From Borreguiles, you will find the start of the long run back down to the ski village, “El Rio”. This 3.2km run follows the Monachil river in motorway style with ample space for everyone. It is one of Sierra Nevada’s main achievement targets for improving skiers.
The upper section takes you first through the “Genil” area where you will find a restaurant with an excellent sun terrace. At this point there are a couple of options available:
A particularly useful one is the gentle blue access back to the ski village via the “Directa” which is really no harder than a green run in the most part. The track follows the contours of the mountain around to the top of the ski village where a series of tracks zig-zag their way gently down, providing access to the different levels within the ski village depending on where you are accommodated. In this way, clients can avoid busy queues for the Parador lift or the shuttle bus service back up to their accommodation.
The Maribel piste is a good alternative to the remainder of the Rio especially during busy times. Kids love the tunnel that passes beneath the “Universiada” piste (used for the Super G and Giant Slalom competitions of the 2015 Winter Universiade Games). It also gives also access for intermediate skiers accommodated in the mid-zone of the ski village including the Hotel GHM Monachil and the 1 bedroomed Slalom BE Apartment.
From the Genil zone, the Rio continues on to a couple of steeper sections including the infamous “Valle de los Caidos”, loosely translated as “The Valley of the Fallen”, a section that becomes steeper and narrows a little with a rather ominous craggy rock face imposing from the left hand side.
The reward for passing this section is a wide yet gentle motorway section all the back to the village and the gondolas.
The Rio is often best skied earlier in the day although at busy times, it is wise to stick higher up so as to avoid possible delays with queues on the gondola’s back up to Borreguiles. At the end of the day the Rio can get very crowded primarily during peak periods.
Every Thursday and Saturday during much of the season is when the gondola opens for night skiing. Both the Rio and Maribel pistes are fully floodlit for a superb experience on freshly groomed slopes and with few people around!