Looking for a stress free, ultra convenient, all inclusive ski holiday with the kids? We found all you could want and more at Club Med Tomamu.
Living in year-round summery conditions in Singapore makes a snow holiday with the kids high on our yearly vacay wish list. A break from the heat, catching snowflakes and building snowmen like a scene from Frozen sounds like a dream, especially if you are a family of sporty skiers or snowboarders. Ski holidays with the family are seriously great fun. There are lots of benefits to teaching the kiddos to carve up the snow from an early age (when they are fearless and less likely to worry about embarrassing themselves when falling over, for instance!).
But snow holidays with the family can take a lot of planning and involve a lot of bulky packing. Ski trips can also blow out in expenses, especially considering the cost of snow gear, lessons, and lift passes. It can be risky business to spend the family holiday budget on a snowy escape if you are new to it and not sure what you need, where to go for guaranteed snow, or if the fam will even enjoy it! Enter Club Med Tomamu, an all-inclusive resort in beautiful Hokkaido, Japan. Here’s our hot take on this very cool, family-friendly ski resort in Japan!
10 reasons we love a family ski holiday at Club Med Tomamu, Japan
1. Beautiful, stress-free, and so convenient
One of the biggest draw cards of Club Med Tomamu is the location and the incredible convenience. Once you’ve booked your stay, almost everything is all-inclusive. From the Mini Club to the group ski lessons (ages four and above, including adults), the lovely food and most drinks (including various alcoholic options and cocktails, woo hoo!) You don’t have to worry about a thing once you arrive.
A handy wristband allows you to access your room and private ski locker, where you can keep your boots, skis and snowboards. Lift passes are included in your stay and can be kept in the arm of your snow jacket so you can easily buzz through. You can literally ski to and from the door of the hotel – this is an epic plus for us!
2. The conditions were excellent. The snow! So much snow. Do you want to build a snowman (or ski or snowboard?)
For our kids’ first time seeing snow, Club Med Tomamu was pure magic. It snowed daily, and we often had more than four inches overnight, but with sunshine in the mornings! Granted, the weather is luck of the draw, but we hear there is rarely a lack of fresh powder during the wintertime to play or ski in. The kids loved having snowball fights, making snow angels and building snowmen. The quality of the snow and the conditions were, quite simply, unbelievable.
3. Mini Club! Petite Club! Happy kids = Happy parents
Kids rule at Club Med Tomamu, and it makes for a stress-free holiday knowing they are so well taken care of, so the adults can hit the slopes in peace from the time the lifts open (around 9:30!). Kids aged 4 and above can join Mini Club. They are divided into groups based on their ski/snowboard ability and taken for lessons twice daily to build their skills. They enjoy a team lunch at the buffet, and every afternoon there are fun activities and games to keep the kids occupied.
Little ones aged from two to three can join Petit Club for an additional daily fee. As they are a little too young to ski in most cases, they enjoy games, colouring and craft activities, and snow play together with a little playground and snowman making! All meals, snacks and nap time are all looked after, and our little girl couldn’t wait to go back every morning – a great sign in our book! Under two’s will need a private babysitter, which is a bit more costly, but oh so worth it.
4. The expert instructors (and free lessons!)
Ski lessons are included for everyone in the family aged four and up, which is an amazing benefit of staying at Club Med Tomamu. The whole family would wear their thermals to breakfast with a fleece, so we could be ready to hit the slopes as soon as the lifts opened. The kids would take themselves to Mini Club (over ten years of age, you can choose to allow them to sign themselves in!), and they would be helped into their jackets, salopettes, gloves and helmet. After a day on the bunny slope (complete with magic carpet for the kids to ride to the top of the hill!), the kids moved up a group and were able to go on the chairlifts! The instructors were excellent in building the kids’ confidence and teaching them the skills needed to ski and have fun on the slopes.
Adults don’t miss out on lessons! As I hadn’t skied in over twenty years (gulp), I started off with a refresher lesson in Club 1. By the end of the session, I was ready to confidently join my husband on the slopes. The instructors are very knowledgeable and patient, and being divided by skill level means you can go as fast as your slowest group member. Even advanced skiers and snowboarders were joining group sessions to go off-piste across the mountain!
A quick note on the littlies
Kids aged two to three will need private lessons, and these are pricey – $270 Singapore dollars for thirty minutes. We gave it a go to see if our little one would enjoy it, and we can say that timing is everything. Try and do a morning session when your kiddos are fresh and ready to try something new. After nap time did not work well for us. But our instructor was lovely and kind, and we are hoping to try again on our next visit!
