|Locals hawking tidbits along the route to Yabuli|
it was a long drive to Yabuli, the sight of the resort that greeted us made us
forget about the journey. It was definitely worth the drive there. The resort
was nestled in slight valley with ski slopes surrounding it. There was a very chateau-like feeling for the
first Club Med resort in China. We were indeed looking forward to spending the
next 5 days skiing, eating and having fun at the resort.
resort was well heated, so we did not have to layer our clothing whilst walking
around indoors. The rooms were spacious and we had a fantastic view of the
slopes that was to be our playground for the next few days. The afternoon we
arrived was spent exploring the hotel and its facilities. We checked out the
different eating outlets, one catering to Chinese cuisine and another for the
Western cuisine. These restaurants were popular and one had to book in advance
to guarantee seating, as we found out to our dismay since we only got to try
the Chinese restaurant while we were there. The main dining hall was where we
socialized the most, as the GOs (Gracious Organisers) would come and interact
with the guests at every meal. The international buffet spread did not
disappoint. There was the usual wide selection of cheese and desserts. It got
dark pretty early as it was winter. Dinner was served earlier too at 6pm
instead of the usual 7pm. The food there changed daily while we were there and
they offered both Western and Asian cuisine (Japanese, Korean and Chinese). For
each meal, we always had different GOs sitting with us to introduce themselves
and chatting with us, making us feel welcomed. It was also a great way for the
GOs to “advertise” their responsibilities, be it a ski instructor, land sports
coordinator or the bartender!
Clock tower above Club Med Yabuli
Ah! Spacious and comfortable accommodation.
a winter resort, snow activities like skiing and snowboarding were the main
activities. Free group lessons were provided at all skill levels. Fees were
chargeable if you wanted individual lessons. Rental of ski attire and equipment
were chargeable too. As we were new to snow activities, we had to make the
difficult decision as to which sport to learn during our stay there. Both
skiing and snowboarding lessons were available and equally attractive to
beginners like us. We had to sign up the day before for the ski lessons. Class
sizes were capped at 10. Guests with
kids need not worry as they also have lessons for the little tots. They had a
section cordoned off for the children where they were able to learn safely and
in a fun manner.
All suited up and ready to ski!
Memories are meant to be shared....
the first day of lessons, we were warmly welcomed by the GO and introduced to
our instructor, who is a local resident of Yabuli. Most, if not all, of the
instructors originate from the villages around Yabuli. They were very
professional and highly knowledgeable of the ski slopes, having grown up in the
area. Most importantly, they were friendly and made the ski lessons enjoyable,
despite the many spills and falls in our beginner class. During the first few
hours, we were wobbly and spent a fair bit of time on our butts! However, we soon
started to grasp the fundamentals of skiing and became more stable with our
skis. We began taking advantage of the magic carpets, which were located
throughout the lower slopes to practice our skiing. The wind in your face as
you gained speed down a slope was just exhilarating and you quickly forget the
morning difficulties learning to balance on skis.
We managed to progress from the beginner to the
Intermediate 1 level during our five-night stay at the resort. We took skiing
lessons daily in the morning, stopped for lunch, then eagerly clipped on our
skis again for the afternoon session. One of the highlights that we looked
forward to daily at Yabuli was that during the breaks, we would make our way indoors
for a hot cup of soya bean milk, which was uniquely Asian, instead of hot
chocolate! Skiing did burn a lot of calories and we were always hungry after
each lesson. A point to note for those who want to lose weight healthily and
have lots of fun at the same time!
Up, up and away in a gondola!
En route up the peak.
As we progressed to the intermediate level, we
could take the gondolas half-way up the ski slope and make our way down from
there. For the intermediate level, we had longer and steeper ski runs with
which we could practice what had been taught in the beginner level, and also
gained more confidence in tackling more difficult slopes. The gondolas were
newly installed for the 2009 Winter Universiade, where Yabuli was the official site
for the snow disciplines. Those bright red capsules were definitely more welcoming
than ski lifts, as they were not exposed to the elements, especially the strong
winds swaying the gondola as it moved up the mountain. Once, we took the gondola up to the crest of
the mountain to take in the scenery. The ride up was spectacular. As we moved
further away from the main village up the slope, we could see the surrounding
countryside with its quaint villages, complete with smoking chimneys. At the
peak, we got off and snapped quite a few photographs, and it was a sight to
behold. The sun was setting and it cast a beautiful glow over the valley. We
even made our snow angels in the pristine snow!
Friendly Local Ski Instructor
Magic Carpet Ride!
Gateway to intermediate and advance ski runs
though it was early winter, there was already a lot of snow. It also snowed
heavily during one of the nights, and we could not see beyond the snow flurries
outside our window. The next morning, we experienced the magical feeling of
seeing everything covered in soft snow.
Despite Club Med Yabuli being a winter
destination, there were also other indoor activities that one could try. Yabuli
boasts the first indoor trapeze for a Club Med resort. The trapeze was collapsible
as well so that the space can be freed up for performances. We planned our
schedule so that every day, after our skiing lesson, we would rush to change
out of our ski clothes and head to the trapeze. I am a big fan of the trapeze
and have been doing it since my teens. It was great not to be subjected to the
elements – I was at Club Med Phuket once during the rainy season and did not
manage to get on the trapeze during the whole time I was there! The Circus Team
GOs were friendly and approachable as always. I had great fun on the trapeze
and managed to learn new tricks. While we were there, the Circus Team GOs put
up their inaugural performance. We were kept enthralled and entertained for the
show, holding our breaths when a complicated move was about to be executed and
clapping loudly when the show was over.
The All Weather Trapeze
Trapeze Troupe's Hunks and Babes
We did not have to worry about being bored
after dinner as there was the nightly entertainment show put up by the GOs. There
were comedy skits, talent shows and interactive games like doing the Limbo Rock.
Guest would be invited onto stage and perform with the GOs in the name of good
fun. The GOs were also very friendly and we chatted and had drinks with them
after the performances.
Chillin' with the GOs!
We had a great time there and even exchanged contacts
with some of the GOs to keep in touch before we left the resort. I will
definitely recommend the resort as a value-for-money ski holiday.
Many thanks to Eugene and Genevieve for sharing
their wonderful experiences at Club Med Yabuli!
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