After 20 long months, Europe is finally starting to open up to South Africans for leisure travel and we couldn’t be happier! If you’re someone who’s spent the past few months longing and dreaming of your ideal “revenge travel” trip, why not use your newfound freedom to travel and experience something truly unique and special – like a snow escape?
France as a destination is officially welcoming vaccinated* individuals from South Africa, and the French Alps is one of the most breath-taking places in the world; perfect for a snow escape to kick off your travel adventures. France is also a destination easy to reach with direct flights from South Africa on Air France.
To prep you for the slopes, we spoke to the Club Med team who are experts in all-inclusive French Alpine snow holidays, and have had more than a year of experience delivering outstanding holidays at their resorts under the new normal. They share some handy advice from whether to ski or snowboard, the best times to go skiing and why a trip to the slopes is worthy of being at the top of your bucket list with your friends, significant other or your family.
The best time to go
There are five main months (December-April) in the European snow season, but which one will be the best for you? From the buzz of end of year holidays to the relative peace of April, every month offers a different experience. If you have never gone skiing before, plan your trip to coincide with the European Spring snow season between March and April. Not only are the days longer and the weather warmer, but the slopes are less crowded allowing you to practice without being overwhelmed by hundreds of other skiers and snowboarders whizzing past. Holidaying during Spring ski season also gives you the benefit of better rates that come with end of season and coincides perfectly with South African school holidays and public holidays! It’s a great time to travel.
As a non-skier you might be keen on a snow holiday but are a bit daunted at the thought of learning to ski or snowboard. If that is the case, then a Club Med ski holiday is the best option with all-inclusive packages allowing for ski and snowboard gear hire and include lessons for all levels which means you can arrive a novice and return a pro! If you’re based in Johannesburg, get a few sessions in at The Slope in Fourways to get a feel for going down a slope at high speed.
Get the kids into skiing
If you want to share your love of skiing with your children, they can start to learn at a surprisingly young age. But how young is too young and what’s the best way to get them started with their adventures on the snow? From the age of 4 years, kids can start learning to ski. Resorts like Club Med have dedicated snow gardens for little ones where they can learn to ski in a gentle, fun way and develop the skills they need.
Ski or snowboard?
Some people prefer their mountain fun on one board rather than two planks. Quite a few enjoy both methods. For most people skiing feels more natural as you have room to manoeuvre both legs whereas snowboarding can feel rather restricted. However, if you are still new to snow sports, why not try both and see what sticks. Your holiday, your choices.
Fun for couples and the whole family
A couple or family snow holiday can be a wonderful experience, combining fun on the slopes with quality time in a magical atmosphere. It’s an opportunity to not just bring home new memories, but you can bring home new passions and experiences that you may never have done before. However, when choosing a snow resort, find one that not only offers ski activities but also non-ski activities so that even on the days when you are not keen on a turn on the slopes you can still have a magical time. Take time to explore the Alpine mountains on a bobsleigh or take a turn dogsledding with incredible mountain huskies. For a family fun day, pile on a snow tube and enjoy the laughs that come with sliding down the slopes with all the thrills and spills that come with it.
Any holiday taken with your significant other or family is bound to be a great time away, but why not take it one step further and try something you have never experienced before on a magical snowy escape in the Alps. It’s a decision you will not regret. We’ll see you on the mountains!
*Entry requirements for France: Adults who are fully vaccinated by European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved vaccines, (Pfizer (Comirnaty), Moderna, AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), are allowed entry into France without needing to quarantine. Entry back into South Africa will still require all travellers to produce a negative PCR test. Testing is organised via the respective Club Med resort.
ALSO SEE RIDE A HOT AIR BALLOON IN AFRICA