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Skiing in Madrid, ideas for enjoying the snow

Want to go skiing in Madrid? No problem—there are several options just a short distance away from the capital so you can enjoy winter sports. From Puerto de Navacerrada to Valdesquí, La Pinilla and Navafría, you’re spoilt for choice near Madrid. You could even try speeding down the artificial slopes at SnowZone, just 29 kilometres from the capital.

Where to ski in Madrid

It’s true that the closest ski resorts to Madrid aren’t quite the same as those at Formigal, Baqueira or Cerler but they still offer visitors the chance to enjoy a sport that is winning over increasing numbers of fans. In fact, some Madrid residents have even started nicknaming Puerto de Navacerrada, Valdesquí and La Pinilla the “mini-Alps of Madrid”. Below are details about the different features of each ski resort but they all have one thing in common: they’re close to Madrid.

Puerto de Navacerrada

One of the places near the capital that is most frequently visited by hikers, mountaineers and day-trippers who want to be surrounded by nature. However, it’s also popular with skiers who travel to this spot in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park to enjoy their favourite sport. Puerto de Navacerrada is possibly the smallest ski resort in the Madrid Autonomous Region, but it’s also the nearest place to the capital for skiing.

Puerto de Navacerrada is just 55 kilometres (34 miles) from Madrid centre and is reached along the A-6 (exit 39) and M-601 motorways. It’s important to bear in mind that if you’re travelling at the weekend or on a public holiday you should aim to arrive early because the public car park is small and quickly fills up. The ski resort can also be reached on the Cercanías rail network on line C8, changing at Cercedilla to take the C9 up to Puerto de Navacerrada.

Navacerrada belongs to Cercedilla municipality but is about 8 kilometres (5 miles) from the town. Its altitude ranges between 1,703 m and 2,174 m and it has a total of 16 runs (1 black, 9 red, 5 blue and 1 green) spread across nearly 11 kilometres (7 miles) of terrain to ski. The pistes are accessed by 10 ski lifts.

The ski resort is not only enjoyed by skiiers but is also popular with people who want to throw snowballs, go snowboarding, ride a sleigh, use snow shoes or just take a walk in the snow to admire a landscape that is even more stunning when it’s gleaming white.

Ski passes cost between €27 and €32 for a full day, depending on whether it’s a public holiday or work day. Children pay a reduced entry fee.

Valdesquí Madrid

The Valdesquí ski resort is the largest and busiest in Madrid. It’s next to Rascafría municipality in the Sierra de Guadarrama, 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the capital. It can be reached by private vehicle, by bus (route 691) and train (Cercanías C9 to Cotos station).

This ski station was opened in 1972 and boasts over 22 kilometres (13 miles) of skiing terrain across 28 pistes. It’s considered to be the best resort for learning the sport because most of its runs are blue and green. It also has a spectacular Snowpark with artificial snow cannons.

Note: it’s important to reach Valdesquí very early if you’re travelling by car, especially on the weekends, because parking is limited. A full day ski pass costs a maximum of €35.

La Pinilla

Just over an hour from Madrid, the La Pinilla ski resort is part of Cerezo de Arriba municipality (Segovia) but is managed by Riaza. It’s 120 kilometres (75 miles) from Madrid in the Sierra de Ayllón along the A-1 motorway and has nearly 10 miles skiing terrain spread over 23 pistes: 13 red, 4 green and 6 blue.

La Pinilla opened in 1968 and skiers have been enjoying the resort for over 50 years. Its facilities are divided into five zones according to difficulty, from the most accessible pistes (La Cabaña, Gran Plato and Testero) to the most challenging runs (Pinillas and Mirador).

Skiing fans will enjoy being in a resort where the snow isn’t entirely dependent on the vicissitudes of the weather because it has 196 cannons that can cover most of its ground with artificial snow. Ski passes cost €35 during high season and €26 in low season/work days.

Navafría

Navafría is a mecca for cross-country skiing enthusiasts living in Madrid because it’s home to the Navafría Nordic Skiing Centre, the only centre of its type in the Sistema Central mountain range. It has over 33 kilometres (20 miles) of ski runs for skiers of every level and the slopes run between the provinces of Madrid and Segovia at an altitude of almost 1,800 metres.

Navafría ski resort opened in 2007 and its pistes pass through an impressive Scots pine forest. From the Mirador de Navalcollado viewpoint you can gaze out at the spectacular landscape of the Castile and León plateau.

It’s extremely popular with residents of Madrid who come here to enjoy snowshoe trails, go Nordic walking or hike along routes through the Puerto de Navafría. A ski pass costs €12.

Madrid SnowZone

The only covered artificial ski slope in Spain. Madrid SnowZone is just moments away from Madrid in Arroyomolinos, inside the Madrid Xanadú shopping centre. It has no less than 18,000 square metres of snow with a 55-metre-wide main run that descends 250 metres. It also has a beginners’ slope that is rather less steep and is 100 metres long and 40 metres wide.

Skiing and snowboarding fans often come here to practise their favourite sport, happy in the knowledge that snow is guaranteed 365 days a year.

If you’re travelling independently, take the A-5 motorway to exits 22 and 25. Ticket prices for the slopes vary from between €22 (two hours of skiing) and €36 for a full day. You can also choose private classes at a cost of €36 per hour.

So don’t hesitate—if you love skiing make sure you visit one of the many ski resorts near Madrid and enjoy countless opportunities to have fun in the snow.

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