Skiing in Madrid is a favourite winter entertainment. North of Madrid, the mountains of Sistema Central of Mecheta rise to 2,400 meters above sea level. To the west, they reach a maximum height of almost 2,600 m and continue westwards up to Portugal. Despite its subtropical location, these ridges have many glaciers, and the highest peaks are covered with snow for 6-7 months a year. The best resorts of the Central Mountain System are La Pinilla, Valdesquí, and Puerto de Navacerrada. These ski resorts offer a wide choice of routes for athletes of different levels of training, and the developed infrastructure of winter resorts provides fascinating leisure time before and after skiing.
The Puerto de Navacerrada located in the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains is the closest resort to Madrid. It has a friendly, family atmosphere, as well as nearly 10 kilometres of trails, many of which pass through pine forest.
Nearby is Valdesquí, another ski resort that at one time wanted to combine with Navacerrada. Here you can count 21 km of marked trails, which makes it one of the largest ski resorts in the chain "System Center." This is a great place for snowboarders. Valdesquí is not meant for advanced professionals: most slopes offer easy trails for beginners.
La Pinilla is a quiet resort, not too busy but still lively. There are many red trails there, and also excellent ski schools for beginners. Dog sledging, snowmobiling, and snow racing are also available.
Ski season varies depending on snowfall, but normally resorts operate from early December through early April.