it’s snow much fun!
Treat the kids to an unforgettable winter holiday. SASHA GONZALES rounds up the family-friendly resorts you should check into.
IT’S CHRISTMAS… IN JULY!
Located in Kosciuszko National Park in the state of New South Wales, Thredbo Ski Resort features a range of accommodations, from self-contained apartments and hotels to traditional lodges. Its village contains shops, restaurants, and even a pharmacy, a medical centre and banks.
Check out Thredbo’s “Christmas in July” festival, which takes place every year during the Australian winter and features live entertainment, Yuletide feasts and appearances by Santa.
Thredbo has a variety of trails, from gentle slopes to advanced terrain. Its Snow Play Park, which is located in the
base station area of the village, is perfect for snow tubing and tobogganing, building a snowman, or enjoying a fun snowball ght.
Just for kids The resort offers skiing and snowboarding programmes for children of different age groups: Thredboland is for kids aged three to six years; Thredbo Freeriders, for seven- to 14-year-olds; and Teen Sessions, for 13- to 17-year-olds. Conducted by experienced ski instructors, the programmes are suitable for all skiing ability levels, from beginner to advanced.
The resort’s highly acclaimed Thredboland programme is not only designed to teach little ones to ski; it also includes some indoor play, a warm meal and snacks, and additional support from childcare workers.
Choose from half-day to nine-day passes. A half-day Thredboland pass costs A$167 (S$174) per child, including gear rental.
Where to stay
Thredbo Alpine Hotel, located in Thredbo Village and just steps away from the slopes and bustling Village Square, is a charming boutique hotel with comfortable, cosy rooms. A double/twin room costs A$189 (S$200) per night.
When to go
The New South Wales ski season runs from June to early October, but its peak snow season is between late July and August. Find out more www.thredbo.com.au
ENROL IN A SNOW KINDERGARTEN
Laax, in the Swiss canton of Graubunden, has everything families need for an unforgettable winter holiday.
That includes 224km of slopes, four snow parks, dining and entertainment options, and the Freestyle Academy – a 1,000 sq m indoor play area featuring trampolines and a play room for young children, as well as a separate space for snowboarders, free-skiers, skaters and bikers of all ages.
For a spot of shopping, check out the Outlet Center Alpenrhein Village, which is about 30 minutes away. Here, you’ll nd famous fashion and lifestyle brands, all at affordable prices.
Zurich, about 90 minutes away, is also a great destination for shopping and dining. If you have extra time, go on a day trip to Milan, Italy.
Just for kids
Children under four years old will love the Rocks Resort’s Snow Kindergarten, which provides individual skiing lessons and time in a supervised creche.
Kids aged four years and older can spend time at the Rocks Resort’s Snow Wonderland, a unique skiing school centred on a magician called Ami Sabi. The kids get to hear Ami tell stories and sing songs about the snow and the forest animals, and learn to ski as well.
Children of all ages can also take lessons at the Ski & Snowboard School.
A four-hour beginner’s lesson for four- to 17-year-olds costs CHF 99 (S$138) per person and is conducted by a professional ski instructor. The cost includes the lift ticket, rental equipment and lunch.
Where to stay
The awardwinning Rocks Resort holiday apartments are ideal for families. Choose from various-sized apartments, all comfortably furnished. The resort is home to many restaurants and shops, and even a small petting zoo.
A two-bedroom apartment, which has ve beds, a dining area, living quarters, a tted kitchen area, and bathroom with a mini spa, starts from CHF 1,515 (S$2,136) per week.
When to go
January to April for the best skiing conditions. Find out more www.rocksresort.com
SKI AND TRAPEZE
This resort is located in central Hokkaido, Japan’s northern-most island. The area boasts an incredible natural beauty – majestic forests, clear lakes, and snow-capped mountains. Ride the gondola for beautiful views of the Tokachi plains and surrounding hills.
The smallish resort has 17 trails, most of which are suitable for beginners.
