Feeling stressed, overwhelmed? If you think a bit of time on-snow may be just what the doctor ordered for a burnout cure – you’re in luck.

The team behind Thriving Women by Bluebird Leadership have launched two brand new ski/board and life improvement retreats in Myoko in January and Madarao in February 2024. You can combine the best powder Japan has to offer with a community of like-minded women to help nurture you back to yourself.

This is the dream for snow lovers with busy lives looking to reconnect, overcome that burnout and get back to that thriving state of mind, all while enjoying the adventures Japan has to offer.

Not only will you improve your skiing and boarding with personal coaching from top instructors, you’ll also learn how to deepen your self awareness, foster a learning and growth mindset, build strategies to avoid burnout, develop a toolkit for personal resilience and apply daily practices to overcome challenges.

Snow retreats designed around four key pillars

Bluebird Leadership is founded by Cherry Ward, who worked in big corporate roles for decades before experiencing her own level of burnout. She took her experience and understanding, along with her love of snow to create Thriving Women – a company offering retreats, workshops and adventure programs for women to get back to their best selves.

Retreats include ski and snowboard coaching alongside interactive personal development workshops and are based around four key elements: Reset, Reflect, Reconnect and Reimagine. Each represents a crucial aspect of personal growth that helps you discover what is truly meaningful to you, both on and off the slopes.

Nurture your skiing while nurturing your life. Win win.

“I’ve found that women love to do things as a group in this space, as we thrive when supported by each other – and it’s an ideal way to learn more tools for becoming more resilient, overcoming challenges and adversities,” Cherry says.

“And when combined with an adventure program and nurturing that ski/snowboard progression, you can really reflect and design a life for yourself with healthy boundaries – regardless of who you are at home.”

Participants can expect a mix of skiing and snowboarding, mindfulness, yoga and interactive workshops to fuel personal growth. Guests can also opt for additional activities and day trips to go beyond the local area, such as trips to see the snow monkeys, workshops to learn to cook local cuisine, and onsen visits to soothe those weary muscles.

Three days or five days in Myoko or Madarao

“Japan has this spiritual feel for skiing that you can’t find anywhere else,” says Cherry. “Everyone, from the groomers to the lift operators, all take so much pride in what they do.”

If travelling with the rest of your family, the retreats are the perfect period of time to duck off solo for a few days and reconnect with that true purpose; or make it part of a longer trip alone or with a close friend, seeing nearby resorts and towns.

Short on time? Choose the three day January 10 to 12 retreat in Myoko Kogen, a town with a rustic, authentic vibe that also happens to be home to five resorts – Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Ikenotaira Onsen, Myoko Suginohara and Seki Onsen – full of tree lines and powder laps to discover.

Or go for a full five days in Madarao from February 19 to 23 and bed down at Snowball Chalet a boutique chalet in the heart of Madarao village. Known for old school hospitality, deep snow, stunning tree runs and two resorts (Madarao and Tangrem Circus) on the one lift pass.

What’s included

Both retreats include a comprehensive workbook, journal and online resources so you’ll gain the tools and insights you need to thrive in all areas of your life; delicious refreshments and some meals; lift tickets, along with skiing or snowboarding lessons and coaching (beginner, intermediate or advanced levels); yoga and meditation and access to the Thriving Women online community.

How much

The Myoko Kogen retreat runs from January 10 to 12 and is just JPY ¥179,260 (AUD $1,990), with a 10% early bird discount if your deposit is paid by 30th September 2023. Accommodation is separate and organised through the team at Scout Ski, ensuring you get exactly what best suits you and your trip.

The Madarao retreat runs from February 19 to 23 and includes accommodation at Snowball Chalet. Starting from JPY ¥331,040 (AUD $3,670), you’ll get a JPY ¥18,000 (AUD $200.00) early bird discount if your deposit is paid by 30th September 2023.

Be quick, registrations close 30th November 2023.

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