Caught Up with Hana Beaman and Jess Kimura

Caught Up with Hana Beaman and Jess Kimura

Words and Photos: Erin Hogue

We all know the impact that women have had on action sports in the past few years. From the late and exceptionally great Sarah Burke breaking all boundaries in freeskiing to Kimmy Fasani making waves in snowboarding progression, fearless females have been paving the way for not only woman-kind, but for their sports respectively. This month I had the chance to catch up with two such amazing individuals, snowboarders Jess Kimura and Hana Beaman, who are both competing in the first ever X Games Real Women contest; a web-based video competition that allows the women to showcase their talents and push their boundaries like never before. With the chance to walk away with 50,000 dollars. Four sports will be represented, with two women in each, from skiing; Ingrid Backstrom and Michelle Parker, skate; Mimi Knoop  and Leticia Bufoni surf; Coco Ho and Maya Gabeira and from snowboarding; Jess Kimura and Hana Beaman. This year, X Games gets REAL.

“Jess and I have farted and laughed together for years…so filming together is easy, but X Games Real Woman was a grind.  The lady shralped solo for most of the season! Not only is Jess a snowboarder but an artist, an intellect and a creative thinker, she is aware of how her tricks look and has a strong vision of the end result. Together we adapted to any situation to prevail and produce this part"

– D-boy (filmer)

Jess Kimura cold chilling in the Whistler Backcountry. PHOTO: Erin Hogue

 This is the first year X Games has included women in their Real Snow video contest, what do you think about the progression of women's snowboarding? 

I think we are at an all time high in terms of the level of women's snowboarding. That goes for contests and video parts. I don't know a lot about the other sports but I'm super proud to be a part of women's snowboarding. We still have a long way to go, but things are definitely looking up!

For X Games Real Women two ladies from four different sports, are competing against each other. What do you think about going head-to-head against girls from skiing, surfing and skateboarding?

I think it’s cool because I don't think there are eight girls in each sport who are able to film a legit video part yet. It sounds like it might be hard to judge but I'm never gonna complain about an opportunity that's given to me. I’m hyped to be a part of it, whichever way it needs to work to get the girls involved. It's definitely a start for girls who want to take their riding in that direction.

When you found out you were one of the ladies selected to compete, what was your initial reaction?

I was super excited, but also stressed because I knew I had to film for the Nike team movie this year, and I was hoping to just focus on one thing for once… But we busted our asses and it worked out well for both projects.

Jess Kimura is a total badass. PHOTO: Erin Hogue

In 2011, you had a pretty rough season, you blew your hip and got a serious concussion in one go, then you had a strain of meningitis and toped it off by tearing your MCL. Somehow you still managed to pull off two video parts. How did you make it happen?

Um, scratching and clawing until I couldn't move anymore. That was a tough year, but every season is tough in its own way. It's a lot to take on mentally and physically. I just felt like I wanted to sleep for two years after that.

I bet! How does filming for X Games Real Women compare to your 2011 season?

Well it's kind of the same thing, filming for two projects that I want to be really good parts, each in their own right, except this year I wasn't hurt the whole time which helped a lot. I took everything a lot slower and told myself it was okay to walk away from sessions that weren't working out. I hit the gym pretty hard before this season too because I knew what I had to accomplish, and getting strong before I went into it helped out a lot. It was still really tough mentally, getting good shots on a trip and knowing it was only half the battle, but I made it through and I think it’s my best season yet.

You made a name for yourself with your gnarly skills in the street. Now you have a sled and are getting out in the backcountry more and more. How does riding in the backcountry compare to jibbing?

I was getting kind of over hitting rails—I felt like I had reached most of the goals I wanted to reach in the streets. Plus I hadn't had a chance to really snowboard for the past couple years…as in down a real hill. It was always drop in, hit a feature, unstrap, and hike up. I want my riding to translate into natural features. I never thought I would be able to afford a sled and a truck and now that I have that opportunity I don't want to waste it. Riding backcountry is hard, especially when you haven't had a chance to do it before so I like the total challenge of starting at square one. I also really like sledding and have this burning desire to get really good at it so I can access anything I want to and keep up with the dude crews out there.  Jumping that thing is also pretty fun. [laughs]

You need a sled to get to this zone… PHOTO: Erin Hogue

Describe one of the hardest shots to get for Real Women snow, and what it took to get it?

The hardest shot to get was probably this front board 270 out. The day before I had smoked my leg so hard on a tree going really fast and I could barely walk. Every time I stood on the drop in ramp my legs were shaking so badly and I felt super dizzy. I thought for sure I couldn't do it but Desiree Melancon was there holding the ramp for me and yelling at me that I could do it. She believed it way more than me. I was so tired, mentally and physically exhausted, in a ton of pain, and just wanting to crawl into a hole and hide. I also hadn't even tried that trick on a box in a park that year and I just didn't think I could pull it off but somehow it happened. Thanks Des, you're a f—king champ.

What was one of the biggest bails you took?

