[Conversation] Natsuo Sato, Aya Sato. Each snowboarder walks with K2

Photo: kentaroufuchimoto.com

Although it was early October, it was a sunny autumn day that felt like summer.The two who appeared at the meeting place for the interview for this project are still good friends (lol). When we interviewed the two for "FREERUN" in 10, Aya Sato (hereinafter referred to as Aya) was a fourth-year university student and was active as a competitor, while Natsuo Sato (hereinafter referred to as Natsuo) was a company employee and a rider. Several years had passed since I started living a lifestyle wearing two pairs of sandals.After that, Aya stepped into the world of freeriding, and Natsuo continued to expand her career as an adult, and last season Aya announced an international contract with K2.In addition, ``K2018'' is a brand that supports Natsuo's long riding life.This time, we had a conversation between the two sisters, who have had their respective careers and seasons, and have crossed paths again through the brand ``K2''.
Interview & Text: Rie Watanabe


A new stage has begun


Editorial Department: It's been a while since we last interviewed you, but please tell us about last season, which was Aya's first season since joining K2's international team.

Natsuo: Aya has been on the move a lot since the moment she entered the season, right?

Aya: I traveled from Niigata to Hokkaido on Christmas Day to shoot a welcome movie to announce my joining the K2 international team, and immediately started filming.I was planning to go back to Hokkaido at the beginning of the year, so I went back to Niigata just at the end of the year and skated with Nacchan.

Natsuo: With such a tight schedule, it seems likely that Aya will return to Niigata once.If it were me, I'd think, ``Now that I have time off in Hokkaido, what should I do?'' (laughs)

Aya: Even before the season started, the schedule looked like I wouldn't be able to skate in my hometown, so I thought I'd like to go back around the year-end and New Year holidays.

Natsuo: The test drive event held at the Niseko Moiwa Ski Resort (Hokkaido) at the beginning of the year was Aya's first meeting with the K2 team, both domestically and internationally, right?

Aya: I agree. At the (Moiwa) test ride event, I let my relatives and people at the shop know that I had transferred, and after that, I joined Daisuke Watanabe, Aifuyu Ito, my three domestic international riders, and two overseas photographers. Then, I went on an Airstream tour for about two weeks.

When I woke up in the morning, it was so cold inside the Airstream that the blankets were frozen and stuck to each other.For Aya, such events are all memories of Trip. Photo: K2

Editorial Department: What was the tour like, including conditions and trips?

Aya: The conditions were quite difficult...When I was on a trip with an Airstream, I wasn't able to go to places with heavy snowfall, and last season in Hokkaido, it was difficult to predict the weather, so there were always some surprises and surprises.However, it gave me a trip feeling and it was really good.

Natsuo: It was also great to be able to take pictures with Japanese international riders this time.The shoots that Aya does in Honshu are often about hitting the right spots and hitting the right timing, so it must have been a great experience for her to have the trip itself as a goal.

Aya: We had a hard time communicating due to the coronavirus pandemic, so through this shoot, I really felt like I was part of the team.For me, it was the first time in my life to shoot in English with an American photographer, and the freezing cold of the Airstream was a great experience.Above all, I was glad that I was able to experience that K2 was more freestyle than when I was watching it from the outside.It's so free and funky.

K2 shooting in Hokkaido was Aya's first experience shooting with a foreign photographer. Photo: K2

Natsuo: ``K2'' is a brand that has been around for a long time and is well known, so it may seem a little stiff, but it's not aggressive or rough, it's really funky!

Aya: yes!I could really feel it.


Editorial Department: What are your activities other than filming “K2”?

Aya: In February, I went to Rishiri Island (Hokkaido) to shoot “Heart Films”!

Natsuo: It's Hokkaido again (lol).

Aya: Rishiri (island) is a place that Yoko Nakamura values ​​very much, and about a week before the scheduled shooting date, she approached me and offered me several jobs, but I turned them down and went. Tanda.

Natsuo: There was meaning and value to Aya that made it worth refusing everything, right?

Aya: Due to the special weather and location, not everyone can go there, and Yoko Nakamura, who I have known since I started freeriding, would have called out to me during an important photo shoot. I'm glad that you thought it was okay...

