Skiing was on my bucket list. I have never done it before and knew if I did I would love it or hate it. So only one way to find out and this weekend we were invited by friends to go to Sierra Nevada – about two hours drive from our home in Arroyo de la Miel.
We set off at 7am Friday morning, all excited and a little nervous. Arriving at the resort we had to first find parking, then go an check-in for our skiing lesson and collect our equipment. We didn’t really know where to go and by the time we got there we had missed the 10am lesson, but to worry, we can do it at 12 instead. So we went for a much needed coffee before returning to the ski hire shop. It was total chaos, a lot of people crammed in to a very small space, all trying to put on ski suits and boots. We then had to find the ticket office to buy ski passes, which took longer than anticipated, as we took a while to find where it was and then it was a big queue. It was 11.45am so we asked for passes for the rest of today and tomorrow, then dashed over to the ski lift (not easy wearing those big ski boots with heavy skis to carry!). They told us our tickets weren’t good until 1pm – why could they not have told us that at the ticket office? Yes, we missed the 12pm ski lesson!
Arriving up the mountain via cable car, there was just a sea of people! My friends put on their skis and encouraged me to do the same, and off they skied. All I had to do ‘to stop’ I was told was pull in the skis to a point at the front. Whoaaaaa, not so easy! Twice I fell over, having only gone a few feet! Totally lost confidence so went and waited for my friends from the safety of a wall.
But all was not lost – we made the 2pm lesson! And boy did I need it! There’s a lot more to stopping, I discovered! For two hours I practised and practised and actually managed to ski down the baby slopes, with the help and encouragement of a fantastic, very patient teacher! I was so pleased with myself and couldn’t wait for the next day when I could improve and even manage a bigger slope.
Exhausted, we went to the hotel, which was about ten minutes drive away, further up the mountain. It felt so good to get out of the six layers of clothing I’d been wearing all day! That evening we all met with some more friends, who were also staying there, for drinks and dinner, while watching the snow falling outside – how cosy!
The next morning we awoke to white everywhere – the mountain had disappeared behind a white cloud, our car had disappeared under a few feet of snow, and the snow was still falling! After breakfast we had to dig the car out so that we could drive back to the resort to return our ski equipment – there was no way I would ski with that lack of visibility, although the more experienced skiers did. That meant no lesson and no more practising for me – til next time! So instead of skiing we found a cosy little wine bar and had a couple of glasses of wine and tapas.
We left the resort, having had a wonderful time, despite only managing two hours skiing, with great trepidation. The snow was still falling and the roads very icy. It took, what seemed like forever to get down that mountain, stopping every so often to wipe the ice from the windscreen wipers. About half way down the police were stopping vehicles that didn’t have snow tyres or snow chains, and coincidently there was some men there selling and fitting snow chains for €60. It had taken a couple of hours to get half way down the mountain so we thought it was worth paying for them, to make the second half a bit easier. The funny thing was, once we finally reached tarmac (which we nearly got out and kissed we were so happy!), none of us had any clue how to remove the snow chains! But we managed eventually!
One of the good things about driving very slowly down the mountain was being able to take lots of photos of the spectacular scenery! It was like a winter wonderland.
Overall, a fantastic weekend, although we were unlucky with the weather. Sierra Nevada is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to go again!