Storytime with Hana Beaman, As told to Amanda Hankison
Originally ran in the October 2017 issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding. Check out more here!
I'm booking it through the night, sled in the back of the truck, from Bellingham to Jackson Hole—a 14-hour drive right back to the place I was the day prior, the place I just drove 14 hours from. Blake Paul, Pat Moore, Bryan Iguchi, and Mark Carter are gearing up for two weeks of backcountry missions, filming for the Vans project, and it's not something I'm going to miss out on. But this is a scenario that requires a sled, and mine was in Washington until some number of hours ago. I arrive back in Jackson at dawn, in time to grab a gas station coffee and meet the crew at the trailhead.
The air is bitter cold, around -15 degrees Fahrenheit, and I set to work on starting my sled, which is no small task in those temperatures. Eventually the machine turns over and the engine begins to warm up while I try to do the same. Soon, we're plowing down the trail settle on a zone with a jump surrounded by a few other lines and features. The jump's location has a narrow window for sun, and Blake manages to land his trick before light is lost. Carter has been riding beastly lines nearby, and we agree to come back the next day for another shot at the jump. Pat really wants a go at it. Two days later, we nail the lighting, but Pat isn't able to ride away clean. To brighten spirits we rally a recon mission in anticipation of the next day. Our filmer is somewhat new to sledding, and his machine has a loose spark plug, so he stays behind. "We'll be back in an hour," someone shouts.
Three hours later, we discover a hundred-foot-long windlip that should provide opportunities for everyone the next day. Relatively satisfied, we turn around. As we crest the hill where we left our buddy, he's lounging in the sun. We begin the ride back to the trailhead, following him at ten miles per hour with Carter sternly warning, "Don't let that spark plug fall out." Our arrival at the parking lot signals the end of three long days. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Pat motioning for our filmer to load his snowmobile onto the sled deck of Pat's new truck. As I turn around to load mine, I hear a loud, "BRAAAPPP! CRASH!" behind me—the sound of plastic and metal coming together in the most awful and unexpected manner. I spin around to see the filmer on the ground next to Pat's truck, which now has a snowmobile teetering halfway on top of the cab. It takes me a second to realize what's happened. It's a real-life enactment of a YouTube fail video.
He's been too heavy on the throttle, turning the loading ramp into a launch ramp. The truck's brake light is busted out, and there's a large dent in the roof of the cab. "What the fuck just happened? Are you okay?!" Carter jumps up and grabs the sled before it has a chance to fall off the lifted truck and crush its rider. The guys maneuver it back onto the sled deck, and not a word is spoken. Everyone is walking on eggshells and avoiding eye contact. All I can think is, "Shit. Pat is going to murder him." Pat breaks the silence and calmly tells him that it's going to be fine. He then proceeds to beat his shovel on the back of his own snowmobile like a sugar-crazed child going after a piñata. Over and over. His frustration from the last few days—struggling with the jump, and now this—is being taken out on a Tuffy shovel. You know the ones; they're big, plastic, and unbreakable. This is the closest I've seen someone come to one snapping, ever.
After this, the next couple weeks are ideal. It's a highly productive trip. I haven't had the chance to film with this crew before, to see how they function. I have to say, it's refreshing to realize that these guys go through the same kinds of struggles that we, the girls, do. Filming in the backcountry is a tedious process, and we all deal with so much, from weather to the inevitable perils that come with snowmobiling. Regardless of gender or crew, everyone has to handle the same highs and lows. The guys don't build the perfect jump every time, and they aren't always naturals on a snowmobile. It makes you respect everyone, their struggles and successes, on a more equal level.