21 Dec, 2011 @ 09:00
2 mins read

No half measure for Sierra Nevada snowboarders

IT is certainly fair to say there have been no half measures in the Sierra Nevada this season.

Not just content with its exciting new Sulayr snowboard park, the resort has now built a brand new half pipe for snowboarders.

One of the largest in Europe – and the biggest in Spain – the 165m-long installation has taken four months to build.

Due to open this month, the half pipe (which is 14 metres wide and up to six metres deep) cost just under a million euros to build.

“It is an excellent addition to the resort,” said spokesman Santiago Sevilla. “We are very excited about it and just waiting for a big snowfall for it to be opened.”

The half pipe is a great addition to the Sulayr park for snowboarders and freesyle skiiers.

The park is designed to allow skiers to practise jumps and acrobatics on three different natural and artificial modules without running into each other.

This revamped area in Loma de Dilar, previously used by cross-country skiers, is very much geared towards a younger clientele.

It boasts new features including wifi for internet users, a massive sound system and a completely fresh look which stands out from the rest of the resort.

Perhaps, most importantly, there will be a safety team on hand to help anyone who gets injured.

“The new additions are revolutionising the way the resort treats snowboarders,” says French woman Melanie Benarfa, who runs the Surfin snowboard centre, with husband Gaston Marinoni.

“It is a great idea and at last we are starting to see some of the world’s most famous riders visiting us down here.”

The mother-of-three – whose husband set up the first snowboard school in Spain with friends 22 years ago – estimates that the resort now has more snowboarders than skiers.

“I think the change happened as long as five or six years ago and I wouldn’t be surprised if today there were almost double the number of snowboarders.”

Her shop has done well to cash in on the massive growth in the discipline, which is naturally nearer to surfing and skateboarding than skiing. Certainly in its style and attitude.

The Surfin centre is also one of only a handful of places in Spain to be chosen as an official Burton Learn to Ride centre.

Incorporating all of the US labels’ flags, it is able to offer classes for women, children, as well as special ‘freestyle’ classes.

“It is a great place for kids to learn how to snowboard,” explains Melanie. “And for adults, well, the Sierra Nevada is easily one of the best places for nightlife in Europe.”


  • Contains the highest point of continental Spain, Mulhacen, at 3478m
  • The Sierra Nevada observatory is located on the northern slopes at 2800m
  • The Sierra formed 65 to 1.8 million years ago from the collision of the African and Eurasian plates
  • There are more than 100km of slopes
  • Operates 22 ski lifts
  • Has Spain’s largest difference in altitude – 1,200m
  • You can see Africa  from the slopes
  • There are a total of 115 green, blue, red and black slopes
  • The Mirlo Blanco amusement park has an ecological ice-rink and 130m toboggan runs
  • The newly installed Sulayr Superpark has modules for jumps and acrobatics
  • It now hosts the Alpine Skiing speed races
  • On Saturdays you can go night skiing on the El Rio piste
  • The historic city of Granada is located at the foothills only 35 miles away
  • In summer, visitors can go horse riding and cycling
  • It hosts the Por Todo Lo Alto music festival

James Bryce

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: [email protected] or call 951 273 575

1 Comment

  1. Strange with two mountain ranges the Spanish hardly ever manage to get anyone to the Winter Olympics – last time they had one female who came nowhere.

    Could also explain their hubris in never showing the Winter Olympics on telly – pathetic.

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