Aya Sato Born on April 1995, 4.Born in Tsunan-cho, Niigata Prefecture.She is the younger sister of the Sato sisters. Since her early teens, she has distinguished herself in the competition scene with her older sister, Natsuo.After juggling university and rider activities, she joined the K9 International Team last season.She is currently a mountain freestyler who is active both domestically and internationally. instagram: @ aya_sato_49  Photo: kentaroufuchimoto.com

Natsuo:(Nakamura) Yoko-san doesn't even know where she shouldn't be on set, but she's known this since Aya's freeride debut...How was the shooting itself?

Aya: I had heard that the weather on Rishiri (island) is very difficult to predict, and many people can't even get to the top even once during their week-long stay, so I brought lots of time-killing items with me, and we stayed for 1 days. There was only one day I couldn't skate during my stay (lol).

Natsuo: On the other hand, did you mean you skied for 7 days?That's tough even at a normal ski resort (lol).

Aya: Every day when I woke up in the morning, I could see the mountains beautifully, so I would go there and walk and watch the sunset (lol).The point where I could go for a long run, which I had been aiming for the most, was a 3 hour walk, but when I first climbed it, the weather turned bad and it became difficult to take pictures.However, on the final day it was sunny and there was some powder, so I was able to retry in perfect conditions.

Natsuo: In the backcountry, even if you ski one run and think it would have been better, you often can't try again, so it's great to be able to preview it once.

Aya: After watching the preview video and listening to advice from Yoko (Nakamura) and producer Keiji Tajima, I was able to ride such a long and fast line for the first time in my freeriding career.Furthermore, I was able to ski in the best conditions, so it was a memorable memorial run for me, and I can't express it in words, it was simply the best.


Editorial Department: Speaking of these two, I look forward to their sister entries for the Tenjin Banked Slalom every year!

Natsuo: Tenjin (banked slalom) is a must-see.It's always a difficult and wonderful course, but the last course was also tough... (lol).

I'm looking forward to this season as well to see how the Sato sisters will be able to ski and time on the special Tenjin Banked Slalom course. Photo: K2

Aya: I went to Tenjin (banked slalom) right after I finished shooting in Hokkaido, and when I skied the course, I realized that I hadn't skied anything other than powder this season (lol) .

Natsuo: I might have been better at skiing on the slopes and hard slopes.Aya only skates in the mountains and fields...(lol).Tenjin (banked slalom) is of course fun as a competition, but everyone has their own way of doing it, and in the midst of all the frantic efforts, their own style comes out unconsciously, so I think that's what's great about it.

Natsuo is able to utilize the riding techniques he has cultivated over such harsh courses that it is hard to believe that he is working as an office worker. Photo: K2


Editorial Department: Aya also went to America for filming, right?

Aya: I was scheduled to shoot overseas two days after Tenjin (Banked Slalom), but I had to postpone it by about a week.While I was doing the work that I couldn't do during that time, I reached the limit of my physical strength and got injured in a place I always knew, so I delayed my departure, but it lasted almost all of that time. For treatment...After that, I went to America and did a photo shoot for the Landscape collection, which is also the model I ride.

Natsuo: Aya had a packed schedule from before the season until around the end of March.

Aya: It was a very busy season, but it was a season that made me realize once again that it's something to be happy about.

Natsuo: It's a blessing to be a rider.It's a moment when you can realize what you've accomplished so far, and I think it's a result of Aya's current rider activities.


K2 intersects with each life stage


Editorial Department: The two of them have been snowboarding ever since they were little, and now they have joined together on the ``K2'' team, and Natsuo has been active as a ``K2'' rider for a particularly long time.

Natsuo: I agree. It's been over 10 years since I was a teenager.


Editorial Department: What led you to join?

Natsuo: When I was 15 years old, I went to Canada alone to study abroad, and I met Sachi Tanaka, who was also an active rider at the time.I already knew her name, so I started communicating with her because I saw her as a rival in a good way, wanting to absorb her good qualities in my own way.She respected me as well, and as our relationship deepened, she invited me to shoot her own movie project.Around that time, the word "girl rider" was starting to grow rapidly, and she was attracting a lot of attention, but my girlfriend, who was already a K2 rider, approached me as a rider who would help make K2 more exciting. She said, ``If I work with Natsuo, I can create a good image,'' and I sympathized with what she was trying to do, so I decided to join.It was a challenge for me as well, and I wanted to create something under my own name, so at the age of 17 I mustered up a lot of courage to step into the K2 race.

