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Club Med for kids

Eera

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hey ladies.

I'm a huge Club Med fan. Thought I'd share some experiences of what they are like for skiing in regards to kids.

We initially booked with them after husband and I got talking about taking them skiing for the first time and I searched "best Japanese resorts for families". Both their resorts at Tomamu and Sahoro came up in various review sites. So we bit the bullet and booked (after initially falling over at looking at the cost, but more on that later).

Fast forwards a month and we are on a bus from Chitose Airport after spending a week in Tokyo. Sahoro is a slightly older resort and not flash-bang like some of the newer ones, but we figure it's a room for the night and there's somewhere to eat, and most importantly its got a kids club where the children are taught to ski included in the price.

The kids club runs from about 8am to 5pm. You sign the kids in where they are given an open locker for their helmet and ski gear and a team of international childminders look after them; then they go for their first lesson of the day, divided into groups based on ability. Both mine started in Flake group as they'd never even seen snow before, and initially taught skills on a private kids' area with a magic carpet before going on to the bunny runs with the chair lifts. hey have a lunch break after a couple of hours, then a play session where they do everything from theater to martial arts, and in the afternoon another couple of hours on the slopes.

The thing I really love about it is the progression they make, and each time they progress to a different group there's a medal presentation in the main theater and all the instructors are there to make it a party atmosphere. Before each trip my kids set themselves KPIs - to get into Star 4 this year, or to do every red run on the hill and I love the encouragement that they are given. In the years we've been going my eldest (now 11) is confidently doing red runs with his dad (you can sign the kids out of the club at any point during the day, the last trip he'd do the morning session then we'd have a family ski in the afternoon). My youngest (8) refuses to go with me because I'm too slow and boring apparently.

The instructors have all been wonderful and the kids have mainly enjoyed every second and look forwards to coming back each year - there's a thread here on why not to teach your own kids to ski and I agree with every word, I'm leaving that to the professionals!

So the cost, it's pretty exxy when you first look at it. Also bear in mind that we don't have any readily available snow so we realise we are going to have to pay. However, when you add up all the inclusions; room, all meals and snacks (and not canteen meals either, last year I had king crab, lobster, beef wellington and venison - the food is awesome), and open bar including spirits (I was also sick after Shot Night but let's not go there); four or five hours tuition a day if you want it, from all levels from real beginner through to highly advanced - the instructor my husband struck up a bromance with represented Bosnia at international level back in the day - kids club and entertainment, to cost is on par with doing it yourself, just with zero hassle.

I probably wouldn't recommend Club Med if you don't have a family in tow, but I do and I love their model and attitude. When you get off the bus the staff line up and shout "Welcome home!". And that's how I feel - Sahoro is our home away from home and we look forward to returning each year immensely.

A couple of photos - the awards ceremony where the kids get promoted to the next level; mast 8 taking part in a talent show (which was mainly doing all the dances from Fortnite); and him telling me to keep up as I was holding him back.
 

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Eera

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
It totally is. The kids actually value their medals and store them with their athletics trophies and soccer awards. That the instructors are involved in so much more than straight instructing is awesome - and that they also seem to enjoy it!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
My DH and I went to Club Med Copper Mountain in 1989. As you say - all inclusive. I think if you wanted spirits there was a extra charge, but beer and wine were free.

I remember noticing the kids club and asked someone with kids about it. Like you they were returning year after year. So, my doctor skis, she had small kids then and when I mentioned that I had been out west to Club Med she asked me was there a kids club. I said yes and it looks wonderful. You drop the kids off after breakfast and you don't have to see them again till supper. I wouldn't have been surprised if the instructors tucked the kids some nights.

On our way out of the resort, the head of the ski school noticed the pin I wear on my sweater. It's my L2 CSIA pin. He reads it and says to me in heavy accented french...How come you not in my group? I responded with - I ski pretty not fast!

I so want to try the new one in Quebec. And I've already heard about some CSIA instructors that are heading there for next season.
 

Eera

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
That new one looks fantastic. trouble is I think it's as physically as far from us as you can be and still be on the American continent. We were hoping to go to one of the European ones in 2022 but that ain't going to happen. I've been learning French especially too!

It is a bit of a cult, has to be said.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
I know....it's a day's drive for me. Right now my ski buddy has booked us again (damn Covid) for Banff in February. But that still might not happen. I could head to Quebec there by myself if needed, since I know at least 2 instructors heading there next season.
 

Eera

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
OMG, having Banff on your doorstep! Couple of years ago I took the husband for the trek around the Pacific Northwest and surrounding states, we stayed in Canmore for a while. We were both so awestruck by the area we started making noises about buying an apartment there. Until one of the locals mentioned it had been -45C the previous winter. That's a nope from us then.