Snowfall averages around 8m per season, and the snow is light, powdery and dry, which is ideal for skiing and snowboarding. Other activities include horse riding through the snowy forest and relaxing in the onsen (hot springs).
The closest town, Shintoku, is a 15-minute bus ride from the resort.
This small village has a few shops and restaurants in case you feel like exploring the area further.
Just for kids Club Med Hokkaido’s Mini Club (for four- to 10-year-olds) and Juniors’ Club (for 11- to 17-year-olds) includes ski lessons for children aged four to 17 years old at no cost.
Where to stay Club Med Hokkaido, at the foot of the ski slopes, is perfect for the whole family. It has an inhouse Flying Trapeze School, which offers ying trapeze lessons, a snow garden for kids, a bungy trampoline, and areas to play mini football, golf, and more.
A resort-only 5D4N stay starts from $2,280 per adult and $1,368 per child. This price includes gourmet dining, premium open bar, activities and Kids Club access, and excludes ights, transfers and a membership fee.
When to go December to March. In March, the weather is pleasant and sunny, snow is abundant, and the slopes are not as crowded. Find out more www.clubmed.com.sg
READY FOR SNOW SPORTS UNIVERSITY?
Located in the state of Vermont, in the northeastern part of the US, Smugglers’ Notch Resort resort has three large, interconnected mountains.
The mountains encompass over four sq m of terrain, with 78 trails that include learning areas for beginners and experts.
Off-slope activities include a year-round zip line canopy tour with zip lines, a suspension bridge and two rappels, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice climbing, snow tubing and ice-skating. The resort also has an indoor pool with waterslides and hot tubs.
Vermont is renowned for its history and outdoor experiences. Just a short drive from the resort, you will come across quaint stores, art galleries, restaurants, and attractions, like the famous Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream factory and Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center.
Just for kids Smugglers’ boasts an award-winning children’s programme known as Snow Sport University. It offers full-day instruction for kids as young as three years old.
The professional coaches help to make skiing and riding fun and easy for the kids, focusing not only on skiing and riding skills, but also on social development and environmental education through on-hill props and activities.
Where to stay West Hill Community is part of Smugglers’ Notch Resort and features premium lodging.
Located mid-way up Morse Mountain on the west side of the resort, it overlooks the village centre and features fully equipped condominium homes. The two- and threebedroom homes at Falcons in West Hill are ideal for families.
The Club Smugglers’ Familyfest package includes lodging, lift tickets, amenities, daily activities, and ski or snowboard instructional programmes for kids aged three to 17 years old.
Package prices start from US$129 (S$176) per night per adult and US$119 per night per youth aged three to 17 years old.
When to go March is warm and sunny, and also has the highest snowfall. Find out more www.smuggs.com
WINTER OLYMPICS, HERE WE COME
Imagine telling your friends and relatives that your kids learnt to ski at the site of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
This is the county of Pyeongchang, in the northern part of South Korea. Here, the trails run as long as 1.4km and are suitable for skiers of all ability levels, as well as snowboarders.
The beautiful mountains are also perfect for leisurely walks and long hikes. Pyeongchang is in Gangwondo province, which is widely regarded as the best in South Korea for snow sports because it has the greatest snowfall.
The Alpensia Ski Resort here consists of hotels, shops, restaurants, supermarkets, and tourist attractions. Don’t miss Ocean 700, a massive, modern water theme park with a variety of pools and mega-slides.
Just for kids Alpensia Ski Resort offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for kids, conducted by certified professional ski instructors. A four-hour group (three students) ski and snowboard lesson costs 140,000 won (S$172) per child. Where to stay Intercontinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort is an Alpine-style village nestled within the Taebaek Mountains (also called the Korean Alps).
The hotel’s child-friendly activities include the Planet Trekkers Children’s Club, which features a programme of tailored services, dining and activities designed specifically for families. A standard room starts from S$185 per night. Book at www.ihg.com.
When to go Mid-November to March. Find out more www.alpensiaresort.co.kr