Skiing the ‘Electric Piste’ – La Pista Eléktrika!

This one’s been around in my head for a while now..and finally this year it came together.

A stretch of La Pista Eléctrica between Puerto de Navacerrada and Puerto de los Cotos

A stretch of La Pista Eléctrica between Puerto de Navacerrada and Puerto de los Cotos

There’s a high-tension line that runs across the mountains of Guadarrama from Puerto Navacerrada to Puerto de los Cotos, dipping down and up across multiple small valleys between 1800m and 1650m at the lowest points. It cuts straight across the landscape, and thru the pine forest..giving rise to what i like to call: La Pista Eléktrika (the ‘Electric Piste’).

One of the early sections, starting out from Pto. Navacerrada.

One of the early sections, starting out from Pto. Navacerrada.

The idea of following this piste or track thru the forest had been with me for some time..but as it’s more like a fire-break than a proper track, doing it in Summer would be rough, and while a Winter tour with skis was really what i had in mind, the fact is that it’s not every year there’s enough snow to guarantee a comfortable passage.

Zoom in , and you can just about make out the ski-tracks between the pylons!

Zoom in , and you can just about make out the ski-tracks between the pylons!

This was the year! Good snowfall thru February and March created a solid snowpack of up to a meter down to 1600m, and fresh dumps in mid to late March made for perfect conditions. I set out one gloomy, beautiful Saturday afternoon and laid downhill and uphill tracks along the piste. A lot of ups and downs and skin-ski transitions, some challenging stream-crossings, and chasing pylons seemingly without end – i know this wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, i wouldn’t do it every weekend either – but still, on the whole, it was pretty cool.

Crossing streams occasionally presented a serious obstacle.

Crossing streams occasionally presented a serious obstacle.

I even got some excellent heavy pow turns on some of the steeper drops. The full route could easily be done in the day but as i started late, i opted to spend the night at an establishment along the way. Hotel Vaquerizas was quite exclusive..in fact i was the only guest.

Leaving Hotel Vakerizas in my wake, early next morning.

Leaving Hotel Vakerizas in my wake, early next morning.

Early on Sunday morning i took a small detour and followed the rail line a stretch to ski the V-Pedriza (‘La Pedriza en V’), another variety of piste formed by a kind of scree-slope very visible from Dos Hermanas but rarely skied. In the moody half-light of a wintry morning..’twas indeed a delight!

Sweet sliding turns on a moody wintry morn..

Sweet sliding turns on a moody Winter’s morn..

Then back on La Pista Eléktrika, pursuing steel pylons between the Valsaín pines shrouded in fog. Dreamy, oneiric even, some would say magical..certainly a trip to remember. On the whole, quite the electric dream of an experience.

Pine forest under snow in fog..is there a more magical place?

Pine forest under snow in fog..is there a more magical place?

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About coldspringdays

Éireannach is ea mé, i mo chonaí insan Spáinn. Rugadh mé i lár na tuaithe, ar feadh blianta bhí mé ag teitheadh uaithi, i bhfad as an tuath, ach sa deireadh d'fhill mé, ar ais go dtí an tuath.. An Irishman am I, settled in Spain. Born was I in the middle of the country, for years I ran from it, far from the country, but in the end I returned, back to the country..
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