Slope of Love: Merging Marriage and Ski Retreats at Vivaldi Park in Korea

Me in front of Vivaldi Park Ski Slopes

Strong Bonds at Sono Belle

Amid the snowy charm of Vivaldi Park Ski Resort, we had an excellent two-in-one deal – a unique ski adventure mixed with the fantastic Strong Bonds marriage retreat. Imagine being cozy in Sono Belle, this cool resort tucked in nature’s lap. It was comfy and stylish, making our winter break even better. Looking back at the fun times of skiing and the Strong Bonds retreat, we felt the enchantment of Vivaldi Park.

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Excitement from the Start

The excitement began on the drive to Vivaldi Park, Hongcheon, Gangwon-do. The drive was a picturesque journey. We drove through small towns with panoramic views, navigating switchbacks that crossed multiple mountain ranges, and passing through tunnels gave the trip a sense of adventure. The anticipation of what awaited at Sono Belle grew with every twist and turn of the road.

Strong Bonds Marriage Retreat

Introducing “Strong Bonds,” a unique relationship retreat designed for married couples and singles alike. This retreat offers a fantastic opportunity to engage in daily activities, workshops, and interactive lectures. The goal isn’t about labeling anyone as right or wrong but rather to equip each individual with improved communication skills for better interactions with partners, colleagues, and the broader world.

The workshops usually ended early, sometimes before noon. We were free to enjoy the resort on our own or with some of the other participants.

Third Strong Bonds Retreat

As a side note, this marked our third Strong Bonds Retreat in Korea. Our journey with these retreats began when we signed up for the first one at the Dragon Hill in Seoul. Due to some unexpected availability, we later had the opportunity to experience the Paradise Hotel in Busan and the Vivaldi Park ski retreat. The chaplain’s last-minute coordination ensured that the funds allocated wouldn’t go to waste.

So, if you’re intrigued by these types of retreats, I recommend contacting your unit’s Chaplain. These retreats are offered every quarter, and the only thing you have to lose might be a bit of discomfort in talking about your marriage or relationships.

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What Happens at a Strong Bonds Retreat?

Every Strong Bonds Retreat is different. But the basic premise is always the same. It is a chance to work on the following: Verbal Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Active Listening, Empathy, Conflict Resolution, Affection and Compliments, Quality Time, Written Communication, Humor, Apologies and Forgiveness, Future Planning, and Silence. I’m sure there are more, but this is enough for a 3-4 day retreat, son’t you think?

As previously mentioned, it’s important to note that the retreat isn’t exclusively for married military personnel; single soldiers can equally gain valuable insights from the training. Effective communication is a skill needed across all interactions. The principles covered in a Strong Bonds Retreat have applications beyond relationships, extending to areas like work dynamics. The training encompasses aspects such as understanding personality traits, identifying love languages, conflict resolution strategies, and active listening techniques. Currently, this opportunity isn’t available for civilians.

Rooms and Suites: A Retreat of Comfort

Sono Belle’s accommodations create a haven crafted to embrace you in complete comfort. Numerous rooms and suites feature private balconies, revealing expansive views of the snow-covered slopes. These balconies become your personal havens, enticing you to reflect serenely as nature’s magnificence unfolds. Enhanced with ondol, or underfloor heating, the rooms provide warmth and coziness for the duration of your stay.

Skiing at Vivaldi Park

Vivaldi Park is located approximately 1.5 hours from Seoul and about 4 hours from Daegu. Its convenient proximity to Seoul contributes to the ski resort’s popularity, particularly during weekends. Vivaldi Ski Park boasts 12 slopes, including 2 for beginners, 5 for intermediate skiers, 4 for advanced, and one designed for expert skiers.

While I can’t precisely recall my last skiing experience, I know it’s been a while. On the other hand, Steven had never been skiing before, but he eagerly anticipated it. Unfortunately, they had run out of helmets that could fit him, preventing him from going skiing. However, I had an incredibly enjoyable time, and I’m hopeful for a chance to visit a ski retreat with him in the near future. After conquering two runs on the beginner slope, I transitioned to the intermediate slopes. As the slope’s steepness increases, the number of people you have to contend with in the lift lines decreases, which makes the overall experience even better.

I think I went up five times before my ankles started killing me. When I was younger, I was on the ski team in college. I grew up in Rochester, New York, and if you didn’t play a winter sport, you spent four to five months indoors.

Night Skiing from Your Balcony

As daylight fades and the moon assumes its prominent position, the ski resort presents you with the exclusive luxury of observing night skiing unfold right from your balcony. The slopes come alive under the moon’s radiant glow, creating an enchanting display that creates an unforgettable memory.

And if you’re seeking winter thrills, Sono Belle has you covered. Choose between sleigh rides that whisk you through enchanting landscapes, skiing down the slopes with the wind in your hair, or mastering the art of snowboarding. The choices are as diverse as your desires, promising unforgettable experiences at every turn. I had planned on doing some night skiing, but alas, I watched the brave souls who participated with a hot cup of coffee— it was too cold for me. However, I did venture outside to ski and enjoy the festive ambiance, with trees covered in lights, adding to the enchantment of the resort.

Endless Entertainment and Excitement

But Sono Belle is more than just a place to rest your head. It’s a hub of entertainment that keeps the excitement alive around the clock. The retreat is more than a ski resort, it’s an underground maze of activities. And having the underground activities was a bonus because it was so cold outside. The resort ensures that there’s never a dull moment with an array of restaurants and cafes, an amusement park, a bowling alley, a theater, video game rooms, bumper cars, multiple playrooms for kids, and more. The underground and covered parking facilities offer convenience and protection from the elements.

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Culinary Delights: A Feast for the Senses

The ski retreat at Sono Belle caters to various tastes, offering both Western and Asian-style dining choices. We had the chance to savor delectable Western dishes, indulge in the rich flavors of local cuisine, and explore options in between. Whether you were craving the comfort of familiar favorites or excited to try something new, the resort’s dining facilities had something to satisfy even the most selective eater.

Everything was covered during the Strong Bonds retreat – from the room and activities to the food and drinks. Our only responsibility was getting there. Our meals were fit for royalty, covering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The first meal treated us to a delightful combination of surf and turf, featuring delicious lobster and steak. The breakfast offerings were wonderfully extensive.

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The Foregone Conclussion

In the end, neither of us experienced any monumental revelations. Our love for each other is unquestionable, yet we came to the realization that we don’t express it to one another as often as we should. Despite our earnest attempts to demonstrate affection, the complexities of our distinct love languages often obscure our intentions, particularly in my case.

I must admit the importance of acknowledging that, despite the glaring disparities in our love languages, he is actively demonstrating his affection in his way. Simultaneously, I had a personal epiphany – the rekindled joy of skiing and the exhilaration it brings. I savored that rush, the wind’s caress against my face, and the cold nip on the tips of my nose. In both situations, I realized there’s still so much we can share and even more I can learn.

Sono Belle promises an unforgettable ski retreat that transcends expectations, whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or simply a respite from the ordinary. With its entertainment options, exciting winter activities, thoughtful amenities, and diverse dining choices, this resort creates an experience as rich and varied as its snow-covered landscape.

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