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A Japan ski holiday with kids need not be a nightmare: our top 10 tips

A ski holiday with kids needn’t be a nightmare. Guest reporter, Di McLean, recently visited Hokkaido, Japan with two small children aged 4 and 6. Here’s her top 10 tips for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday:

1. Its cold in Japan!! Take good quality clothing and accessories. This is absolutely essential for keeping out the cold and for ease of dressing in the morning. If the kids get cold on the slopes it’s game over for you and the kids.  Make sure their gloves are good quality and easy to work with.  The amount of times I had to put gloves on children….

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2. Plan your luggage carefully. e.g. include a few snacks and a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage (in case of accidents), and make sure your snow gear (boots, jackets, gloves, beanies) is easily accessible for when you arrive. It is also helpful to have suitcases that can be rolled or ridden on by small children.

3. Allow lots of time to do everything and get anywhere.  Kids move at a glacial pace. Really! We took toboggans which were very useful for pulling kids around….It reduced our frustration and they loved the ride.

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4. Slow down and appreciate your surroundings. We were itching to hit the slopes and get as much powder time as possible. The kids, however, were simply stoked to play in the snow.

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5. Enroll the kids in lessons. The kid’s group lessons are fantastic, not too expensive and a great way to get some adult time together on the slopes.

6. Skiing is a good option for the kids rather than snowboarding. Whilst my husband and I snowboard, we hired ski gear for the kids, as we felt it would be easier for them to learn with less falls (and therefore less tears and whingeing). We didn’t bother with the ski poles – just another thing to carry.

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7. Don’t go too far down the mountain in front of your kids. When they fall and refuse to get up, it can be a long walk back up.

8. Hot chocolates from vending machines. Self explanatory really.

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9. Ramen. Enough said.

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10. Take the kids and enjoy an onsen at the end of the day. With a few rules, e.g. don’t stare and don’t splash, the kids loved the independence and relaxation of the hot bath experience.

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Hokkaido Tour 2016: Video Edit

Snowriders Western Australia spent 10 days in Hokkaido in February 2016. Here’s a quick edit showing the ‘captured’ highlights. We say ‘captured’, because there were plenty more than this…Hope you enjoy.

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Music credits: D*Note, “Shed my Skin”; Alesso Feat, “Years [Radio Edit]” – both from Ministry of Sound Running Trax: Summer 2013.

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Satire is not dead

Well at least snow satire isn’t anyway.

Yesterday’s post “Trump to ban snowboarding if he wins the US election” was clearly a fake.  It nevertheless caused an unprecedented outpouring of emotion; largely because people interpreted the headline literally. Yep, a good proportion of respondents actually took the article as fact.

That it caused such an emotional outpouring was great for the site, sure; but the ACTUAL intent was to spread some light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek humour about an otherwise very unfunny situation.  This wasn’t everyone’s take.

The article brought home a couple of things: (a) articles based on very little thought or research draw the biggest reaction and (b) a good proportion of the population will believe anything.  Perhaps we should write more satirical pieces.

So now we return to our usual role supplying you (hopefully) with relevant, useful information about the snow-sports industry, and its personalities.

For example, our interview with skiing legend Glen Plake is nearing completion and we hope to bring it you by the end of the month.  Otherwise we are busy working on two additional articles: one showcasing an alternative resort in Honshu, Japan, and another interview transcript; this time with up-and-coming Perth-based aerialist; the lovely Jayden Cooper.

Remember also that Snowriders WA followers are encouraged to submit their own articles for publication. We are particularly interested in receiving trip and/or product reviews along with a series of photographs and/or videos.

In the mean time and to douse the flames following yesterday’s satirical piece, we’ve included a photo of two gorgeous puppies in the snow. Because, who doesn’t love a puppy. Awww!

 Image courtesy of The Adventure Project, Chilean adventures.

Snowriders WA choose to stay at the Red Ski House, Niseko.

