Skiing in Spain
Information on the ski-resorts and facilities of Spain - mostly found in the mountains of the Spanish Pyrenees in northern Catalonia and Andorra, but also in the mountains north of Madrid. Where to go to downhill ski, snowboard, snowshoe or even heliski...
- Spain is Europe's second most mountainous country after Switzerland
- The Pyrenees has 200 summits over 2,000m and Pico d'Aneto (on the Spanish side) at 3,404m, is the highest point
- Andorra is the highest inhabited country in Europe, with no part of it below 870m.
- Moguls are the bumps created by skiers as they turn on the snow. Although many people dislike the bumps some runs are left "un-pisted" so they turn into mogul fields where the experts can brush up their technique
- Snow parks, also known as terrain parks, board parks, freestyle parks, slide areas (or simply, parks) are areas on the mountain which are specially designed to cater for the freestyle skier or boarder. There are rails, jumps, slope-style, big-air and a half-pipe for the more daring to try their skate inspired acrobatics
- The Sierra Nevada ski area near Granada is the most southerly ski resort in Europe
Skiing in Spain
Winter sports in Spain are managed by the Real Federación Española de Deportes de Invierno which manages the resorts across the country and ensures that skiers in Spain comply with the rules and regulations for mountain conduct of the International Ski Federation (FIS, Fédération Internationale de Ski)
- For information on the FIS 10 rules of conduct
The Spanish ski season runs from December to April, depending on snow conditions.
Many of the resorts offer a combination of pistes for downhill (esquí de descenso) and cross-country (esquí nórdico) skiing. Other mountain sports commonly available are paragliding, parasailing, hang gliding, ice-skating, snow shoe walking, sleigh riding and skidoo trips.
Heli-skiing is available in Spain, although illegal in France. It is a sport for the more advanced skier or snowboarder - a helicopter drops you at the top of a mountain and you ski down.
On the Slopes
Ski slopes - or pistes - are graded by difficulty:
A lift-pass (forfait) is needed to ski in a resort. Passes are available bought per day or per week. Photographic identity may be needed when buying a lift pass. Most resorts offer accommodation: hotels, apartments or chalets, and have shops selling or renting equipment. Most resorts also have ski schools for all levels.
Principality of Andorra
The Pyrenees mountain range runs along the border between France and Spain, with the small Principality of Andorra nestling in the middle. The mountain range is 400 Km long and 70 Km wide stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Mediterranean Sea in the east.
The Pyrenees and Andorra are in the Basque region and there is a strong French influence to the cuisine as well as the lifestyle. Andorran resorts are famous for their nightlife and cheaper prices (it is a tax haven). The official language is Catalan although French, Portuguese and Castilian Spanish is widely spoken.
Northern Spain and Catalonia
Although there are winter sports resorts all over Spain (with 36 ski resorts in the country) Catalonia has more than any other region, with 17 resorts, 130 ski-lifts and over 612 Km of skiable slopes (pistes).
The resorts are in the Catalonian provinces of Girona, Lleida and Barcelona and in the Huesca province of the Aragon region to the west of Catalonia.
- For a comprehensive guide to the Pyrenees resorts see website Ski Resort Info
Catalonian Pyrenees, Lleida Province
Min. altitude 1850m / Max altitude 2150m
33.5km cross-country skiing
Min altitude 1500m / Max altitude 2510m
Skiable area: 111km (104km downhill skiing, 7km cross-country skiing)
Min altitude 2020m / Max altitude 2750m
Skiable area: 42km downhill skiing
Min altitude 1500m / Max altitude 2500m
Skiable area: 31.5km downhill skiing
Min altitude 1950m / Max altitude 2330m
Skiable area: 36km Cross-country skiing
- Port Ainé
Skiable area: 54km, 44km downhill skiing and 10km Cross-country skiing
Min altitude 1650m / Max altitude 2440m
Skiable area: 40.7km downhill skiing
Min altitude 1700m / Max altitude 2400m
Skiable area: 22km, 5km downhill skiing and 17km Cross-country skiing
Min altitude 1750m / Max altitude 2250m
Min altitude 1700m / Max altitude 2050m
Skiable area: 37km Cross-country skiing
Catalonian Pyrenees, Girona Province
Min altitude 1700m / Max altitude 2445m
Skiable area: 54.5km, 51km downhill skiing, and 3.5km cross-country skiing
Min altitude 1600m / Max altitude 2537m
Skiable area: 61km downhill skiing
Min altitude 1964m / Max altitude 2252m
Skiable area: 7 downhill skiing
Min altitude 1959m / Max altitude 2535m
Skiable area: 15km downhill skiing
Catalonian Pyrenees, Barcelona Province
Min altitude 1850m / Max altitude 2050m
Skiable area: 13km, 8km downhill skiing and 5km Cross-country skiing
Mountains of Madrid
The winters on the Madrid plateau can be surprisingly cold and 50 Km to the north of Madrid there are ski resorts frequented by the Spanish royals and many other Madrileños during the winter. The mountain range of Sierra de Guadarrama has ski resorts that are open all winter for everything from downhill skiing to ice-skating and dog sledding.
The Federación Madrileña de Deportes de Invierno is the local federation for winter sports in Madrid with details of clubs and local weather and resorts.
At: Salas de los Infantes, 1, 5a planta, 28034 Madrid
Tel: 913 646 340
For those who cannot wait for the winter, Madrid has a Snowzone, indoor ski slope.
- For more information: Madrid Snow Zone
Resorts Madrid Province
Tel: 915 943 034
Fax: 915 942 134
Ski conditions information Tel: 918 521 435
At: Avda. de los Madroños 36A, ES-28043 Madrid
Tel: 902 882 328