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Get the Most Out of Your Skiing Trip

By Bidvest Bank
24-11-2014

Soaking up the pristine scenery, breathing in the fresh mountain air and sipping piping hot chocolate by the fire…a ski holiday is the kind of trip that creates memories for years to come. 

Unfortunately, as a South African travelling on the volatile Rand, your hard-earned money has to stretch even further when you go to Europe or America. At Bidvest Bank, we’ve come up with some tips on how to get the most out of your skiing holiday or working trip - whether you’re looking for a family-friendly resort, slopes suited to beginners or the perfect destination for a gap year job.


1. Family friendly

If you want a resort suited to the whole family, you need to ensure that there are decent ski schools, convenient access to the ski lifts from the car (you don’t want to be lugging both your gear and your little one’s skis too far!), plus plenty of non-skiing activities to keep kids entertained. 

For example, Avoriaz in France has the largest waterpark ever to be built in the mountains, while Beaver Creak in Colorado has excellent childcare facilities for children from two months to six years old. While accommodation on ski resorts is usually fairly exclusive, hiring a chalet (or “condo” in America) nearby with other families can cut down on accommodation costs

Wherever you choose to go, look out for skiing holiday deals from large tour operators where you pay for one child but another goes free, as well as discounts on hiring skiing or snowboard gear. 


2. Beginners

Before you decide to go on an overseas ski holiday and spend the cash, it may be a good idea to check that you’re a skiing fan first by visiting Tiffindell, our local skiing resort in the Eastern Cape. At 3001m above sea level, you can learn the ropes right here in South Africa before you commit to an international trip. 

If you do decide you’re a skiing fan, the most important thing to do when planning your skiing holiday is to choose a resort where there are enough nursery slopes for you to practise on. For example, Breckenridge in Colorado has great beginner slopes, as do Cortina in Italy and Soldeu in Andorra. We also recommend only buying a two or three day ski pass to start with, just in case you decide skiing’s not for you and you’d prefer to spend your time in the spa or sauna.

Then last but not least, as a beginner it’s crucial to hire ski gear that fits you - otherwise you’ll be limping for weeks afterwards. For this reason, hire boots and other gear from somewhere close to your accommodation, so you can switch them easily if they don’t fit properly. 


3. Gap years

If you’re sending your child on a gap year, or you’re heading off on one yourself, spending time on a ski resort is a great way of earning money, meeting people and getting to know another part of the world.

Bear in mind though that you need to be ready to get your hands dirty! Whether you’re cleaning chalets, serving drinks or being a nanny, gap year skiers need to work hard in order to be able to enjoy their time on the slopes. If you work for the ski resort itself, you’ll usually get a free season ski pass as an employee perk.  This type of work usually includes things like fitting people’s boots, operating a lift or working as a cashier.

As a gap year student, you’re probably looking for a vibrant après ski scene, which you can find in Vail (Colorado), Verbier (Switzerland) and Livigno (Italy).


Whether you’re going skiing as a family of four or as a student, budgeting ahead of time for spending Euros and Dollars can be tricky given our fluctuating exchange rate. The Bidvest Bank World Currency CardTM is one way to get around this. It’s preloaded at a set exchange rate, so even if the Rand gets weaker, you won’t lose out. 

The currency card is also a way of keeping your money safe, as you won’t need to carry loads of cash around with you. And, it provides automatic platinum purchase protection on goods you buy against loss, damage or theft - so if something happens to your new camera or Go-Pro, you’ll be reimbursed. 

Be financially smart and pack your World Currency CardTM along with your ski goggles and gloves as you follow our tips above. Happy skiing!