Natsuki Sato Photo: K2

Aya: At that time, I thought that my older sister was really great at snowboarding, so when I talked to her, I finally found someone who understood Nacchan's ability, and that there was someone who would really appreciate Nacchan. That made me really happy.

Natsuo: Oh I see!I did not know.Aya still had no interest in snowboarding at all.

Aya: When I was in middle school, Nacchan was already actively working overseas, so my family said, ``Why don't you set your own goals, Aya-chan?'' I thought, ``Maybe I should get a professional qualification.'' About.I didn't even think about her career at all (lol).

Natsuo: Aya did halfpipe and I did slopestyle, and we did different things for a few years, but after we both joined the slopestyle Japan team, we even lived together for a while, and Aya is a college student. Then, I started doing activities while working...We've spent a lot of time together, so I never imagined we'd be together on the K2 team until I heard about it.I don't mean that in a good or bad way, and it never crossed my mind...

Natsuo Sato  Born on March 1993, 3.Born in Tsunan-cho, Niigata Prefecture.She is the older sister of the Sato sisters.She has been active in the competition scene since she was a child, moving from halfpipe to slopestyle and becoming a member of the national team.She currently works for a listed company and balances her rider activities. instagram: @natsuki___sato Photo: kentaroufuchimoto.com


Editorial Department: Aya was signed to the national team, how did it happen?

Aya: There was a person in charge of marketing at K2's head office who really loved snowboarding, and he found me while constantly checking the trends of riders around the world on social media. When we released a freeriding unisex collection called ``Landscape,'' we were approached through ``K2 Japan'' and asked if we would like to ride it because it would be perfect for us.

Natsuo: I and everyone at the manufacturer were surprised and thought, "That's Aya!"...One of the great things about K2 is that they talked to me first, and I felt that they respected me as a rider.I hadn't even imagined it, but I didn't think I'd hate it at all.Perhaps this was taken into consideration, as some siblings may feel like they have been surpassed if their younger sister suddenly joins a brand that has been a rider for a long time and is given an ``international contract.''


Editorial Department: I've been following the two of them since they were teenagers, and I've had the opportunity to interview them several times, but I don't get the impression that they are so-called sibling rivals at all.

Natsuo: I've been asked a lot of questions like ``What do you think of us as rivals?'', but I'm just happy that we now have twice as many opportunities.For example, if the final is a one-on-one match between two people, even if they lose, they still win, and even if they win, they still win, and even if one of them fails in the preliminaries, if one of them makes it to the final, it's like it's no big deal. Excitement. It's amazing how depressed you feel when you both lose (lol).

Aya: Even though we had twice the chances, we ended up with zero left (lol).

Natsuo: We're the only ones competing as a team (lol).That's why I was really happy about K2's addition this time.Aya, who was in the finals of the competition, was like, ``What the heck did I do with makeup?''

After completing her first season as an international rider, Aya continues to expand the world of freeride. Photo: K2

Aya: Nacchan has been a working adult for quite some time now, so it's true that he doesn't have much time to spend on snowboarding, so I'm thinking of becoming a K2 international rider and reclaiming Nacchan's snowboarding life. right.

Natsuo: I don't feel like I've lost anything in my current lifestyle, but Aya is right when it comes to snowboarding.I'm living the lifestyle I want right now, but because Aya takes care of me, I feel like I'm living twice as much in both of my lives.I think it would be true even if it were the other way around, and it would be true for other things as well.

Aya: When I heard from Nacchan about her joining this time, she said, ``I'm really happy, and I'm actually hoping that she'll join us.I'm living a different life now, so I hope Aya will become an international rider and become even more involved in snowboarding.'' He told me, ``I want you to move up the stage.'' It also gave me a boost.But I guess she was a little worried at first.


Editorial Department: What were you worried about?

Aya: There was a part of me that thought that our identity was that we looked the same but were different sponsors and had different styles.

Natsuo: To be honest, we felt comfortable with the different styles.However, ``K2'' also entered a new era, and I think it overlapped with Aya's ``now''.

