Often when i tell people from outside of the Peninsula that i ski fifty plus days a year (well, in good years at least) in the center of Spain, they look at me like i suddenly sprouted a second head. And for many of my local Spanish students this will be final proof that i really am a bit of a nutcase. But yes it’s true..i went skiing the other day. In August. In the Sierra de Guadarrama. Sometimes it’s great to be a weirdo!
Screwball as i may be, i’m not a complete fool..i knew from a visit to Dos Hermanas two weeks earlier that a considerable nevero at about 2200m was resisting Summer’s onslaught.
When i got up there the other day, the snowfield had dwindled to almost half the extension it covered in late July..but that still left 1500-2000 square meters of snow, 75-80m maximum length. More than enough for a little midsummer fun on skis..
And fun it was! Summer snow often doesn’t look very nice, at least not from close-up..it’s normal to find a lot of dust and dirt on the surface. But the pleasure of sliding on snow derives not from how it looks but from how it feels. And it felt good.. man, did it feel good! A couple of centimeters of sun-softened superficial snow on top of densely compacted névé skis like perfect piste conditions. The sun-cups towards the bottom were a little bumpy the first time down, but that just added variety. Yes, it was a short run, five to seven turns maximum, then hike back up..but if i have to choose between this and Xanadu*, give me Dos Hermanas any day of the week!
After eight runs down, and hikes up, happy that my knee – which i had injured but 200m from this spot in early June – was holding up, i felt that i could now go home and hang up my boards for the Summer ..with the wacky thought drifting around my unhinged brain that perhaps i had become the first person to ski in the Parque Nacional de Guadarrama! Totally out to lunch, baby..
*Xanadu, an artificial snow paradise located in the flatlands to the South of Madrid..and open all year round.