Afriski and Oxbow Lodge

Afriski and Oxbow Lodge

Sharon And Warren At Afriski, Lesotho

After a dismal trip to Afriski earlier in the year I was excited to be heading back for another try. Sharon picked me up from the office and we headed through Golden Gate to the Mountain Kingdom. We made it through the border quickly, and soon we were in Lesotho and on our way to Afriski.

By the time we hit Moteng Pass it was dark, and we climbed slowly avoiding the trucks that somehow came tearing down in whatever lane they felt best suited them. As we neared the top we started seeing lots of ice and snow. It was definitely the most I’d seen in the 3 years I’d been skiing here…the excitement was now mounting…

Half an hour later we were checking out our skis and snow boards, and getting ready for Saturday’s skiing. Sharon was nervous, but that was to be expected since it was her first time. We had a quick dinner in the restaurant before hitting the backpackers for our first night. We had a 4 sleeper room and were expecting to have to share it, but luckily this never happened. The rest of the evening was spent playing pool and drinker beer with the other guests in the backpackers.

Sharon Prior Perfecting The Snow Plough

Finally Saturday morning arrived. We had a quick breakfast, grabbed a cup of coffee at the restaurant, and were on the slopes before the ski lift even started to move. Sharon’s boots seemed a bit tight but we’d been reassured that they were okay, so we quickly got her onto the beginner slope. I spent the first hour running in front of her catching her when she gained too much speed. She learnt quickly, but seemed to be having problems with her boots and her shin splints. Eventually she needed a rest so I grabbed my board and headed to the top of the slope.

For the first time since I’d been going to Afriski the slope was running at full length. It was AWESOME!! I’m glad to say that I hadn’t lost the touch. I flew down the slope with no problems, grinning proudly…then, as I got to the bottom and was waving at Sharon, I dug in the front of my board, hit the snow face first, and bounced spectacularly. FAIL! Good start Warren!

I had a couple more runs and then went back to help Sharon on the beginners slope. After a few more runs I got her onto the main slope, up to exit 1, and she came down easily. Go Sharon!! On that note we took a break and had a quick boerie roll for lunch. Bet you can’t do that in Europe?

We skied a little more after lunch, but Sharon’s boots were really hurting her, so we took some time off and headed to the surrounding slopes to build a snowman. It was Sharon’s first snowman, and I was pretty proud of it. But he was looking at Sharon with a suspicious eye, so I eventually had to kick his ass!

On our way back to the backpackers we stopped at the ski shop and got Sharon another pair of boots. Hopefully they would do a better job than the first.

Sharon With Our Snowman

Warren “Fighting” A Snowman

We grabbed a quick shower and then headed to the pub for a few beers, some gluwine, and the tri-nations rugby. The Boks were coming off the back of two victories against New Zealand, and we were all hoping that we could do the same to Australia. Luckily for us, and a full pub overlooking the slope, the Boks played fantastically and beat the Aussies convincingly. Go bokke!!

After the rugby the restaurant was packed, and we couldn’t get a table, so we got take away burgers and headed back to the backpackers. When we arrived our two free beds had been occupied by some girls. This was of course exciting for me, but Sharon didn’t seem to agree. The four of us had a restless night, tip-toeing around each other, but soon enough the morning was upon us and Sharon and I headed for the slopes once again.

Warren Prior Carving Up The Slopes

After a short stint on the slopes it appeared Sharon’s new boots weren’t any better, so we headed back to the ski shop for pair number three. These seemed to help but she was still in pain. I nailed a few more runs from the top before taking Sharon up to exit two. She had a good run from there and so we headed back up, only this time disaster hit. Sharon got stuck on the lift and was pulled up the steep section of the slope. Looking down she got a bit rattled and ended up having to edge down on her bum…after giving it a try and having a spectacular fall of course.

We carried on skiing until after lunch, and I managed to perfect a 180 hop off one of the kickers. Fucking A! By this stage Sharon’s boots were causing her real pain and we decided to call it quits. I’d also manage to break a binding on my board, so it seemed like a good time to stop.

This didn’t mean getting off the snow though, and we grabbed some bum boards, found an un-used spot on the slope and went about building ourselves a ramp *Insert evil laugh here*. I’ve got to say that I had some of the most fun on the bum boards and got some epic air…as well as some epic ass bruises.

Sharon Ramping The Bum Boards

Warren Ramping The Bum Baord
Sharon Enjoy Pancakes In Clarence

Eventually the sun started to go down and we headed back to the backpackers for a shower. Gladly the two girls had moved out of our room, and we had it to ourselves once again. After returning our bodies to above freezing we headed to the pub for a few drinks, and then across to the restaurant for a fantastic steak. And that was the end of that.

We hit the road early on Monday morning and stopped off for a fantastic breakfast in Clarens. I’d certainly recommend this place to anyone, I think it was called 278 on Main. Brilliant pancakes!! After our rather large breakfast we wondered around Clarens looking in all the stores. For those of you who haven’t seen it, its very much like Dullstroom. For those of you who haven’t seen Dullstroom, its very much like the Midlands Meander put into one road. And for those of you who haven’t seen the Midlands Meander…what the hell are you doing with your life?! Put down the remote and get outdoors.

Finally we got back into the car and completed the remaining few hours home. Sadly that was the end of a great weekend *sigh*. We spent the rest of the day washing our clothes, and getting ready for Cape Town, which we’re hitting in 36 hours!! Until then…

Afriski, Lesotho