The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort in Granada Province is the only place in the world you can combine a winter sun holiday with a ski holiday. It’s one of Andalusia’s best kept secrets that is barely an hour from the sunny warm winters of the coast and is the best and largest ski resort in Spain. Sierra Nevada, which hosted the 1996 world Championships, has over a 100km of pistes ranging from the impossibly steep World Cup Downhill runs to a huge selection of easy learner pistes.

The ski season in the Sierra Nevada begins in December and can continue into May, depending on the weather. The 2012 season is now over and was a great success. Many visitors to Nerja took the opportunity to combine their winter sunshine break with a skiing trip and local holiday company Ski and Sea had a successful winter organising excursions to the mountains. ‘Ski and Sea’ provide all inclusive skiing day trips and complete ski package holidays from their base in Nerja, equipping holiday makers with everything they need; clothes, ski equipment, transport, lift passes, lessons and guiding from their accredited Snowsport Scotland Alpine Ski leader.

Now that the final flakes of snow have fallen on the 2012 season in Sierra Nevada and the lifts have drawn to a halt, Ski and Sea founder Jonathan Semple looks back over the company’s first full winter season.

The Highlights of the Year

We started the season in Christmas week taking Dennis, a businessman from Manchester, on a day’s skiing. He enjoyed it so much he came back for another day that very same week!

January’s highlight was undoubtedly skiing with the group from Burriana’s OLAS bar. With almost a dozen of them our organisation abilities and resources were put to a real test which I am proud to say we passed admirably. The star of their show was Amber who’d swapped her skateboard for a snowboard and made it down from the main Ski station to the resort village on the 3km long Rio piste on her first day. No hanging around at the lights waiting for her! She took her snowboard skills straight from red to green.

In February we had the Seamours stay with us and took them on a voyage of discovery to the Snowy Mountains (Sierra Nevada in Spanish!). We gave Mrs. S. private lessons where she overcame all her fears and transformed her skiing. Their 6ft teenage son wasn’t afraid of anything and gave our professional ski guide a run for his money. We were able to go on a tour of the whole mountain which included a heroic descent of El Fuente del Tesoro, the most difficult black run in the resort. The family loved the whole experience so much they want to come back and buy a holiday home in the area later this year!

A change of tack in March when we took an all girl group of total beginners from Nerja up for their first taste of snow since they left the UK many winters ago. We made sure we went in style by hiring a brand new Nissan Jeep with only 5 miles on the clock for the trip up. The journey up the mountain itself is as much a part of the day out as the skiing. We often need to stop to take photographs of the breathtaking views.

Our last trip of the year was with a group from Smugglers Inn on Avenue Castilla Perez. We had a great day out and the boys were taking the lift up the mountain and skiing unsupervised by the end of it. Amazing progress and a fun day out for everyone. We were also lucky enough to witness some of this year’s FIS world junior Snowboarding championship which was hosted at Sierra Nevada’s brand new spectacular Sulayr Snowpark, home to the largest half pipe in Spain. Seeing is believing. It’s easily big enough to park a couple of lorries in.

There is Always Next Year

We have just taken a delivery of snow blades, which are essentially the same as normal skis but much much shorter. They feel more like wearing ice skates than skis and are great fun. More importantly they are easy to learn on. We have already tested them on a total beginner and we’re confident that from now on we’ll be able to get everyone out and about on the ski slopes within just an hour or two of arriving; regardless of age or sporting prowess.

So roll on next season. With the A7 motorway finally scheduled to be finished this year we’ll soon be able to get you from the Sea to the Ski even faster. See you all in December!

If you are interested in finding out more information on organised trips to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort you can visit the Ski and Sea website or send Jonathan Semple an email.

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