Keep Crushin’ It on International Women’s Day

At Rhythm Japan, we like to celebrate our team of hard-working legends every day of the week, but when it comes to International Women’s Day, we feel an extra celebration is needed.

If you’ve ever spent time skiing or snowboarding, you’ll know that some of the biggest shredders on the mountain are undoubtedly the girls, so today we celebrate the women who have made the winter sports industry more diverse, accepting and exciting than ever before, both on and off the mountain.

From taking the sport to new heights, inspiring others, and being leaders in the workplace, Rhythm Japan has a lot of leading ladies who we feel deserve some love for all they do for the company, the local mountain community, and snowsports as a whole. Naturally, we couldn’t interview all of them, that would make for a full-sized novel, not a blog. Although we did manage to catch up with a handful of legends who we feel especially uphold Rhythm Japan’s ethos of Keep Crushing It on International Women’s Day.

Sophie Morris – Snowboard Rental Technician, Hakuba

Where are you from?

“I’m from Melbourne, Australia.”

How many seasons have you done in Hakuba 

“This is my second season in Hakuba, so I’ve done two seasons with Rhythm.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

“International Women’s Day is a chance for us girls to come together and celebrate snowboarding and skiing. What we bring to the industry is important, so it’s a good chance to have fun and celebrate with everyone together.”

Have you experienced difficulties as a female in the snowsports industry?

“I’ve experienced a little bit. Back in Australia, I work in a Snowboard Shop, and there was a time when I had a male trying to buy a setup and he just didn’t really have the trust in me because I was a young female. I think as an older guy that’s been snowboarding for many years it was hard for him to trust what I was trying to sell him, but that was the only thing I’ve experienced.”

Which women inspire you the most.

“There’s a US snowboarder named Grace Warner.  I love watching her, her style is really cool and she has unique tricks, which I admire. She was probably my intro into snowboarding.”

Do you participate in other activities aside from skiing and snowboarding?

“I also skateboard.”

How does female representation in the skateboarding industry differ to the snowsports industry?

“It’s kind of similar, I think it’s actually a little less than the snow industry, although it’s definitely growing a lot after the Olympics.” 

What influence do you strive to have on your female colleagues?

“I would say supporting all the females, especially with snowboarding. A lot of girls get scared to go into the park, so that’s something that I like to support others with.”

Sachi Claydon – Finance Manager, Niseko

saschi thinking

Where are you from originally?

“Dosanko! (It means from Hokkaido)”

How many seasons have you done in Niseko and how long have you worked for Rhythm Japan?

“So many seasons from childhood, I have worked at Rhythm for 15+ years.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

“A day I can feel so many positive vibes, and make me realise I live in such a wonderful period of history.”

How has your experience been working as a female in the ski industry?

“So far, so good.”

In your working life, have you experienced any gender discrimination?

“Not really (Luckily).”

As a skier/boarder, have you ever experienced any gender discrimination on the mountain or in the park?

“Not really (Luckily).”

Have you noticed a more positive approach towards gender equality since moving to Niseko or Hakuba compared to your hometown?

“Yes – I guess it is because Niseko is a very international town and has a dynamic nature of approach.”

As a company, do you feel Rhythm Japan empowers females and if so, how?

“Yes – I’m not sure of the exact number but I believe that the percentage of women on the management team is high. I think the focus is on the person’s motivation, regardless of gender.”

What advice would you give to females wanting to start working in the ski industry? 

“You can only push forward and focus on what you want to do, regardless of your gender. Be honest about your feelings and value such subtleties.”

Polly Wu – Guest Service Supervisor, Niseko

polly smiling

Where are you from originally?

“Taiwan.”

How many seasons have you done in Niseko and how long have you worked for Rhythm Japan?

“In total 6 seasons in Niseko and 2 with Rhythm!”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“Surely half of the population who built the world and all the civilizations were women and yet the world forgot to treat females with respect. I am glad International Women’s Day exists! It reminds the world that females deserve the rights just like the males.”

How has your experience been working as a female in the ski industry?

“It has been pretty good! It is a male dominant industry but I am happy to see a lot of females are acing it!”

In your working life, have you experienced any gender discrimination?

“Yes, it was mostly from customers. In order to convince them, sometimes they just need a male to explain exactly the same thing…”

As a skier/boarder, have you ever experienced any gender discrimination on the mountain or in the park?

