As we stood looking down at the resort on our way in, expecting something akin to the dazzling slopes of the Austrian Alps, we couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed. Only a thin line of manmade snow lay like a giant hadeda dropping on the side of the mountain, bringing only one word to mind: “Wannabe!”
Fortunately, it turned out we’d been too quick to judge. Over the next twenty-four hours the temperature plummeted to -9°C, forcing us into our thermals and resulting in a fresh, thirty-centimetre coat of natural snow. Virtually overnight, Afriski was transformed from a trying-too-hard resort into the real deal.
Like most ski resorts in Europe, Afriski is run by an eccentric group of youths who wait on tables, pour beers and teach novices like myself to stay upright on skis and snowboards. Ski instructors, I realised, are basically surfers at high altitudes. They use words like “dude” and “rad”, wax their boards and have red faces, albeit from the icy air and not the sun. The only difference is their equipment and the surface they use it on. And of course they have thicker underwear.