Hana Beaman belongs in the inaugural Real Women showdown. For more than 12 years as a pro snowboarder she has been pushing the limits of possible for female athletes who'd rather lay down a wicked video part than just join the contest circus.
As a rookie in 2002-03, she made her name on the contest circuit with huge wins at the US Open Slopestyle, World Snowboarding Championships Slopestyle and Big Air and was voted Women's Rookie of the Year at TransWorld Snowboarding's Riders Poll.
In 2006, she continued her run with wins in both Quarterpipe and Slopestyle at the US Open and the second of three Silver medals at Winter X Games Slopestyle ('03, '06, '07).
She began snowboarding at the age of six when her family moved to Big Bear Lake, C.A. Those early years on a snowboard have translated into a fluidity in the park and on powder, rails and creative urban features -- all evidenced by her 75-second Real Women entry.
As she devoted more time to filming in the backcountry and less time to chasing podiums, Beaman has only increased her influence and reach in the sport. Starting with appearances in the famous Grenade videos of the early-to-mid 2000s, Beaman has locked down solid parts every year since: "Ro Sham Bo" ('06); "LaLaLand" ('07); "Stance" ('09); "The Storming" ('10); "Winter Was" ('11); "P.S" webisodes and "Intervals" short film ('10-'13).
In the core snowboarding community, video parts have always had more resonance -- and respect -- than contest wins. But, until very recently, female pros were expected to compete every winter weekend in far-flung corners of the globe while still producing video parts in their spare time. It's why "Film pros," as Beaman is now considered, are still a rarity on the women's side.
"It's pretty awesome that there is an outlet at this level for women who concentrate on filming, opposed to the more traditional contest route," the 30 year-old Utah resident said of the Real Women video series competition. "Having a stage like the X Games and ESPN to be able to show our stuff to the world is amazing. It shows a little bit of how times are changing and I totally back it!"
"Plus, all the women involved are such amazing athletes! It's hard to really compare us against each other because each brings something so unique and powerful to their part."
So what keeps her going strong in her 12th year as a pro? Hana loves snowboarding more than just about anyone. (Well, that and her sly sense of humor, most visible in her Hollywood-caliber smirk.) "It's crazy to me that I can still be included in this incredible group of female athletes after 12 years of professional riding. Who would have thought?"
To anyone that's followed her career though, her longevity comes as no surprise. Her positivity and commitment to getting a season's worth of shots bagged helps bring powder to the people, especially aspiring female riders. Her skills have taken her to China, Japan, Bosnia and beyond. In 2012, she stomped a backside 720 over the famous -- and huge -- Mt. Baker road-gap and cemented her place in the core history books. She's a snowboarder's snowboarder and has earned the respect of even the crustiest industry veterans with an incessant pursuit of her passion.
To wit: In 2013, Hana was a nominee for Transworld Snowboarding's Womens Video Part of the Year and Rider of the Year and bagged Snowboarder Magazine's Rider of the Year for 2013. In an era defined by the pipe prowess of Kelly Clark and progressive film parts by the likes of Jess Kimura, Kimmy Fasani and a laundry list of other hard-charging female pros, that Rider of the Year award really means something.
"I feel like this is such a good time to be a woman athlete," says Beaman. "There are so many things happening all across the board in sports and more and more women are becoming involved with sports like snowboard, surf, skate and ski. It's just going to keep progressing and who knows what we'll be seeing in the near future?"
Vote now for your favorite in the X Games Real Women contest and stay tuned to XGames.com to find out the judges' favorite and fan favorite during X Games Barcelona, taking place May 16-19.