|Spanish Pyrenees skiing: Stretching from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees separates France and Spain. With its location further south then the Alps, Pyrenees skiing sees more sunshine and less chances of avalanches, but does not match the powder conditions and vertical footage of the Alps.
Pyrenees skiing offers a season running from early December to mid-April, and although the height of the season sees the best snow, many Pyrenees skiing resorts have invested in snowmaking facilities.
The two major skiing areas in the Spanish Pyrenees are the Aragon Pyrenees, in the province of Huesca, and the Catalan Pyrenees.
The major ski resort in the Aragon Pyrenees is Astun which together with the neighbouring resort Candanchu, offers some excellent skiing and stunning scenery of the Pyrenees. There are nearly 90 kilometers of pistes including tough black runs to challenge the most proficient skiers.
The resorts are on the Spanish-French border in the center of the Pyrenees, 385 kilometers north west of Barcelona. Other ski resorts in the Aragon Pyrenees include the Panticosa, Formigal and Cerler ski resorts.
The ski resort of Masella is located in the Catalan Pyrenees. It is the second biggest resort in the Spanish Pyrenees, after Baqueira Beret, Spains oldest and largest resort. Baqueira Beret has a modern lift infrastructure and the resort is generally regarded as some of the most challenging in the Pyrenees, and most of it is above the treeline. Masella ski resort has its own microclimate which gives it the distinct advantage of receiving more sunshine hours than any of the other Pyrenean ski centers. Masella is located immediately to the south east of Andorra, 175 kilometers from Barcelona. Other ski resorts in the Catalan Pyrenees are: La Molina, Boi Taull, Espot, Port Del Comte, Port Aine, Tavascan, Vall de Nuria and Vallter 2000 Ski Resorts.
Sierra Nevada skiing: Sierra Nevada is Europe's most southern ski resort, with the Iberian peninsula's highest summits. The resort is located 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the center of Granada, and is only about a 40 minutes drive, depending on weather conditions and traffic. It is also only 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the coast (Costa Tropical), so it is actually possible to ski in the morning and relax on a Mediterranean beach in the afternoon. The ski season normally lasts from the beginning of December until the end of April.
The Sierra Nevada ski resorts are quite small compared to other European resorts. However, the facilities are considered top rate and it has therefore hosted numerous national and international ski events. In 1996, it hosted the World Alpine Ski Championship. Sierra Nevada has 61 kilometers of ski slopes with 45 pistes and 6-off-pistes routes for all levels, from complete beginners to expert skiers. There are 20 lifts, the highest ski lift and piste goes just below Veleta, which is at 3,398 meters. The ski resorts is open from 9am to 5pm, although you can ski at night at weekends and holidays. Night skiing was introduced in 1994 with lighting along the El Rio slope, which is 3 kilometers long and has a vertical drop of 545 meters.
The resorts village is called Pradollano and is located at an altitude of 2,100 meters. There is a range of accommodation in the village, from luxury hotels with first class facilities including health and fitness centers, to cheaper hotels and Alpine-style self catering apartments. There are many restaurants and bars in Pradollano and when the sun goes down, you'll find the village a lively nightspot with plenty of music bars and clubs.