The Sierra Nevada opened its 2014/2015 season last weekend with exciting changes for winter sport lovers. The ski resort has announced new routes on artificial snow, and the addition of night time runs, an activity that has gained more followers over the last few years.
This year the concessionaire has invested €3.1 million in improvements such as extending areas of snow that is produced in the area of Loma de Dilar, new ‘pisa-pistas’ machines for levelling the snow, and a much needed renewal of the Zayas ski lifts.
In addition, there are upgrades in the shopping areas of the resort and on the website, with a new format which is much more attractive and with more information of interest for the visitors, such as the weather forecast, the thickness of the snow and the kilometres available for skiing.
Sierra Nevada has frozen the price of the ski pass for the fourth consecutive season, with an opportunity for an advanced purchase of a ten day ski pass with a €12.50 discount.
In regards to events, the resort will host about thirty competitions of all disciplines and categories including the Granada Winter Universiade 2015. The Universiade will be the most important event to be held next winter, because so many improvements have been carried out in recent years to prepare for the different parts of the competition, and also the World Championships of Snowboarding and Freestyle is to be held in 2017.
Among the new developments something that stands out is the addition of three snow-grooming machines, with the capacity to cover the whole resort – 19 machines in total – guaranteeing a skiable surface of 382 acres to the visitors, and also the construction of new sports venues for national and international competitions.
The new models of machines improve both the power consumption and the gas emissions, also with larger displacement pumps and hydraulic motors.
There is also a new snowmobile for the rescue services that operate on the slopes.
As for the night-time skiing, there has been lighting added to the Maribel run, between Borreguiles and Pradollano, which has almost doubled the opportunity for this type of activity in the winter season (now 5.8 kilometres in length), which was pioneered in Spain with the use of artificial lighting.
Night skiing has been possible in the Sierra Nevada since the mid nineties, originally on the El Río slope on Saturday nights, but last season it was extended to Thursday nights as well to encourage fans of winter sports who are staying at the resort during the weekdays.
The opening of the night time skiing on the Maribel slope (2088 metres), together with Zaragatillo (271 metres) and the access to the cable car (150) – creates more opportunities for this activity which has become more popular in recent seasons and the El Rio slope (3258 metres) is open from 7pm to 10pm on Thursday and Saturday nights.
The extension of night time skiing in Sierra Nevada is linked to new ‘Non Stop’ initiatives launched last season in the resort, which include the ‘Primeras Huellas’ (First Footprints), which offers the possibility of skiing on Sundays from 7.30am to 9.00am in the Loma de Dílar area, before the normal time that the slopes are scheduled to open at.
This summer the resort has expanded its snow production with the installation of 17 new manufacturing sites in the area of Loma de Dílar, able to cover the whole journey from the Monachil chairlift, the last big lift from the centre of the skiable area which used to have sections where it was not possible to ski.
From now on, the runs that emerge from the chairlifts of the middle zone are covered by the new artificial snow system, which means the opening of up to 35 kilometres (145 acres) of pistes spread over 44 runs.
The new system of snowmaking, put into place this summer, has installed 1,200 metres of pipes in two sections: the top of the Loma de Dilar and La Visera, and another section located further down the the Villen slope. Between the two sections they have marked out 17 points with automatic cannons full of snow.
This facility joins up to the system of artificial snow that exists in Loma de Dílar, and especially in several key points of the Sulayr snowpark. It will be of benefit both to tourists and for the competitions in different categories like snowboarding, freestyle and alpine skiing.
The Visera, the iconic mogul run of the Sierra Nevada, will take the most advantage of the extension of the snow coverage because two points of artificial snow production have been installed at the top of the slope.
The other aspect to the sport – the competitive side – also benefits greatly from the new system of artificial snow which ensures complete coverage over the Villen slope (also in Loma de Dílar), where snowboarding races usually take place.
Skiing and snowboarding are not the only activities that the Sierra Nevada offers.
Pradollano has an ice rink, children’s sledges and slides with inflatable donuts so that the whole family can enjoy the snow.
Courtesy: Sur in English
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