Let it Snow: A Journey to Japan’s Club Med Kiroro

An all-inclusive ski holiday at Club Med Kiroro Grand should be on top of your travel list.
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Let me say this upfront: I am not typically a skiing sort of person. My ideal holiday involves sipping a cocktail by the cerulean waters in the Mediterranean or sunbathing in Bali. But when the chance to experience a different type of “Med” came last December—an opportunity to visit Club Med’s new, all-inclusive luxury ski resort, the Kiroro Grand—I accepted it in the spirit of YOLO. Unbeknownst to me at that moment, it would be the trip of a lifetime.

Primely located on the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan within an untouched domain, Kiroro sees the highest average snowfall of 21 metres and 160 days of winter, making it the perfect ski and snowboarding destination. 

Unless you are a Type-A traveller, an all-inclusive ski resort seems like a no-brainer. Here, Club Med Kiroro Grand has thought of everything possible to alleviate the stress typically associated with mountainous holidays. For starters, an airport transfer becomes an easy two-hour journey via the resort’s shuttle service. Upon arriving, you’ll be greeted by a stunning lobby (that is warm!) with cosy lights, intricate carpets, and beautiful chandeliers and sculptures of native Hokkaido birds hung from the ceiling. The Superior Room I stayed in was a simple and elegant one, kitted out with essential amenities and a window offering brilliant views of the snow-capped mountains. As you can imagine, it was hard to leave my wintry den every morning.

The Superior Room at Club Med Kiroro Grand, Hokkaido

As a ski-in ski-out resort, the star attraction is Mount Kiroro itself. Just head to the pro shop to hire your gear and you are ready to go. Being close to Hokkaido’s western coast means the slopes are powder-soft, ideal for beginners and experts. Good news—lessons are included in the accommodation package. As a first-time skier, I did not know what to expect. However, during the hour-and-a-half-long session, the instructor was patient in sharing useful tips and advice on how to get the basics right. After just two lessons, I was ready and eager to test my skills on the slopes. Before I knew it, I was off, full steam ahead. Well, as full-steam as my novice status would allow me as I shuffle off the chairlift and zigzag my way carefully down the mountain. 

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Even if you are not an eager skier, there are plenty of other things to do. After all, it’s a resort that has something for everyone. The next morning, I opted to head to Asari Peak with an elevation of 1,180 metres. Along the 3.3-kilometre-long ride, I was completely enchanted by the ethereal snowscapes and couldn’t help but belt out the theme song to Frozen. The scenery was beautiful and the untouched snow was so ridiculously soft, it’s no wonder they call it “japow”–Japan powder. 

The outdoor fun extends beyond mountain activities. At an additional cost, you can also try horse riding in the snow or go on a day tour at Otaru coastal town. Located approximately 40 minutes from the resort, the charming little town is known for its glass works, music boxes, and sake distilleries. 

After a long day of activities, the best thing to do is to head to the Japanese onsen in the resort. Soaking in the onsen was so revitalising especially after a day of ski lessons, as it relieved all sore muscles and aching spots. There is also a cedarwood sauna, a hot stone room, and a dedicated wellness lounge for you to unwind in.

The all-inclusive package includes access to the resort’s two dining spots: Yoichi and The Ogon. The former is the main dining area with a buffet-style spread. With an extensive international menu on rotation, you’ll never be bored with the options here. Some of my favourites were the juicy Zuwai crab legs, fresh oysters, and lobster bisque. Local delicacies like Sapporo soup curry and ramen were also available daily. The latter is a hot pot restaurant perfect on a snowy day with fresh seafood, meat, and vegetables. After dinner, head to Yotei, the main bar of the resort to sip on some cocktails, and catch the daily performance. 

For me, choosing a ski holiday would not be at the top of my mind, but after this experience, I genuinely look forward to doing it again. With Kiroro’s prolonged snowfall up to May, my next visit might even be sooner than later. This time, I will have a brand-new ski outfit to match.

GRAZIA Tips: Spring time skiing with Club Med until May, experience the best of both seasons on a single trip where you can enjoy the Sakura Spring Festival but also catch some ski time on the slopes in Kiroro.