By: Sarah Manners
Have you always dreamt of a white Christmas but thought skiing in Europe was only for investment bankers, movie stars, and royalty?
Many youth travel specialists offer great skiing packages that will allow independent travelers to join the jet set and experience the magic of Christmas in the Austrian Alps.
The 7-night Ski Hopfgarten Xmas package, which departs from London on the 23 December, costs R3 280 per person on a B&B basis. In addition, you need to add on your ski pass (R1 350) and equipment hire (from R375). If you are a beginner, then ski or snowboarding lessons are strongly recommended, costing R750. Anybody purchasing a ski package will receive the following discount options from Snowscape: 10% discount on shop purchases, 15% on clothing hire, first lesson free, and 20% on extra lessons booked.
Add in your flights to London from R3825 (ex Jhb, student and youth fare excl airport taxes) and you are looking at around R9000 for your most memorable Xmas ever!
On the Slopes
The idyllic Austrian village of Hopfgarten lies at the foot of the Hohe Salve Mountain, which rises to a peak of 1829m. It is everything you’d expect a ski resort in the heart of the Austrian Tyrol to be: traditional fairy-tale wooden chalets cluster around a twin-turreted church, snow-laden fir trees nestle beneath the impressive Austrian Alps.
Youth travel specialists have been taking skiers to Hopfgarten for over 20 years and now with a large investment by the Ski Welt region, Hopfgarten and its neighboring villages are part of one of the largest networks of artificial snow-making machines in Europe – ensuring the best possible snow conditions over all 250km of piste.
Hopfgarten is great for all levels of skiers and snowboarders and the friendly and informal atmosphere of the village makes it the perfect destination for young travelers. In addition, if racing down a mountain is not enough to get your adrenaline pumping, then you can try some of the optional excursions on offer, including tobogganing, sleigh rides, tandem paragliding, or ice skating on a frozen alpine lake. And after an energetic day on the slopes, the fun really starts with the town’s infamous nightlife offerings.
STA Travel www.statravel.co.za is the world’s largest travel company catering specifically to the needs of students and young people. STA and Contiki Holidays are offering a 7-night ski package to South African travelers this Christmas.
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