“Personally, no.”

Have you noticed a more positive approach towards gender equality since moving to Niseko or Hakuba compared to your hometown?

“Yes, at least in Rhythm and my previous employer in Niseko, the directors of the company are female.”

As a company, do you feel Rhythm Japan empowers females and if so, how?

“Yes, Rhythm does a great job of empowering females. From director to managers, several crucial roles in the company are female, this not only inspires a woman like me but also shows that females have the chance to be in charge. Unlike a lot of places in Japan where only men have the power and women cannot have any voice. Apart from this, Rhythm does take action to acknowledge International Women’s Day to raise the awareness of respecting females.”

What advice would you give to females wanting to start working in the ski industry?

“Do not compare yourself with other males, just focus on yourself, and ask for help if needed.”

Kaoli Sakulai – Sales and Reservation Assistant, Hakuba

Where are you from? 

“I am from Chiba, Japan.” 

How many seasons have you done in Hakuba? 

“I have been in Hakuba for 8 seasons and Rhythm Japan for 2 years. This is my second year.” 

Do you participate in other activities aside from skiing or snowboarding? 

“I like to go hiking and draw. I started skating too!”

Who are the main women who inspire you?

“My mom. My parents run a small restaurant and my mom used to work with my brother and sister in front and behind her. I can’t do that, but my mom is amazing. 

There is also a Japanese snowboarder called Hama Wakana. She is 10 years older than me and when we first met she was already in her mid-30s but still very energetic. She won first place in the Freeride World Tour and I respect her a lot.”

Kisato Kurihara – F&B manager / Payroll Manager, Niseko

Where are you from? 

“Kanazawa / Main Island of Japan.”

How many seasons have you done in Niseko and how long have you worked for Rhythm Japan? 

“Too many seasons, and over 10 years working for Rhythm.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

“Nothing, a normal day for me and a very busy week for payroll duty.”

How has your experience been working as a female in the ski industry? 

“There is no difference between men and women in the ski industry I think.”

In your working life, have you experienced any gender discrimination? 

“Yes, all the time. Especially in Japanese companies.”

As a skier/boarder, have you ever experienced any gender discrimination on the mountain or in the park? 

“Men are aggressive and competitive on the mountain.”

Have you noticed a more positive approach towards gender equality since moving to Niseko or Hakuba compared to your hometown?

“I’d never heard of International Women’s Day before Niseko.”

As a company, do you feel Rhythm Japan empowers females and if so, how? 

“Yes, we girls are more strong and intelligent in the company of Rhythm.”

Miho Maruo – Retail Assistant, Hakuba

Where are you from?

“I’m from Osaka.”

How many seasons have you been in Hakuba?

“I moved to Hakuba about six years ago and this is my second season with Rhythm.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“I don’t think about International Women’s Day much because I’m Japanese and the Japanese don’t normally celebrate it, but I feel it’s a strong day for women.”

Do you participate in any other activities aside from snowboarding?

“Skateboarding and art.”

What kind of influence do you strive to have on your female colleagues?

“Go skate!”

April Brown – Assistant Sales manager, Niseko

Where are you from originally?

“UK.”

How many seasons have you done in Niseko and how long have you worked for Rhythm Japan?

“This is my fifth winter in Niseko, and my second with Rhythm.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“It’s an awesome opportunity for all women within the company to get together, celebrate and support each other. The perfect excuse to get out on the mountain too!”

How has your experience been working as a female in the ski industry?

“Extremely positive!”

In your working life, have you experienced any gender discrimination? 

“I’ve been lucky to work with many empowering women throughout my career in different roles, and to my knowledge have never experienced gender discrimination.”

As a skier/boarder, have you ever experienced any gender discrimination on the mountain or in the park?

“Only self imposed!”

Have you noticed a more positive approach towards gender equality since moving to Niseko or Hakuba compared to your hometown?

“Honestly, no.” 

As a company, do you feel Rhythm Japan empowers females and if so, how?

“I feel Rhythm does an epic job of empowering everyone in the company, male or female.”

What advice would you give to females wanting to start working in the ski industry?

“Get out here and do it, you won’t regret it.”

If you’ve been considering doing your first snow season in Japan, take April’s advice and “get out here and do it!”

Applications are now open for the 2024/25 season.

 

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