It comes as a surprise to some that there are ski resorts in Spain, let alone that there are more than 30 ski areas dotted all around the country.

It’s perhaps a bigger surprise still that one of the largest resorts, Sierra Nevada, Europe’s most southerly ‘real’ ski resort, is a short hop from Malaga (a direct gondola connection was recently discussed, but subsequently discounted) and has hosted the World Alpine Skiing Championships. Other Spanish resorts have, so far unsuccessfully, made bids to host the Winter Olympics.

liftYet more surprising still, perhaps, is that Sierra Nevada lies in second place behind another major Spanish destination resort, Baqueria Beret, in having the most expensive lift tickets in Europe for a single resort. This perhaps reflects to an extent the up-market clientele of the two centres, especially Baqueria which is the Spanish Klosters for the country’s Royal Family who regularly return to the same luxury hotel.

Baqueira Beret offers “surprisingly good skiing” with a pulsing night life to back up the on-piste action. Skiing holidays in Baquiera Beret offer a good range of runs for all abilities. In total there are 72 slopes, with the intermediate and advanced set the most catered for.

woman-skierThe third ski area that is now regularly popping up in the brochures is Formigal. This boasts state-of-the-art new chair and gondola lifts and a few seasons ago topped the investment list for any European resort that year.

What else is there to know about skiing in Spain? Well, given the southerly latitude, most of the ski areas have quite high ski areas, usually above the tree-line and with extensive snowmaking cover if the natural stuff fails to fall.