Words and Photos: Larry Nuñez
Hana Beaman is one tough lady. Don't let her good looks fool you; when it's time to throw down Hana is anything but delicate. Her strong riding has earned her three silver medals at the Winter X Games over the years, among other 1st place finishes such as the 2009 Ride Shakedown and the 2010 Grand Prix Expression Session, and she's not afraid to take those park skills into the backcountry. With so few female riders pushing the freeriding envelope, Hana can now be considered a veteran in women's snowboarding and is leading the charge of progression into more challenging terrain. After scoring a part in Standard Films' "The Storming" last season, this year she chose her own path and filmed a series of webisodes for Snowboarder Magazine. We caught up with Hana during her Signature Session™ at High Cascade Snowboard Camp to talk about the adventure and her plans for next year.
Photos courtesy of Hana Beaman.
So how’s your summer going so far?
Summer’s been great! It was an unexpectedly long winter, but after Superpark it kinda turned into summer. There was a few weeks of waiting around to hopefully do some more snowboard trips but finally got some summertime and have just been enjoying the sun whenever it comes out and camping and riding bikes and now coming up here [Mt. Hood] for the week. It’s been awesome weather; we’ve lucked out with the weather, until of course the last day. But it’s been great! The week was super fun getting to ride and then taking a little bit of time off the snow definitely re-stokes you for the upcoming season.
What ‘s your favorite part about coming up to Mt. Hood in the summer? What keeps you coming back year after year?
I would say in particular having the Signature Session at High Cascade is definitely a big motivating factor. Because it gives me that kick it the butt even if I necessarily don’t wanna go ride it’s a good motivator to get up here. And then once you’re here it’s like, “Oh yeah, I totally wanted to ride! It just gets kinda hard to get going every once in a while, but then once you’re here with all the kids you get to go up there and ride the park in sun and good weather, you remember why it’s so awesome.
Especially after such a long winter, when you’re working so much, to come back to it in July…
Um hmm. It’s crazy because the seasons just seem to get longer and longer. I think I finally got home from the season on the 2nd of June! And so the 2nd of June until I got up here was only like a month. So it just comes up really fast and it’s kinda crazy. If you wanted to you could snowboard back-to-back, from the end of the winter to the beginning of the summer and on and on.
Especially this winter with so much snow everywhere…
Yeah especially this winter, it’s like never ending! In the winter, it’s hard to make yourself stop because you’re like, “Oh, there’s still snow!” Then finally you’re like, “Okay I’m done.” Then you have a couple weeks off, and then it’s back to snow. There’s always still snow up on the glacier.
This winter you took a different approach in terms of your usual contest focused routine or filming for one particular movie, and you kinda did your own thing.
Yeah this year was a new experience for sure. I did something I’ve never really done before and took a chance stepping away from the major film productions and most of the contests. I hired my own filmer for the season and we just kinda went around and rode with whoever was there, wherever the snow was good and we wanted to ride. We put out webisodes for Snowboarder [Magazine] and it was awesome. It was super fun and it was cool to have total freedom and total control over where you go and what you put out, and that was really cool for me to do. I’ve never really dabbled in that aspect of it. So it was a big learning experience for me, just learning about what goes into putting out web edits and what goes into specifically producing and working with a filmer and putting shoots together. Just everything. It’s like usually I’m just the rider. You just go to the snow, build the stuff, hit it, go home and sleep. This time I had a lot more to do—figuring out where to go, and who we had to ride with and just putting it all together in a short amount of time. And I think it turned out fairly well and I’m excited to give it another go this next season.
Was that an idea that you came up with, or did Snowboarder approach you with the idea?
Snowboarder approached me, and I had kinda thought about it before, but it’s not really in my character to take on something like that. I’m usually like, “No, no. I’m the athlete and I want to focus on that and I don’t want to get bothered with all the extra stuff. I like to focus on the snowboarding.” But this year it seemed like a cool thing to do and [Pat] Bridges approached me and was like, “If you want, we’re going to save a spot for you.” They had a few other people producing these for them and I wasn’t really leaning towards any one film project or wanting to do contests so I thought maybe this will be a good alternative, and I’ll have total control over how I’m portrayed and what I’m doing and who I ride with. And I found that to be a really appealing option when the winter started. So we just made it happened and pulled it together, December I think is when I finally was like, “Okay, we’re doing it!” And approached sponsors and tried to get some backing for it. So in three weeks I pulled a budget together and found a filmer and we talked about it, and the next day he drove down to Salt Lake and we started filming the first couple weeks. So it was definitely a fun, unexpected thing that happened.
And you’re planning on doing it again?
I’d like to! I’ve heard a lot of positive response from it, and I definitely learned a lot from this last season doing it, like how to do things out better, maybe plan things out differently. I saw what we did well, and what we could work on, and it would be awesome to have another opportunity to improve on that and maybe bring on a couple other girls that would be into that schedule and that type of season. So hopefully everybody feels the same and we can pull it together with a little more time this coming season.
See more of Hana’s “P.S….” webisodes on snowboardermag.com.