Under the generic name of Nordic skiing, we can group different modalities whose common characteristics could be the absence of facilities and infrastructures (unlike in the alpine ski) and the way to fix the boots to the skis, permitting to let heels untied.
The two best known modalities are cross-country skiing and mountain skiing.
Snowshoeing and Nordic skiing are becoming more and more popular and they are one of the most interesting ways to get the summits of the Sierra de Guadarrama in winter, as they allow to reach sites and trails which are almost inaccessible when snowfall is copious.
Cross country skiing
Cross-country skiing has more and more enthusiasts looking for a different way of carrying out a very aerobic sport adaptable to all types of physical condition, being the skier himself the one who puts limits. Until a few years ago, it was not possible to practice it in Guadarrama, because the means did not exist.
Since the restoration the Community of Madrid carried out, and further to the Valcotos alpine ski resort removal, this enjoyable use of snow has been boosted, enabling a circuit up to 5 km long in La Pradera area, at los Cotos Pass. This track, if snow conditions permit it, is stepped on to get a circuit for the classic and skater modalities. It is accessed from the North edge of Los Cotos car parking lot and remains open until the beginning of snow maintenance works, for the safety of users. It has a beginner’s zone.
Access is free, while companies having commercial purposes must apply for authorization at the Peñalara Visitors Center, as well as groups of more than 10 people. This rule aims to rationalize the use of winter recreation area, to ensure all citizens enjoyment and recreation. Likewise, companies wishing to use this track for their activities must have certified monitors.
To avoid conflict with other users and to maximize using time, there is a specific regulation which does not allow the passage of dogs and pedestrians, nor is it permitted to use sleds. There are other areas for those purposes.
The Navafría Pass has an equipped and regulated area to practice cross-country skiing. The Navafría Nordic Ski Center is held under private management by means of an administrative concession. It has from 25 to 40 km of circuits for the practice of classic and skater modalities. From December to March, tracks are prepared on a daily basis with specific machinery. Its facilities, located in a stone shelter, open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day in winter.
The Navafría Nordic Ski Center has cross-country skiing and snowboard equipment rental service, a picnic room, a rescue service on tracks, a medicine cabinet, toilets, etc. The only official cross country ski school in the Park where ski lessons and courses can be hired is located at the shelter.
To access the Ski Center there is a shuttle bus service ("Esquibus") on winter weekends and public holidays, travelling Lozoya – Navafría Pass - Navafría route. The use of its facilities and services requires a payment of pass or forfait which can be issued on a daily or a season basis.