Aya: Now that I'm in my late 20s, and thinking about the seasons I've been through, it's time for me to step up and do something, rather than repeating the same season over and over again. I think it's gotten to the point where it doesn't matter. I sympathized with the direction of the brand that launched a unisex model called ``Landscape'', and the fact that they support riders with the feeling that ``men's and women's have the right to enjoy the same specs,'' so I decided on ``K2.'' I felt like I was destined to be on this board right now.

Natsuo: That's true.Up until now, many boards have been made based on the stereotype that ``girls skate like this'', and I sometimes thought ``this is the type of board that men should have.''Of course, such models remain because they are necessary, but I was able to make this addition because I could relate to both the hard aspects of the feet, and the soft aspects of how to approach snowboarding and the environment that allows you to become the rider you aspire to be. I think so.


A career that is drawn by facing the present, rather than by painting it.


Editorial Department: Aya's environment has changed significantly and she is moving on to a new stage, while Natsuo is in his 30s, having completed his career both as a member of society and as a rider. What kind of “career” are you envisioning for the two of you?

Aya: For a long time, when I was asked about my dreams and prospects, I actually couldn't think of much, and I just drifted off, focusing on what I thought was best at the time... (lol).

Natsuo: Aya can never have any influence on someone's values, what other people say, or what someone wants from outside forces.The most important thing is what you want to do at that time.But I think some people may feel like they don't have themselves.But if I may say so myself, I really feel like I have my own identity.

Aya: It's true that you may not have cared much about other people's evaluations.However, although he hadn't decided on a brand clearly, he had always wanted to become an international rider and take pictures overseas, so I think it was good that he was able to ride in that arena even though he was just getting started. .

Natsuo: It may sound a bit strong, but what Aya likes or wants in her life is not something she would talk about to anyone, or anything that would be easily understood.

Aya: From my point of view, I feel that Nacchan's current workman style has become as much as possible.

Natsuo: I'm the type of person who is very aware of what I want to do and what I should do, and if I keep doing what I want to do and what I should do for a long time, it gets boring when I'm alone...I started my current lifestyle because I wanted to do something that could only be done by being surrounded by other people, like being part of an organization and having irregularities happen all the time.However, I think it was great that I was able to carve my own path and grow up in a snowboarding industry where there were no passive people.

Aya: I've been spending time with seniors and adults in the snowboarding industry since I was a child, and I've come to realize that there are good ways to spend your time at each stage, so I'm really looking forward to seeing my career and seasons grow.


Editor: Lastly, how do you plan to spend this season?

Natsuo: I still want to work and skate, and if the timing is right, I would like to skate with Aya as well.Last year, we went to Seki Onsen (Niigata) together and it was fun, and if the timing is right, we'll take pictures, and if there's an event we can attend, we'd like to participate.The moments when I imagine how I want my skis to look and how I want them to look are what I love most about snowboarding, so I want to continue doing that.Nowadays, I have more to learn from Aya...

Aya: I never thought that such a day would come (lol).

Natsuo: Now I'm like, ``Nacchan, I think it's better to go from the right!'' and ``Okay, I understand!'' (lol).

Aya: Well, to be honest, I think my position will be in jeopardy if Nacchan starts committing to the backcountry...Nacchan is strong once you start committing!

Photo: kentaroufuchimoto.com

Natsuo: It's less than half of Aya's, but I'm training in the off-season, so I'm building my legs.

Aya: That's not good, so I'd like it to be done in moderation (lol).

Natsuo: Her turns are no longer as good as Aya's...well, she's not even close.The only way to win is to win (lol).


Editorial Department: Do you have any fixed plans for Aya?

Aya: In January, we are planning to shoot in Japan with the "K1" crew from our home country. We are planning to shoot in Japan with an American crew from the end of January to the beginning of February.It looks like I'll be interacting with people from overseas a lot this season in Japan, but I'm thinking of going overseas as well.


Editorial Department: I'm really looking forward to seeing what these two do this season.Thank you for your precious time today!



“AYA SATO ATHLETE STORIES” Talk session event by Aya Sato will be held on November 11nd (Wednesday).
A talk session will be held by Aya Sato, an athlete from THE NORTHFACE who joined K2 SNOWBOARDING last season as a global rider.

For details, Click here for the guidelines.

K2 BRAND page

Click here for the digital catalog for this term.