This is probably the most challenging piste for intermediate skiers.
It is the goal of every skier who learns how to ski in Sierra Nevada and who wants to ski back to the village.
It starts at the button station of Veleta chairlift.
As you start going down, you will find a flat where you can either choose to go to Termopilas if you go right, or to the diagonal piste Balsa if you go left and then take the path to go to Loma Dilar area. Next you will find the first steeped slope.
It is irregular and you can find ice: Although normally it is well groomed, it is a very busy area and ice can come out.
We call it Sabika slope as it finishes next to the Sabika chairlift (which normally doesn’t work) if you like to jump then you can find some ramps to the left side of the piste. At the end of the Sabika slope you will also find the Stadium and the pizzeria above the chairlift with solarium and toilets.
You also cross with Rebeco and Torrecillas; this is a bottleneck between stadium and Sabika chairlifts, slow down posters inform you of this situation - so follow the instructions! Once you pass the Stadium chairlift and you will find a path which bends to your right, keep going slowly as this piste merges with a number of other pistes along this way: Morillas and Playa on the right side and a Cliff on the left side. Next, you will find the second pronounced steep of the Rio; you can choose to go on top if you want to go down, or you can to change to Maribel which is less busy and less steeped, which is on your right side.
If you continue by the Rio you will see that this slope is nice and wide.
It ends in a flatter area - a chance to have a rest! On your left side you can see the Ascensor off piste, below the Al-Andalus gondola. The third section of this piste is probably the most challenging section of Rio and is called the “Valley of the Fallen.” It contains the steeper and narrower section of the run and you will already be a little bit tired, so this is where most people fall down.
Keep calm and follow it down.
Be sure your way is free of people.
If you can find a good rhythm you will enjoy it a lot; at the end there's a big and wide flat where you can maintain your speed and where you will have a lot of fun! After this, you will arrive at the bleachers, where the finishing area of the championships is.
You will have to make your way right to the back pistes Fuente del Tesoro and Neveros ending, and normally this wide area is the finish of world championships.
Above the bleachers, you will find the Champagneria; a wooden house bar where you could have a snack, something to drink or even Champagne! At this point you are almost done with the Rio, you just have a little slope left and a path which takes you to the gondolas.
At the end there is a cross where you can choose right for the Borreguiles gondola, straight on for Al-Andalus gondola, or left for the Jara chairlift. If you continue straight you will find the clinic. You are now at the village Pradollano! The Rio run can be very busy at the end of the day.
On a sunny day in spring the snow could be wet and heavy.
Some advice for intermediate level skiers; if you are tired, lots of people and bad snow won't help you, so don’t take the risk and go down by the gondola, with the great sensation of a wonderful day of skiing, which didn't involve a trip to the clinic.
(It is at this time and on this piste where we most accidents registered) There is night skiing on the Rio and Maribel from Thursday to Saturday.
It seems to be quite a different piste at night and is a very good experience.
You have the Alcazaba restaurant open in the evening and sometimes you are allowed to go on a guided visit to the observatory at night to watch the stars.
Amazing!!! Due to the powerful snowmaking system we can enjoy the Rio run almost the whole season, even in spring when snow starts melting. Ramp: 550 Length: 3258 m Surface: 180883 m2