SOUTH AFRICA: A WINTER wonderland blankets the Tiffindell ski resort in the Eastern Cape, where about half a metre of snow fell on Tuesday night. Snowfalls also caused havoc in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, where roads and schools were closed. Picture: Michael Clarke

East London - The new owner of the country's only ski resort, Tiffindell, plans to turn it into a summer attraction, he said.

Local businessman Lew Campbell bought the 101ha Eastern Cape resort at an auction last month for R5.5 million. He was expected to move onto the property, near Barkly East in the southern Drakensberg, in September.

Campbell, who wanted to return Tiffindell to its former glory, intended employing local residents to do so. He wanted visitors to come there for fishing, nature walks and hiking in summer.

The resort had been closed for over two years and would require a fair amount of money to renovate.

“The process of buying Tiffindell has been a pleasure from start to finish.

“The auctioneers facilitated the transaction quickly and seamlessly, and as a lifelong skier I am truly excited to have the opportunity to develop a skier’s paradise in South Africa,” he said.

He expected to have the resort up and running in a limited capacity by next winter, and fully operational by 2014.

Campbell, who ran the Ferndale-based Ski Instruction Centre called The Ski Deck, had been training skiers and snowboarders, selling ski equipment and skiing holidays to South Africans since 1983.

He said at its peak, Tiffindell was the equal of many a European ski resort and he was determined to return it to “those lofty heights”. - Sapa