Mandisa Khumalo, freelance accountant and mum of two, recently returned from her first ski holiday at Club Med Val d’Isere in France. We asked her to answer to some of our ski-related questions…
Buy outfit here or buy outfit there?
The staff at Club Med Val d’Isere say they can easily spot the South Africans on the slopes because we always wear the same ski jackets. I giggled a bit when I heard this – of course we do, because we don’t have a lot of choice.
We bought our gear at Ski Deck in Ferndale, which has a good selection of helmets, jackets, pants, gloves, goggles and other accessories. Getting all your ski equipment before you leave SA means you can start skiing as soon as you get there, rather than wasting valuable holiday time shopping!
Ski or snowboard?
Both look like a lot of fun, but my husband and I opted for skiing because snowboarding seemed more oriented towards the younger generation. I don’t fancy the idea of having my feet stuck down on a board. I think I would get some sort of claustrophobia. My husband said he was tempted to try it out because he used to ride skateboards, but once he saw people snowboarding up close he decided it wasn’t for him.
We thoroughly enjoyed our ski experience, though. After a few days we were confident enough to take on a few of the intermediate slopes. It was an amazing feeling to learn a new skill, specially a physical activity like skiing.
All-in package or DIY?
Definitely go for an all-inclusive package. It might seem like a big expense at the beginning, but with everything that’s included it actually works out cheaper. We got our skis, poles, boots and helmets, plus as many lessons as we wanted and a full access to the slopes every day. The slopes, by the way, were right outside the hotel. We didn’t need to catch buses or drive anywhere. It was really convenient.
We were chatting to some friends when we got back who told us they had opted to go the DIY route. They had to pay for their equipment hire and ski passes, and they didn’t take lessons. After a few hours of trying to ski – unsuccessfully! – they eventually gave up and spent the rest of their holiday indoors at the bar, which was a total waster. Plus they had to pay for their drinks, which we didn’t at Club Med.
Take the kids or don’t take the kids?
Take the kids, no question. We were worried that there wouldn’t be anything for them to do, or that they would struggle with the skiing. But when we got there we realised that there are special ski instructors just for kids, and that they’re kept busy the whole day. All the kids we saw were having the time of their lives.
We also found out that kids stay for free at some Club Med resorts. So there’s absolutely no reason to leave them behind. By day two we were missing them terribly. We’ll most certainly take them with us next time we go.