One of Africa’s only ski resorts won’t operate its ski lifts this winter, and the reason why is shrouded in mystery. On March 9th, Afriski in Lesotho announced that their ski slopes won’t operate this winter. For perspective, Afriski is located in the Southern Hemisphere, which means their winter is coming up in a few months. The resort will still have some activities open this winter, just not skiing and riding.
The reason why they aren’t operating this upcoming winter is complicated. In a social media post, they claim it’s due to various challenges and risks that they currently face. Many social media users claim it’s due to load-shedding, which is due to an energy crisis that South Africa and the micro countries inside of it have faced since 2007. Afriski CEO Reuphillan Pelser confirmed that this theory is true in an interview with Jacaranda FM News:
“There is a few reasons but one of the reasons is because it is costly to create a winter wonderland experience in terms of creating the snow that we use on the slopes. The technology and the snow machines that we use is highly dependent on electricity, one of the main reasons that we have been monitoring in the past couple of months is with load shedding.
Looking at what is the probability for us to switch on our snow guns when we need it and what we have found is that we are on the same grid as Clarens and what we have seen in the past four five months is that we have been on load shedding for a minimum of four hours a day and also, instead of just the published times of load shedding, we would also have load shedding at odds times for longer periods.”
According to Metro, another reason could be due to their senior management officials being under investigation by police in Lesotho and being forced to leave the country. They left in January, as the inability to get work permits, facing threats to their safety, and the possibility of going to jail led them to depart. According to the ski resort, the dispute could be over stolen roof sheets at Afriski, but I think that there’s more going on here than what’s being described.
Image Credits: Afriski