in the distance. It's a good day (or 2) out if you're in the area, I wouldn't make a week long destination of it. We were staying with friends near Malaga.


I was thinking of trying it out. Recent snow record looks a bit dodgy, but maybe that is just dodgy statistics. Am I right in thinking that weekdays (when lift pass is cheaper), are a better bet in season?

The bus from Granada is about 5 Euros each way and takes an hour. So I was hoping to avoid staying there, and maybe have a few nights in Granada.

Anyone here used the bus?

I would probably have to hire skis and boots, as a couple of days skiing is not worth the ski carriage costs.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Bigtipper, as I understand it, SN was open at the start of last season before a lot of the major Alpine resorts were. I'm certainly hoping for an early season trip there myself in December for a couple of days, so I'll be paying close attention to the snow reports from November onwards.

I've not done the bus before, only driven as I have an apartment on the coast. The drive is wonderfully easy and the whole set-up for parking is really good. Everything that I've read about the resorts states that weekends get busy but weekdays are quiet; although I was there once on a public holiday and the lift queues and pistes were absolutely fine.

There's loads of ski hire shops in resort so no worries there. Accommodation in resort is definitely pretty expensive though, so it's worth staying off-site even if it does increase the journey time day by day.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I have just done four midweek days in the SN. A few thoughts not a formal TR.

Stayed a couple of nights at the Mont Blanc for one night - perfectly adequate, reasonably priced, a bit dated, well located and good breakfast buffet.

If you have not been there before it is quite a strong out resort up a hillside with I think a bus service, paying, I think, around the resort. Access lifts are at the top and bottom of the resorts although there is a funny slow chairlift that goes part way up the resort on which you need to carry everything as it is not permitted to wear skis on it. Parking is expensive - the locals seem to park a bit out and walk - ther are loads of car parks - apart from the main underground and fairly expensive car park - sort of 10 euros for a day trip and 20 euros per 24 hours (I say sort of because there is variable/seasonal pricing as there is on the lift passes - eg weekends are more expensive and mid week may be promocional, low medium or high). The other car parks are badly signed and I am not sure the top one has a ski hire or not - it does have a café and ski pass sale outlet. and is only 5 euros a day.

First time we arrived on a snowy Sunday - were very confused as to whether we would need chains or not - it transpired we did not to get to the main resort but had we had to go the top of the resort we probably would have - the signage as always was useless - at km 32 - well you had to know where km 32 was. There was clearly an absolute shambles later on leaving the resort on a Sunday night as the traffic jam in town was horrendous - presumably allowing the snow ploughs and gritters to clear the way down - 3 hour traffic jam for those unfortunate enough to be trying to leave.

Remember this resort is over 2000 metres high so when it snows it snows.

Otherwise I did day trips from the Costa Tropical - on a clear day the drive is fab and the road to resort excellent - wide with some three lane passing stretches - very well signed from Granada motorway. Oh do watch tunnel speed limits in Spain they do occasionally have camera units.........

Ski hire - depends where you go - need to research or shop around - I got some for 12 euros for first day and 6 for second but one place charged me 16 first time and when I went back second time tried to charge me 22 and then came down to 17 - went back to first place and preferred Head ski to Fisher anyway.

Oh, and for those of us in early middle age (....!) we get a 10% discount on lift tickets at age 60 - take passport - apparently free over 70. Day pass is around 40 euros - see above depends on season/day of week. For a 60 something year old varied from 36 -38 euros.

So to the skiing - a week would be too long I think but there is some good skiing - aim for the laguna sector - perhaps slightly shadier and high - bottom lift is 2600 metres, top is 3295 off which there are some excellent red runs. If you wished to you can ski a c 1200 metres vertical back tot he bottom at Pradollano in the main bowl. But Laguna was the sector I enjoyed most and as it is really only served by a fast quad chair, and a Tbar from the main sector, it is relatively quiet compared to many major resorts. Runs are all graded red. If you take the furthest right piste going up the chairlift you go along a ridge with some fabulous views down to the Med and as the "book" says across to Africa.

Fresh snow and tracks - it is very much an intermediate resort but after fresh snow we found the ability at even 10am to make fresh tracks on piste - let alone along the edge of the piste on a red. Unfrotunately, that dau the Laguna sector as closed but on a fresh dump day it must be brilliant for offpiste and not too steep off piste at that.

I have not really talked about the main bowl - it I the centre of activity with some fast lifts - some greens and a lot of blues and the odd red/black going down into it from the sides - great for sharpening up the carving skills.

I was lucky with the weather - sunny and hot - not the place to be caught in a white out as above the tree line. Wind can be annoying as it is a very exposed resort and there were times when some of the lifts seemed to run slow or even stop for no apparent reason - wind being my personal theory. For a high resort some fo the south west facing runs were really suffering in the sun and by my fourth visit after very little other than a dusting of new snow the runs on the far left of the resort looking up hill were either closed or snowbare.

Piste map - as ever confusing - what became clear was that most of the main fast lifts enabled access to the Laguna sector without having to take the dreaded T bar - just traverse across to the bottom of the Tbar and straight across the very wide piste.

Snow making is good in the main bowl but around the edges and Laguna sector it looked pretty lacking really - it is a high resort and there was always a rumour that it benefited when rest of Europe had a bad snow year but may be it is the opposite this year when there has been relatively limited natural snow. the Spanish are vey proud of their snow making but compared to eg the Sella Ronda it is pretty average.

Oh and a word of warning here reds are usually marked with an "experts only" warning - errrrr! So don't panic!

Midweek - queues - what are they?

Eating/drinking - didn't do much on mountain exploration - the places at the top of the gondola all seemed to be self service - and didn't seem very atmospheric - being used to Austrian/Italian huts - they were perhaps disappointing but, of course, due to the resort height there probably never were many shepherds huts to subsequently convert into eateries. Tbh I cheated and skied back to resort for lunch/beer where there were plenty of readily available E11.50 three course menus del dia and beer seemed to work out at around E4-4.50 for a half litre. Service was unusually for Spain very variable when, of course, speed is desired to get in the skiing - one of the closest Rincon de Maria was disappointingly variable but Le Bistrot - slightly more into town - 50 yards? was excellent but by then I had probably passed half a dozen places and put my back bottom down in one and then moved next door to the Bistrot when it was clear no no-one was in any hurry to serve me and I could see the Bistrot man had a sense of urgency about him.

Evenings seemed to be good for action compared to Baqueira, my only previous experience of a Spanish ski resort - Pradollano was lively with lots of people out eating and drinking post day's skiing.

Summary - great for a day or two day trip - may be even 3 but the main bowl is a bit samey and once you have explored Laguna and some nice reds oo9ut off the other side of the bowl down towards the Parador sector you have done most of it. Great for getting your ski legs back before a proper trip.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Excellent report, thank you. Looking forward to becoming a regular at SN when we finally get around to buying a place on the Costa Tropical.
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