Tag Archives: hokkaido

Arranging for ski lessons

I talked about how hard it was to book ski lessons despite making my intentions known very early. We eventually sorted that out but I thought I would like to record the ski lessons’ booking schedule and costs.

1. 22nd Dec: Private lesson for 4 of us, Tomamu resort, English instructor, 9-11am, 42K yen

2. 23rd Dec: Private lesson for 4 of us, Tomamu resort, Japanese instructor with basic English, 12-2pm, 40K yen

3. 25th Dec: Class lesson for Z & X, Rusutsu Shin Crayon Ski school, 945-1515 including lunch, 16K yen per child

*We were on waiting list for the 1030am English class.

4. 26th Dec: Class lesson for Z & X, Rusutsu Shin Crayon Ski school, 945-1515 including lunch, 16K yen per child

*We were on waiting list for the 1030am English class.

Booking ski lessons

Booking a ski trip during peak season not only meant we had to pay through the nose for ski lessons, it was also very difficult to secure ski classes. It was no thanks to the rigid nature of their customer service. In person, Japanese service was great. Over email, the customer service became non-existent.

I started hounding the hotel over ski lessons’ booking since Jun 2015. However, they kept saying the schedule was not out. After repeated reminders, they finally replied to say that the website was opened for booking. However, it was only available in Japanese. To rub salt to the wound, the system was buggy.

I ended up without a private lesson…

I had to call them directly at this point (and incurring international call charges!!!), kicked up a fuss over email and eventually had a favourable response from them.

Lesson learnt: Just pick up the phone and call.

Though on the other hand, I had perfect support via email from another resort. 

Planning a F&E Ski Holiday

The actual date stamp of this post, as opposed to the scheduled date stamp, was 6th Jun 2015.

That was how far back I had concluded & finalised the planning of this holiday.

How it all began – with the commitment to Z’s school that he would be in school for the entire period leading up to his graduation concert on 27 Nov, we were left with December to plan for a holiday.

It was either a wintry holiday in Europe or a sunny holiday in Australia, or so I thought. I contemplated Barcelona & Turkey but the sheer thought of only sightseeing might not be suitable for Toddler X. It would be a pity to have his terrible twos/threes to mar the beauty of the scenery too.

We had just returned from Tateyama-Tokyo trip when the thought of returning to Japan, especially Hokkaido (after Mr H verified with AVA that food imported from Hokkaido was definitely safe from radiation). We had only been to Hokkaido in 2007. After seeking Mr. Google’s help, I found a particularly useful blog which helped us to decide on going to Hokkaido.

While I had been very familiar with Honshu, planning a F&E trip for Hokkaido had been a different ball game, which led to unbelievable stress at one point. I actually thought that it was 10X more stressful than Primary school registration. I chose the period of 18 Dec – 2 Jan.

First, I had to deal with the lack of award flights for redemption on SQ, so I bought the sweet deals tickets at $3,715 for open jaw Sin-Osaka-Tokyo-Sin flight. It was in June but the sales of domestic tickets were not available till Jul/Aug. I was fine with that till I realised my Tokyo accommodation options were disappearing. Metropolitan Ikebukuro was fully sold out, as per some other favorites which were more affordable, limousine bus stops at lobby or near the train stations.

Next, once I decided on what to do in Hokkaido because the options were plenty but the snow and the lack of flexibility in transportation (long hours, cold & costly) forced me to have a crash course on this island. At one point, Mr H was so frustrated that he decided driving was the best idea. That left my heart pumping overdrive in anxiety after googling for videos on people driving in snowy Hokkaido. We prioritised what we really wanted to do, what we could do with 2 kids with us and the pricing of the options. I was truly grateful to the above mentioned blogger, Bumblebee Mum, who took the trouble to explain and help me with my planning.

Thirdly, even the chosen (costly) ski resorts were getting SOLD OUT. At one point, I was left ‘resort-less’ on Z’s birthday which was on Christmas Day. I was so upset that I could not sleep, all because I mulled over the selections and was a tad too slow by a couple of minutes.

Fourth, even the preferred Sapporo city hotels were getting sold out. Travelling with 2 kids meant we needed a triple room or a room big enough to add an extra bed. That was challenging, and I wanted hotels with metro access so that we did not have to walk in the cold. I ended up overbooking so many hotels, thanks to free cancellations, to review my options without the fear of them getting sold out.

Lastly, I decided to redeem award flights for the domestic leg. While processing half way, the operator told me that I could not redeem till 2 months before departure date and subjected to the quota that their star alliance partner eventually decided upon. Mr H called in, supposedly to appeal, but the new operator actually processed the redemption. Hence, we were 100,000 miles poorer but we only had to pay $9.60 for taxes.

That made my day.

Then I managed to get the resort on Z’s birthday.

That made my day further, and before I knew it, the entire plan was flushed out.

I should be gushing about Z’s going to school but really, at this point, I thought I would like to share the stress of planning this trip. As much as I would like to deny, there was a tiny perfectionist streak in me.

Looking forward to a White Christmas

Information taken from Tomamu Resort. What exciting plans they have in stall!!

Reservation required:

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*Need to buy present in advance for Santa to give:Tomamu

 

Reservation not required:tomamu2tomamu5tomamu3

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