IF the bangs and crowds of Las Fallas aren’t your thing, this week is a great time to escape Valencia, discover more of the region or even try some winter sports.
In fact the white stuff is actually much closer than you might think, though hardly surprising really considering Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland. Just an hour and a half’s drive inland from Valencia is the family ski resort of Valdelinares, high up on the Sierra de Gúdar, offering 17km of slopes nestled among beautiful pine forests. And while it’s been raining down in the city, up in the mountains fresh snow has been falling.
Valdelinares sits at a height of 2,000m and for experienced skiers offers four red runs and for those still learning there are six greens and four blues. There is also a snowpark with jumps for anyone daring enough.
The best time to enjoy a bit of winter snow is mid-week as the slopes are much less crowded, but you won’t forget you’re skiing in Spain as the sun shines down on the slopes, making the whole experience very pleasant.
To the east of Teruel, Valdelinares is part of the Aramon group which runs three larger resorts in the Pyrenees as well as Javalambre, also near Teruel, which offers 15km of slopes, and I’m told is a quieter resort.
Valdelinares and Javalambre usually stay open until the end of March or beginning of April and when the white stuff doesn’t fall from the sky, cannons along the sides of the slopes are able to produce snow when the temperatures drop at night, guaranteeing good conditions. Although, as in most ski resorts, first thing in the morning is when you catch the best snow.
We rented an apartment just down the hill in the pretty village of La Virgen de la Vega, where we also hired material at a reasonable price. Valdelinares does have its own ski hire in the heart of the resort which is a good option if you don’t want to be lugging skis and boots too far.
The resort also offers ski classes which it is a good idea to phone and book in advance. It’s also wise to buy your ski-pass in advance online to get a discount.
If visiting either of the Teruel resorts at the weekend, it’s important to arrive early, not just to make the most of the day, but also to avoid the queues for ski passes and material if you need to hire.
For those who don’t fancy skiing but want to enjoy the atmosphere of the mountains, there are cafeterias and a toboggan slope for playing in the snow.
For more information visit http://www.javalambre-valdelinares.com and take a look at the webcams here https://www.infonieve.es/estacion-esqui/valdelinares/webcams/