SKI-BUMS from all over Spain will flock to Europe’s southernmost ski-resort in huge numbers this weekend, after seven long, snow-deprived months.
And if all of this recent rain is anything to go by, then by eck are we in for a treat.
At least 11.5kms of untouched slopes will be open in the Nursery, Borreguiles and Veleta areas, and the RIO will be open by Saturday, allowing for skiing all the way down to Pradollano village. It’s an encouraging start, if we look back on last season’s woeful offerings.
The average snowfall peaked at just over 80cm in February – three times less than the year before and still well off the mark in comparison with other recent years gone by. Couple that with the fact that there still remained hordes of skiers and zigzagging ski-schools clogging up the slopes, plus gallingly time-consuming queues for chairlifts to boot, and we were left with a very bothersome situation on our hands indeed.
I suppose I hadn’t really considered the fact that here I would be but a sprat amongst the jostling crowd at the weekends and puentes, as opposed to a happy-go-lucky ski-bum tied only to a three-shift-a-week bar job, like I was during my time in Canada three years ago.
In fact, if conditions had been half as good as they were in Canada, then perhaps the hard-shell feelings of frustration and disappointment wouldn’t have been so overwhelming. Unfortunately, things never really improved. Instead, skiers and snowboarders alike had to rely solely on the resort’s droning piste-side snow-makers, which were constantly pumping artificial deluges of the white stuff onto its otherwise ice-swathed slopes, in order to find anything even remotely approaching ‘powder’.
However, with an unshakable snowboarding addiction like mine, it’s difficult not to have a good time, even if the conditions are as dire as they were. I only managed six or seven visits during the 11/12 season but at the end of each day I always left with a smile on my face.
Now I’m all giddy and restless, because this year I know things can only get better. My board is waxed and my iPod playlist is complete. Ready, shreddy, go…