News from the snow
Tiffindell South Africa
Africa's only Southern Hemisphere ski resort, Tiffindell in the Ben Mac Ski area, was established in 1993 to give South Africans the opportunity to ski in their own country. As the only ski resort, south of Morocco, Tiffindell offers the unique facility of an alpine resort, with an international flavour, in sunny South Africa. Starting from a ski run of 100m and 20 beds, the resort has now been developed to sleep 132 people with a ski run of about 500m. Facilities are continually improved to cater for the 60% annual increase in visitors. Although the skiing is not comparable to that of the larger European or North American resorts, the atmosphere is. Tiffindell is best enjoyed in a group, so bring your friends, family, children or work colleagues. Come along with an open mind, and you will enjoy an unforgettable experience. Tiffindell has developed its ski slopes on a south facing slope on the highest mountain in the Cape's Southern Drakensberg (equates to a North Facing slope in the Northern Hemisphere!). Here the snow lasts longest and stays skiable longer than anywhere in South Africa. However, in a climate where there isn't enough winter precipitation this is not enough to ensure skiing. Therefore, like many resorts around the world Tiffindell relys on engineered snowmaking systems to make their snow, and enable skiing during Tiffindell's season from 25 May - 31 August
South Africa's first truly commercial ski centre opened in 1993 and had gone from strength to strength, thanks largely to snow-making technology and a determined and innovative management team. Natural snowfall of up to a metre in 36 hours has been recorded in recent years but the stretching of the season from mid-May (One of the earliest to open in the southern hemisphere), through to mid-September has been largely thanks to ever improving snowmaking techniques.
Snow conditions vary throughout the season, much like the lower European ski resorts, and there is no best time for snowfalls. Occasionally during the season after a rare snowfall, guests can ski off-piste or take the resident helicopter for a heli - ski trip.
Taking a group ski lesson with one of Tiffindell's trained instructors can be the most fun part of the ski trip. Children as young as 5 years are taught to ski. A 4 hour beginner ski lesson is compulsory for first time skiers. After this, you should ski on your own with control and confidence. The resort's professional ski and snowboard instructors from all over the world teach you quickly, safely and effectively, advancing you to the beginner lift and then onto the main slope. Intermediate and advanced lessons can also be taken. The ski hire will supply you with all that is needed for the snow, while the ski shop caters for ski clothing needs, either hiring or selling the necessary gear at reasonable prices.