For those of us lucky enough to live in Marbella, the Sierra Nevada is an open secret – ‘beach in the morning, skiing in the afternoon’! However many from outside the area do not realise that the Sierra Nevada – literally ‘snowy mountain range’ – is so close and provides great skiing for all skill levels.
In just under two hours, Marbella residents can be on the slopes of one of the most southerly ski stations in Europe, and even though it is on the same latitude as Cyprus, the Sierra Nevada has one of the longest European ski seasons running generally from late November to early March.
With 115 ski runs totalling 107 kilometres, there is a range of levels to suit everyone. The Sierra Nevada doesn’t only cater to skiers, however, with also an almost six kilometre cross country ski track, as well as the largest ‘Sulayr’ snowpark. Not surprisingly, the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships took place here in 2017.
Ivar Dahl is very familiar with the area, having been a long-time visitor. He had a chance to have a chat with Ingemar Stenmark, a Swedish former World Cup alpine ski racer who won the World Cup giant slalom in 1977 in the Sierra Nevada. Stenmark, widely esteemed to be one of the most successful Swedish athletes of all and certainly the ‘greatest slalom and giant slalom specialist of all time’, told Ivar, “ The Sierra Nevada is fantastic! It’s warm and sunny, the snow is great, there are even three grand slalom slopes! I’ll definitely be back in my own time, I loved the Sierra Nevada!”
Indeed, counterintuitively it is the sun that is one of the great attractions here, with almost guaranteed clear-days skiing. However, should the snow take its time coming, there is a sophisticated network of 350 snow canons, meaning that a great day’s skiing is almost guaranteed.