Winter Sports in Spain
Spain, being the most southern European country, with mostly a sub tropical climate, sounds like an unlikely destination when it comes to Winter Sports. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Close to the city of Granada begins the mountain range we know as the Sierra Nevada. Many of the slopes of this mountain range are covered with snow, which allows many activities like skiing and snowboarding. While Spain was preparing for the World cup of 1996, the city of Granada received a complete makeover, resulting in the Sierra Nevada being amongst the top winter sport locations that are easiest to reach.
There are many resorts located in the Sierra Nevada, all catering to the needs of winter sports enthusiasts, the most prominent one being Baqueira-Beret as this is the preferred ski-resort of the Spanish Royal family.
Skiing is once again becoming a popular sport in Spain after falling behind due to the economical issues of the country. With recent improvements to the Spanish economy, the sport is once again on the rise and many resorts located at the Sierra Nevada have been upgraded and modernized.
Skiing downhill is the most popular version of the sport in Spain, but cross country skiing can also be done at the many resorts located in the Sierra Nevada. With competitive prices and new equipment, Spain is growing in popularity as a winter sports destination. The slopes are suitable for all types of skiers from beginners to advanced practitioners of the sports.
The Sierra Nevada is also the location for snowboarding, and almost all the resorts located there will offer it, along with alpine skiing, cross country skiing, and telemark skiing. The snowboarding facilities cater for all types of snowboarding and are suitable for beginners, as well as more advanced snowboarders.
Besides places where the so called winter sports can be enjoyed, Spain also engages in other popular winter sports like ice hockey. Ice hockey in Spain was introduced in 1920 as a means of entertainment in a luxury hotel but soon developed into an official sport.
Spanish ice hockey is regulated by Federaciķn Espaņol de Deportes de Hielo, and is played in divisions. Top clubs compete against each other in the Superliga Espaņola de Hockey Hielo.
Each year the clubs engage in competitions on a national level in a competition called the Copa del Rey. The winners of the honor division must go against the winners of the Copa during the Super Cup.
In the Catalonia region of Spain there are three ice hockey clubs: FC Barcelona Ice Hockey, Club Gel Puigcerdā and Club Hockey Gču Vielha-Val d'Aran. The National hockey team of Spain comes out for the nation during international ice hockey events and has been a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation since 1923.
In 2009 the Spanish team held the number 34 position on the world rankings as presented by the IIHF, but in 2010 the team rose to 30th position and is due to play in the second division in the upcoming ice hockey world championships.