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100 cm of the good stuff across the Aussie resorts: punters happy

With four of the five big resorts this morning reporting a snow-base close to or greater than 1 m, things are certainly looking up for the Aussie snowfields.  This is especially so given last weeks rain and flood events, which did significant damage to the existing snow-cover, and generally caused wide spread misery. However, painful memories were wiped away this week with Hotham, Thredbo and Perisher receiving 63, 93 and 90 cm, respectively and Falls Creek, 72 cm from this one storm cycle alone.  “It certainly has been up and down like a bride’s nighty”; said one very happy punter; “but now it’s just epic”. Continue reading 100 cm of the good stuff across the Aussie resorts: punters happy

The 2016 Aussie ski season is off to a great start: or is it?

About this time every year, people start getting really excited about amount of snow on the ground.  Automatically, excitement turns to speculation about what the season might do, where it might end, and how it compares to previous seasons – especially the ones that really delivered i.e. 1992 (316 cm); 1968 (307 cm); 1964 (355 cm) and most famously of all 1981 (361 cm).

With 71.5 cm on the ground at Spencer’s Creek (at the time of writing, though likely going up as we speak), 2016 is off to a pretty good start. But how good is it, and how does it compare? Continue reading The 2016 Aussie ski season is off to a great start: or is it?

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Gulmarg – a powder paradise in the most unlikely of places

The resort

Gulmarg resort is situated in the far northern reaches of India, immediately east of the Pakistani border. Interestingly, it lies in the disputed territory of Kashmir, an area over which India and Pakistan have fought three wars, the latest in 1999. However, with the skirmishes now over (for now), Kashmir is once again quiet….

Gulmarg literally means “Meadow of Flowers”, named for the lush greenery, flowers, fruit and nut orchards that are scattered throughout the highlands during the warmer months. During the snowy season, those visiting Gulmarg for the first time will be immediately struck by its size. You’ll also be struck by its altitude. Maxing out at close to 4,000m (the highest lifted point), the resort opens up to stupefying amounts of vertical; some of the bowls off the summit, for example, have a straight 1,200 metres of thigh-destroying vertical descent (refer to Powderhounds website)….

According to Powderhounds, ‘the amount of Gulmarg ski terrain is virtually unlimited and includes alpine bowls, chutes, cornices, glade skiing amongst ancient pines, and glacier skiing without the glacier(!). That’s not to mention the epic ski journeys down to some of the local shrines and villages which add a whole new dimension to the terrain”.

The charm of Gulmarg lies in the fact that the riding terrain and the ski resort itself remains relatively undeveloped and is therefore serene, lacking the après ski facilities, bars, shops, restaurants and tourist sites that define many Western resorts. Gulmarg is some of nature’s best work – take a few steps away from the hotel and you will soon be lost in an endless white landscape where it will feel like you are the only person around….lost in an eerie white calm, where the silence is almost certainly deafening.

You’ll need an experienced guide

Gulmarg while beautiful, is not for the faint hearted. The terrain is deceptively difficult, some of the exits are complex and avalanches are common. An experienced guide is highly recommended even for very experienced riders. There are many different guides available in Gulmarg and they include Australians, Americans, British, New Zealanders and local Kashmiris. Most offer a variety of packages which in addition to guiding services tend to include all local transfers, accommodation, and most meals.

K-Line

Australian company, K-Line, is a boutique adventure travel company focusing on ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ type skiing and boarding adventures. K-Line has been running quality specialist tours out of Gulmarg since 2009. K-line is run by a professional and highly trained team and only employ highly experienced guides. They have a safety record that is second-to-none and will take you some of the most mind-blowing secret locations on the mountain.

K-Line is a great choice because they keep tour numbers to a minimum making for an intimate experience, but more importantly, a small guide to skiier ratio – which in turn improves safety. As a testament to its impeccable safety practices, K-Line recently established K-Rescue, Gulmarg’s only comprehensive search & rescue service. K-Line is also working with local authorities to secure a decree which will give the area national Park status, thus securing its ecological values for future generations.

Accommodation

K-Line has been in Kashmir since 2008 and in that time has sampled most of the accommodation in the area. Gulmarg has a range of accommodation options ranging from luxury 5 star hotels to more modestly appointed backpacker style accommodation, with 3 and 4 start options in between. K-Line has done the hard work for you and narrowed the options down to a sub-set consisting of the Khyber (5 star), Heevan (4 star) and Alpine Ridge (3 star) hotels, all of which provide direct ski access to the Gondola from the front door.

For more information on Gulmarg, feel free to contact us at shiello72@gmail.com

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