Snowshoeing and Nordic skiing are becoming increasingly popular and are one of the most interesting ways of getting to know the peaks of the Sierra de Guadarrama in winter.
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 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.