South Africa has extremely limited winter sport conditions and any aspiring winter Olympian will need to migrate to the northern hemisphere if they really want to be in with a sporting chance. Tiffindel Ski resort situated in the Drakensberg-Maluti Mountains of Lesotho, is open from June to August and great for beginners, but South Africans looking for a genuine ski holiday would need to venture a little further. A real-deal ski holiday
Ski holidays can be expensive, but by booking flights well in advance and avoiding premium destinations, such as Switzerland, South Africans can still enjoy the full experience without worrying about exceeding their budget.
Exhilarating adventures, stunning vistas and an excuse to spend lazy evenings reclining in front of a log fire leaves little doubt as to the appeal of a ski holiday. However, research has shown that traditional beach holidays, and the cheaper flight tickets
often associated with them, tend to be a fall-back choice amongst South African travellers.
For those interested in trying something different, as long as the destination is carefully selected, budget ski holidays are attainable and they’re a great choice for family vacations, romantic getaways and even solo experiences. Taking into consideration the fact that a flight to Mauritius could cost R8,000 – R10,000, more than a cheap international flight to Milan
, a ski holiday for South Africans becomes more of a reality.
Club Med resorts in France and Italy offer an all-inclusive package which always appeals to South Africans, with hotel transfers, meals, ski equipment and even ski instructors paid for up front. For those looking for a little more freedom and variety but still within budget, experts advise that resorts offer more affordable packages late in the ski season, after the Easter holidays and once the European schools have gone back. Livingo
An affordable alternative to premium ski destinations is the charming ski-town of Livingo in Italy. The exchange rate often makes travel stressful for South Africans, but Livingo has a VAT-free status which means that accommodation, food and hospitality in general is much cheaper than one might expect. The impressive 115-kilometre stretch of slopes is an added bonus. Alpbach
Austria is another fantastic European skiing destination. The ski-town of Alpbach is ideal for beginner skiers. Alpbach also hosts an affordable and fun-filled Family Week (which usually takes place around Easter time), when children under the age of 15 ski for free. Châtel
Châtel is a quaint farming village in France which offers beautiful alpine views and traditional cabins to those in search of a classic ski getaway. The area is the perfect selection for families and even boasts facilities for skiers with a disability. Breckenridge
A unique, former gold mining town, Breckenridge, Colorado offers budget ski holidays to those interested in paying a visit to the United States. It is where travellers will find the highest chair lift in North America, along with four large peaks, three half-pipes and two high-speed six passenger SuperChairs. The area’s ski school has also received plenty of praise and is highly recommended for those who have never taken to the slopes before. Bansko
The town of Bansko is undoubtedly the number one destination for an affordable yet memorable ski holiday in Bulgaria. Located at the foot of the Pirin mountain, Bansko promises world-class ski and snowboarding facilities. It is also known for its extended ski season (a total of five months from mid-December until mid-May).
Regardless of which resort you plan to visit, ensure that you pack wisely and plan ahead. When booking your cheap international tickets and resort accommodation, heck with the resort regarding whether or not they will provide you with ski equipment as you might have to rent it in advance in order to avoid disappointment. Also be sure to pack warm clothing – preferably thermal, fleece and waterproof items.
If the snow beckons don’t let your costs snowball. Book and plan well in advance. The sooner you book your flight tickets, the cheaper they will be. Booking at least three months in advance will help ensure that you get the best possible price, along with total peace of mind.