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Probably this gap to down-flat rail I hit in Minnesota. We went with a crew of dudes to hit it and one by one, they stood on the drop in forever and then unstrapped and bowed out. It was so intimidating and I was the last one standing. It took me a while but I finally hit it and somehow didn't die. So I kept going and each time it didn't get any less scary. I scorped super hard out of it and crushed the living shit out of my ribs, shoulder, and insides.

Did the shot work out in the end?
No it's one of the things I had to walk away from, which was really disappointing because I was trying something that hadn't been done on it before and it just would have been so cool to land.

If you could add one thing to your part that’s not in it, either due to budget, injury or logistics what would it be?

I would be stoked to have a heli run in my part, like a big mountain line, top to bottom style. But I'm not in that kind of budget bracket yet. I know I need to prove myself some more and one day, anything will be possible. I also wanted to jump my sled off something big but that's something you really need to wait for the right conditions or you could end your season or career in one hit. Whaddaya know, Danger Pony is getting smarter…

[Laughs] I don't know about that. There is 50,000 dollars up for grabs, what will you do with the money if you win?

I found a cheap piece of property in BC that I should have enough money left over for once I take me and Dykeboy ( Jess’s filmer) on a kick ass vacation somewhere cool. That girl busted her ass on this project and I couldn't have done it without her.

Alright now to finish things off here are a few quick short answer questions.

Worst trend in snowboarding?

Breaking bottles at spots
Favorite video part by a female ride? 

Marie France-Roy in Any Means.
Drink of choice?

Gin Ceasers.

Plans for the future?

Improvement.

Favorite trick?

Indy.

Favorite place to ride?

Revelstoke.

See what Hana has to say on the next page!

Veteran out-of-bounds rider Hana Beaman gives us her perspective on being the participating in the X Games Real Women contest.

Hana Beaman getting ready to let it rip. PHOTO: Erin Hogue

This is the first year women have been included in X Games' Real video contest where two ladies from four different sports—snowboarding, skiing, surfing and skateboarding—will be competing against each other. What are your thoughts on this format?

I'm stoked they’re including women this year. It’s a starting point, and hopefully it continues to grow. It's going to be interesting to see how it’s received, and voted on by the viewers. It's hard to compare and judge these sports together, but I'm just looking at it as good exposure for women in general. Just being involved is a win for us.

Since the time you started competing in 1988, what do you think about the progression of women's snowboarding?

It's ridiculous! Things have come so far, it's awesome! I think things are going to continue to progress and it's gonna be super rad to see where the girls take it. I'm just stoked to be a part of it and hopefully inspire the next generation of women to keep it going.

When and how did you find out you were one of the women selected?

Well, I heard it was happening in late November and that Jess and Kimmy were the two snowboarders selected to do it. I thought it would have been cool to be a part of it, but didn't really think too much about it. When I heard Kimmy got hurt a few weeks later, I was super bummed for her. I pretty much got a call a few days after that, asking to take her spot. It's not how you really want to become involved with something like this, but I was excited to get the opportunity.

What was your initial reaction?

I was super excited to be able to show my riding on such a huge stage. Last season was a great one for me and felt like I had the potential to do well this year too.
In 2003, you started snowmobiling and filming in the backcountry. Since then, you have put more and more emphasis on backcountry riding, last year devoting your season solely to filming. Why did you decide to give up contests for backcountry riding?

I got my first sled in '03 but it took me awhile to really be good enough to go out and start filming in the backcountry. I'd get to go out with the guys when possible, but it was only here and there between travel and contests, so I would just get a taste. I didn't feel like I could just step away from the contests, since that's what sponsors wanted and I hadn't really made a name for myself yet. It just wasn't the way you were suppose to go. But, I was hooked. So after I did well in the contest scene it just felt like the natural path to follow, but it still took me a few years to fully commit to a season of just filming. There is definitely a huge emphasis on contests—it's hard to walk away from that.

Riding this kind of powder looks better than riding in a slopestyle contest. PHOTO: Erin Hogue

This year you decided to get back into contests, with hopes of going to the Olympics next year. What about going to the Olympics and contest riding attracted you back to it?

I've done contests, I did well in them, and I enjoy riding park so I feel like it's a great opportunity, and if I didn’t at least try, I would regret it. If I refocus the time and energy I spend in the backcountry back into park riding I think I have a decent chance at making it. Guess we just have to see what happens. I won't be a super bummer if I don't make it, it can only be a positive.

What do you hope people get from your riding and take away from X Games Real Women?

A lot of people don't even know that there are women out here doing this kinda stuff. So I hope they get stoked on what we are doing and that more women get involved in these types of things!

Sweet, now just a couple short answer questions to end things.

Worst trend in snowboarding?

Rising ticket prices.

Favorite video part by a female ride?

Erin Comstock‘s part this year.

Drink of choice?

Whiskey water.

Favorite trick?

Cannonball.

Favorite place to ride?

In the sun.

Plans for the future?

A two-year endless summer adventure.

Check out more Caught Ups here!

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