The adrenalin rush that I got as I sped down the snow-covered slope was something that I will never forget. Stopping was a bit more of a problem, but somehow I managed to bring myself to a halt without causing any damage.
Some people have a list of things they want to experience before they die. Skiing was not on mine. However, here at the Sierra Nevada, the most southern ski resort in Europe, I got my first taster.
Maybe it was the combination of the heady atmosphere, the thrill on small children’s faces at they took their first steps, the sun shining and the spectacular views that coerced me to do an activity that took me completely out of my comfort zone.
|Sierra Nevada Ski Resort|
Courtesy of the Spanish Tourist Office
From the moment I had put on my ski boots and had taken my first steps on the Magic Carpet conveyor belt which takes you to the nursery slopes, I knew there was no turning back.
I was with two other girls that also had never skied. Our instructor was really good and could sense our nervousness. After my first fall – I wasn’t hurt – I had enough courage to “ski” down the small slope. It is something that I am so pleased that I actually accomplished.
All the exercise had left us famished, so before we returned our hired ski equipment, we enjoyed a delicious lunch of grilled meats at one of the many restaurants. Sitting outside with the sun beating down, in the middle of winter, drinking in the vistas of the peaks, the pistes and dots in the distant that were stretches of beaches was rather special.
This resort, a world of sports, has approximately 105 km (65 miles) of slopes. From steep and challenging to the nursery slopes, it caters for skiers of all levels. There are plenty of schools if you want to take the sport up. If you have a bit of daredevil lurking inside and fancy trying skiing under the stars, the lit-up El Rio piste is waiting for you on Saturdays.
|The sun sets over the Sierra Nevada|
The Sierra Nevada is perfect if your idea of a dream break, summer or winter, consists of a helping of sports, a swim at the beach and the attractions of an historic city, all peppered with warming rays. The Andalucía region has an average of 320 days of sunshine a year. The winters are particularly mild. It is only 32km (20 miles) from the historic city of Granada and a short drive from the coast. You could be skiing in the morning and dipping your toes in the ocean in the afternoon.
The ski season usually runs from the beginning of December until early May. If skiing isn’t your bag, you will find plenty of other activities to keep you entertained in the Sierra Nevada. The resort village, Pradollano, pulsates with energy, especially at night.
Awash with hotels, restaurants, bars and shops, it is almost a destination in itself. You could easily while away a few hours here during the day at a café taking in the mountain air while enjoyed a glass of wine or hot chocolate.
If you prefer something more energetic without having to wear skis, head to El Miro Blanco. This family leisure centre offers a host of activities ranging from ice skating to slides to the Russian Sleigh. My favourite was a ride on a toboggan. It brings the child out in you.
After so much activity aching limbs deserve a treat. So a quick visit to relax at the Yhi Wellness Spa at the Meliá Sierra Nevada is just what you need. I’m sure its hydrogenating baths have revitalised many a weary skier!
By Daralyn Danns
British Airways flies to Granada from London City Airport four times a week and costs from £59 one way. (Price includes free onboard food and bar service and 23kg of free checked baggage allowance.) For more information visit www.britishairways.com/travel/london-city-airport
I stayed at the Hotel Carmen, Granada (www.hotelcarmen.com). Rooms from €115
For more information on Granada and Sierra Nevada Ski Resort visit www.turgranada.es and www.spain.info