Women of Winter | Rachael Oakes-Ash

Published Fri 31 May 2024

Whilst blogger and journalist Rachael Oakes-Ash is best known for being the driving force behind blog Snows Best, she has worn many hats within the snow community. 

Rachael was a late starter on snow, first hitting the slopes at Thredbo as an adult before becoming hooked years later after a trip to New Zealand.  

Having now spent a number of years as a leading snow journalist, Rachael has held many roles along the way, including publicist, author, radio announcer, TV producer and travel writer. 

We caught up with Rachael recently to find out more about her interesting career and why it is she keeps coming back to the snow!

Did you know from a young age that you wanted a career in snow journalism?
I wanted to be an actor growing up, it was my one focus for years, I even got accepted into drama school, however I freaked out. I was young and didn’t believe in myself enough, and I went to London for three and a half years instead.

Later I got into media, first as a publicist for Sony Music then as a radio announcer for B105 and 2Day FM. Next I wrote two books with Random House, ended up working on television in the launch team for Foxtel and even produced and wrote a documentary for The LifeStyle Channel which we sold around the world. I then started writing for newspapers and magazines and once I was a full time travel journalist I took up skiing, and that’s where it all began.

What do you love most about your job?
Skiing! No surprises there but I don’t get to do as much of it as I’d like. As your business grows, so does your time in the office.

I love watching our athletes perform at an elite level globally and cheering them on live at FIS World Cup events and the Winter Olympic Games; it’s a true honour and privilege to be at either.

I love the MSIA and SnowsBest community because together they can do amazing things digging deep in times of crisis for SnowAid Australia in the bushfires and ISO skiing at home during COVID19, they are inspiring.

What are the best and worst things about a career in snow journalism?
Best thing is the travel - going to amazing ski destinations and having access to experiences and people that few get. I never forget what a privilege that really is and being able to collaborate with brands to help others’ lives be better.

The worst? I always say you can’t complain about being a ski journalist to anyone other than a ski journalist.

Where is your favourite place to ski?
Anywhere that has steep trees, untracked powder and more snow on the way.

Do you remember your first snow experience?
Yes, it was humiliating! My first time was at Thredbo when a ‘mate’ took me to the top and said “ski down”. Of course, I couldn’t. Didn’t ski again for over a decade, then went skiing in New Zealand and thought I was amazing because my ski instructor said I was (pretty sure that’s his job). I wasn’t, but I believed I was and I got hooked.

I then had 250 hours of private instruction over a few years in my travel turned ski journalism role so I could ski the whole mountain, and not always well at the start. Time spent on snow is the best investment of time in both your skiing and your life.

What advice would you give to young women looking to start a career in snow journalism?
Find your niche, do something no one else is doing and do it your way. Ignore the trolls, welcome the collaborators and just skip past the boys clubs with glee. You’ve got this!

Rachael will be spending the month of June traveling around Australia to attend premiere screenings of Katie Burrell’s ‘Weak Layers’. The comedy film based in a ski town was written, directed and stars Katie with Banff Mountain Film Festival and Whistler Film Festival both selecting the film. Rachael and Katie will be in conversation at each event - for more information visit https://www.snowsbest.com/weak-layers/