I try to look as attractive as I can like I am taking pleasure in this overcrowded scene, but really I am wishing I was in a winter wonderland surrounded by large falling Stella flakes and powder packed peaks. Summer for most skiers is a bit of a love hate relationship; you crave the tan, BBQ’s, beverages in the sun, balmy evenings on the deck with friends, beaches, surfing, and babes in bikinis and boardies. But then you are in it, the novelty only lasts so long suddenly your back to skiing withdrawals and wishing you were some place with snow. I have been back in Melbourne Australia for a total of three weeks, I am still melting in the heat and my saving plan for northern winter has already long gone out the window on latte’s and gourmet meals. I am back to the reality of working shift work in overcrowded hospitals and now entering the climax stage of the ‘get me back to snow’ withdrawal. I know I am not the only snow bunny feeling this way in the world right now, in fact I have two like-minded souls lying on beach towels either side of me, the topic of conversation; Japan.
The light at the end of the withdrawal tunnel is a gleaming ski trip to a snowy destination in the northern hemisphere. Many Australians and New Zealanders make annual trips to the northern winter, however you don’t have to be a die hard professional to enjoy an overseas ski trip to arguably some of the best snow in the world. In a sport largely dominated by males when it comes to snow sports many women struggle on ski holidays to get out there and do what they want to do, and go where they want to go, often pressured by the ‘go hard or go home’ phenomenon. You want to go on a trip with your girlfriends’, you all love the snow, why can’t you go on your own trip to enjoy the best powder in the world without males there making the decisions for you? I decided to look further into this and was very excited to discover a wonderful company who is setting about to create an experience that enables exactly this. I am so thrilled about this that not only do I want to get there ASAP myself for some snow, a cultural holiday and relaxation, but I also have to share it with you so you too can make the most of this amazing opportunity. Let me introduce you to Snow Goddess Retreats…!
Snow Goddess is the sister retreat of Surf Goddess, the world’s most popular female surf retreat in Bali since 2002. Snow Goddess is a relaxed weeklong holiday experience including the amazing culture of chosen host country Japan. It has a fascinating and unique culture; from the world famous snow Monkeys to ancient Japanese Tea Ceremonies. Snow Goddess Retreats are for women who are excited to try something new, visit a new country or simply enjoy the best winter vacation ever. No matter where you are from in the world, whether you are a solo traveller, group of friends, mother and daughter, or a female family group, snow goddess can cater for you all.
As a guest you will stay in a private lodge the “Snow Goddess Sanctuary”, which is located less than 50 meters from the Sakka chairlifts. Yes that is correct only 50 meters from the first chairlift; think of all that extra time you can sleep in instead of driving to the ski field! The cozy lodge is styled with feminine details that create a place where guests can relax and indulge themselves. The lodge features snug individually heated bedrooms (private or shared) and open plan softly furnished living spaces to provide a divine place to relax after a satisfying day in the snow. Breakfast and dinner are included in the retreat with the exception of 2 dinners to allow guests to have the opportunity to try some of the delicious local cuisine.
The retreat includes the option of daily ski or snowboarding instruction for every level (so you don’t have to be the next Torah Bright or Janina Kuzma to join in). Guests are broken into smaller ability based groups for their lessons, and benefit from a full access lift pass so you have the freedom to explore the relatively un-crowded 200 runs with friends and retreat guides. Your yummy on mountain lunch is also included after the morning lesson. Off the mountain there are in-house yoga sessions, visits to the local Japanese onsen (hot spring bath) and a “Bliss Day” where guests can choose from one of the following activities: Snow monkeys/sake brewery/temple tour, Japanese cultural tour, snowshoe tour, snowmobiling, or an extra Day Ski Pass. Aside from what I have already mentioned the list of inclusions goes on and on, in fact this retreat has you so well covered from airport stays and transfers, accommodation, activities, treats and relaxation it is far too much for me for me to rave about!
At this point I am sure many of you snow bunny’s have pricked your fluffy ears up at the sound of this amazing retreat, and maybe even some loving partners who want to treat their lady for an amazing holiday (while you go off riding powder pillows with the boys).
A Goddess Retreat could probably sound great no matter what country it was in, hence why I think it is important to touch on the biggest factor in planning a ski or board holiday, the destination.
Why Japan? The Japanese Alps are world famous for the quality and depth of light powder snow that falls in great abundance each year. On average Japan can expect 11+ meters per season and with plenty of backcountry areas to explore.
Home to the 1998 winter Olympics, part of the beauty of Hakuba (the host village) is the size of the valley with 9 varied mountain resorts, over 200 groomed runs and 139 chairlifts.
Not only will you experience some of the best powder in the world, but as mentioned before you will also get to enjoy the beautiful Japanese culture, people, and food.
I wanted to know what sets Snow Goddess Retreats above others if you were to go on a Japanese snow holiday, so I asked Michelle one of the Snow Goddess team leaders;
"Snow Goddess Retreats is the first and only female ski/snowboarding retreat in Japan (and also Asia!). What makes Goddess Retreats truly magical is our Team. We are all experienced open-hearted, life-loving professionals who have live and work in the region of our retreats. This allows us to not only provide our guests with the highest quality of care and instruction, but also facilitate an in depth and intimate travel experience that most day-to-day tourists could never imagine exists. Also most of our team have been working on our retreats for many, many years, so they have developed the priceless gift of intuitive knowledge of how to facilitate a truly magical group experience and also the special little gems that each guest needs to make their individual experience a joy."
I have been planning to ski in Japan for a few years now, every time I plan to go it usually doesn’t fit in with my work schedule or my ski buddies aren’t going to be there at the same time. I am over the moon that Snow Goddess is now up and running as it means you can have an amazing snow holiday without having to take too much time to plan, they are short and sweet, and you can go on your own knowing you will be taken care of by the Goddess team and make great friends with other retreat participants. The countdown is on, only six more weeks sweltering in this Australian heat and I will be submerged in Japanese powder, if you haven’t yet booked tickets for a northern hemisphere snow trip there is no time like now, bring it on!!
For more info about Snow Goddess retreats head over to their website http://www.snowgoddessretreats.com
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