(for reference, it's pretty much winter here. Nights are 12C and days 26C and I was wearing a sweater today)
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Today here was 14C a little sun...tonight is supposed to be 4C. We're into spring and you're into fall.

Banff isn't exactly on my door step....maybe a 4 hour plane ride, but, I've a friend that lives in Banff. They have a great 1/4 of a 4 plex. But, they've decided it's better to get a place in Canmore than Banff. You don't get to own the land in Banff, only the building. So..

Yeah, If I ever win the Lotto, it's a place at Tremblant and Canmore, upgrade the cottage....ah...dreams..
 

ilovepugs

Angel Diva
I so want to try the new one in Quebec. And I've already heard about some CSIA instructors that are heading there for next season.

Is that the one at Le Massif? I’m interested after reading this review!
 

Eera

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Is that the one at Le Massif? I’m interested after reading this review!

Yeah, its official name is Charlevoix, I think it's the only one they've got on Canada right now. You get some really great discounts if you book early - 30% or so. They've still got some reasonable prices for January 2022. If you're looking for 2023 sign up for alerts for the sales which open usually end of January.

(I'm not affiliated with Club Med in any way. Just super happy with them)
 

Eera

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Today here was 14C a little sun...tonight is supposed to be 4C. We're into spring and you're into fall.

Banff isn't exactly on my door step....maybe a 4 hour plane ride, but, I've a friend that lives in Banff. They have a great 1/4 of a 4 plex. But, they've decided it's better to get a place in Canmore than Banff. You don't get to own the land in Banff, only the building. So..

Yeah, If I ever win the Lotto, it's a place at Tremblant and Canmore, upgrade the cottage....ah...dreams..

Yeah there's un petit château en Dordogne avec mon nom dessus...
c'mon Powerball!
 

cloudysky

Diva in Training
Hi everyone!

I just came back from Club Med Charlevoix (3 nights) and can happily share some thoughts. This is my second club med, but first one with kids - I went to Valmorel last year with a friend.

food: we only ate at the buffet and it was good enough for me. They try to change it up and had special fancy dishes (pre-plated) every night. There is always burgers, various pasta and pizzas which kids always liked. I think club med valmorel (France) did have better food and selection BUT the French resorts had to be booked by the week, so it made sense they had to be more creative with the buffet. But for me, charlevoix was good enough

side note: it doesn’t bother me but my friend was unimpressive with the fact they had tons of chipped plates they continued using - so just be ware if you care

Entertainment: my 3 kids (4,6,9) enjoyed the family shows at 8:15pm every night! There was one afternoon (the apre-ski) designated to kids with popcorn and cotton candy machines, bouncy castles in the theatre. Other days it would be with sandwiches and snacks for after skiing. I thought doing the kids days was a nice touch and big hit!

Pool is a decent size and there is a smaller toddler pool. There is only one Jacuzzi and always crowded, however this was the same at valmorel - I don’t know WHY club med builds one tiny jacuzzi only (off topic, the delta MSA hotel just opened their renovated pool and outdoor hot tub and it is amazing)

lessons and skiing: obviously, in my opinion, this is what makes club med ski resorts worthwhile but only if you utilized the lessons

kids club makes it very easy for parents, you drop off the skis and equipment beforehand and bring your kid in the morning. Even the snowpants and jackets can be kept at the club!

downside to lessons: like the club med in France, lessons can get crowded. As an example, we typically would start with like 10 people in the morning (usually more and then split the groups, but you can still be stuck with 10+ in a group). Instructors do their best to give tips and drills but with 10 people (or even 6, 7) it’s hard to personalize suggestions. I however, did get lucky thanks to the weather (?) being -25 with windchill. Half of the people either had enough with the cold or other reasons, we usually ended with smaller groups in the afternoon. One of the days we had just 4 so the instructor took us to ski black runs and gave personal feedbacks (I signed up for level 4 and black runs isn’t typical - except if the instructor felt confident with the group)

Similar for kids, although the groups are a bit smaller (6ish) but they don’t get a whole lot of tips. With that said, it was perfect for my 4 and 6 years old who are really just getting more mileage in. For my 9 year old, I wish she had more personal tips - but I knew what I signed up for. Overall, they were happy skiing in their group and I got to go to my lessons.

Le Massif itself is so far my fav Quebec ski hills (I’ve been to tremblant, MSA and Stoneham). Besides this trip, I was here during Christmas and I found their snow condition to be quite consistently good. Runs are long and interesting, consistent as well. Not crowded at all even when the gondola line gets busy.

Overall we enjoyed it and would go back mayve every couple of years for a few days (not 7 though) the cost on a daily basis is more than going to a club med alps resort, but I like the fact I can book for just 3 days and not limited to 7.

Happy to answer any additional questions!
 

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