BREAK THE ICE

Look­ing for a winter va­ca­tion? LYNN WEE checks out this fam­ily-friendly re­sort in Sa­horo, Ja­pan.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

Look­ing for a winter va­ca­tion? Check out this fam­i­lyfriendly re­sort in Sa­horo, Ja­pan.

The last time I tried to ski was nine years ago, so imag­ine my trep­i­da­tion as I started my be­gin­ners’ ski class at Club Med Sa­horo Hokkaido.

But, there’s some­thing about the hol­i­day chain’s sup­port­ive GOs (Gen­tle Or­gan­is­ers) which made learn­ing this chal­leng­ing sport a breeze. Be­ing able to glide down the in­ter­me­di­ate-level slopes at the end of my two­day class is tes­ta­ment to that.

Per­haps it’s their pa­tience, or the fa­mil­ial warmth they ex­ude, which makes you feel at ease. They gave the warm­est wel­comes when we ar­rived, and the most sin­cere smiles when­ever we bumped into them. Af­ter all, they are am­bas­sadors of the club.

So, don’t be sur­prised if you end up hav­ing lunch with them, like we did with our ski in­struc­tor – this spirit of camaraderie epit­o­mises the essence of the Club Med.

If you’re a more ad­vanced skier, you’ll be pleased to know that the ski piste runs for 25km, cov­er­ing 21 slopes that range from be­gin­ner to ex­pert lev­els.

Best of all? It has ski-in, ski-out ac­cess, which means you can hit the slopes right from your doorstep. There’s also a gon­dola lift that fer­ries you to var­i­ous cour­ses, so you don’t have to hike up the hills with your bulky equip­ment and lit­tle ones in tow.

JUST FOR KIDS

What sets the re­sort apart is its kids’ club, which offers a myr­iad of child-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties to keep your lit­tle ones en­ter­tained for hours.

The kids’ club is di­vided into four cat­e­gories:

• Club Med Baby is for new­borns to 23 months old (reser­va­tions re­quired)

• Pe­tit Club Med is for ages two to three (avail­able at an ad­di­tional cost)

• Mini Club Med is for ages four to 10

• Ju­nior Club Med is for 11 to 17 years old

Most child guests take

ski­ing and snow­board­ing classes dur­ing the day, but if yours pre­fer to stay in­doors, the re­sort also offers arts and crafts ac­tiv­i­ties and ball games, Davin Ed­wards, man­ager of Club Med Sa­horo’s Mini Club, shares.

Like­wise, fam­i­lies who want to take a break from ski­ing can opt for out­door ac­tiv­i­ties such as horse trekking and ice shing (avail­able at an ad­di­tional cost), as well as in­door ones like squash, yoga, bad­minton and ta­ble ten­nis.

Don’t for­get to pack your swim­suits, as well. There’s an in­door pool that starts from 0.6m deep, and an ofuro (Ja­panese public bath with sauna) where par­ents can bond with their brood.

And if you’re feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous, opt for a dip in the Cana­dian bath – an out­door heated Jacuzzi set in a snowy eld.

We had our doubts about loung­ing out­doors in swim­suits at -2 deg C.

But it was worth it – the heat not only melted the cold the mo­ment we stepped in, but our fa­tigue away as well. And, go­ing by what we saw, par­ents might also want to let the kids have a go (pic­tured, top right).

FEASTING & PAR­TIES

Once play­time is over, head over to Daichi, the main res­tau­rant of­fer­ing an in­ter­na­tional buf­fet spread. There, you can ex­pect a wide se­lec­tion of de­lec­ta­ble dishes from lo­cal dishes such as sashimi, sushi and soya-based ra­men, to pre­mium ones such as pan-seared scal­lops, lamb chops and beef Wellington. Plus, there are food op­tions such as chicken karaage, fries and pasta to sa­ti­ate the younger ones’ palates.

A must-try is the Hokkaido milk soft-serve ice cream, which of­fered a rich and creamy tex­ture with ev­ery mouth­ful.

Par­ents with young in­fants will be pleased with its baby cor­ner, as well. It has Miffy-themed plates and bowls and in­stant baby foods such as the Loco Moco-style stewed soya-bean ham­burger steak and sim­mered cod­fish and veg­eta­bles, from Ja­panese brand Wakodo. They’re suit­able for ba­bies aged seven months and older.

Af­ter din­ner, don’t re­treat to your room just yet. Com­plete the night with evening shows fea­tur­ing ac­ro­batic acts and dance per­for­mances put up by the GOs, and par­ties at the kid­friendly Wakka bar, which serves mock­tails, too. The theme varies ev­ery evening.

Fam­i­lies con­sid­er­ing a ski va­ca­tion at the north­ern­most is­land of this ar­chi­pel­ago can also look for­ward to the chain’s new­est ad­di­tion – Club Med To­mamu Hokkaido, which opens in De­cem­ber.

In ad­di­tion to its kids’ club and fam­ily-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties, it also boasts nearby at­trac­tions such as Mi­naMina Beach – Ja­pan’s largest in­door wave pool – a snow marsh­mal­low fac­tory and an ice bar at the Ice Vil­lage (pic­tured above).

HOW MUCH En­ter­tain­ment, meals, and ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing ski lessons and kids’ club ac­cess are cov­ered in its all-in­clu­sive hol­i­day pack­age. Rates start from $3,448 for a four-day three-night stay at Club Med Sa­horo Hokkaido, for two adults and one child aged four to 12 years old. FIND OUT MORE www.clubmed.com.sg

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