5. Spoilt for choice with endless food options
For a fairly remote location on a snowy mountain in Japan, we were very pleasantly surprised by the great food at Club Med Tomamu. The main buffet restaurant, Itara, has lots of Asian and Western fare, including Japanese, of course. Everything was very prettily presented, and the kitchen spaces were open so you can see the chefs at work and have a chat about the dishes on offer. The kids were always happy with a slice of fresh pizza hot from the oven and some ramen noodle soup!
There is also a great barbecue grill restaurant, Haku, where you can grill your own meats and veggies. This was a really fun experience and paired nicely with the free flow sake on offer! Which brings us too… the open bar. Being able to order a selection of drinks, including wine and cocktails, was such a treat! There are also chargeable premium pours available, but we found the huge selection was more than enough for us.
6. Loads of fun at the nightly entertainment in the theatre
Every evening, the whole resort community gather in the theatre for nightly entertainment. One night, the Mini Club held a talent show, and all the kids got to showcase their singing and dancing! New friends are made instantly, there’s hardly any room for screen time. Not once did we hear the phrase ‘I’m bored’. It took superhuman strength to pry the kids away from the theatre at the end of every night, and they were raring to go every morning – very refreshing!
7. Taking a break from the snow with a visit to Mina Mina Beach wave pool
An indoor wave pool in the snow? Yes, it was as fun as it sounds! Little deck chairs line the edge of the pool for you to relax and watch the kiddos splash. There are also inflatable toys to hire for a small fee. It was surreal to be in the water and see the snow falling outside. There are lockers and towels provided, and even hairdryers, so you don’t have to go back out in the cold with wet hair. They really have thought of everything!
8. Experience an authentic (outdoor) Japanese onsen
I had never visited an onsen in Japan before, and this was an incredible experience. The onsen is divided into male and female baths. There is a separate locker entry, and all ages are welcome but note that you do need to be totally nude. My kiddos were not ok with this, so best to check in with them before entering. Also, note that no tattoos are allowed. After undressing and showering at the small seats at the entrance, including washing hair, make sure you take the smaller orange towel with you to the onsen. It is to dip in the water and fold over your head, so you don’t get cold, because it is an outdoor bath! There is a view of snow-covered trees, and as the snow was falling and landing on my eyelashes but would evaporate as it met the steam from the (very hot) onsen bath, the whole experience was truly magical.
9. Visit the ice village for more fun activities (and nightly fireworks!)
The Ice Village is located a short walk from Club Med Tomamu. It features an outdoor ice skating rink, a chapel where weddings take place, and an Ice Bar, where the goblets are made of, you guessed it, ice! As we could see the fireworks from our room at 5:30pm every evening, we didn’t venture over as we wanted to have an early dinner to be on time for the evening shows. But if we had stayed longer, we would have loved to check this out!
10. Have an unforgettable family snow holiday with unique experiences (ski-doo, fishing, hiking)
If skiing or snowboarding isn’t your thing, or you just want to try something different, there are loads of other snow-based activities to take part in. Guided walks, ski-doo tours and ice fishing (chargeable) are just some of the adventures we saw advertised!
1. Best time to go:
January and February are the most popular times, and this also coincides with the kids’ school holidays. However, the snow is great all the way through March most years, and you might find the price dips!
2. How to get there:
We flew ANA from Singapore to Haneda, Tokyo, spent a night there, and then flew domestically to Sapporo. There are direct flights available, and best to book well in advance for the best prices. Club Med Tomamu provides a coach transfer from the airport (this takes about an hour); just follow the signs to the tour desk.
3. What to pack:
Make yourself a packing list, as everyone will need a lot of gear! Most important is the thermals (Uniqlo Heat Tech Ultra Warm worked really well for us, and we sometimes layered two on colder days!). We would then have a fleece zip jumper over our thermals. A windproof jacket and salopettes are a must, excellent gloves, a snood and balaclava for windchill, and snowproof boots (Decathlon served us well for those!).
We have a list of shops to buy snow clothes in Singapore if you need inspo. If you plan well in advance, you can order online from the US for a wider range and cheaper pricing – the best time to do this is in March or April when the sales are on, ready for the following year. Also, check classifieds websites and Carousel for snow attire, as often you can find lightly used, high-quality clothing for a very discounted price! Don’t forget to pack moisturiser, sunscreen and lip balm for everyone – the cold weather is very drying on the skin!
Skis, poles, boots, snowboards and helmets can all be rented from the Pro Shop on-site. There’s no need to bring your own. A big range of snow jackets and pants are also available to purchase and rent. There’s no need to dress up for meals, the vibe is very casual, so don’t overpack on non-ski clothes – jeans or activewear are fine.
Psst… Leave the pram behind; you can borrow one free of charge from the hotel to get around indoors at the resort!
Thank you, Club Med Tomamu, Japan, for hosting us! Have questions? Send us a message!