Words by Jamey Voss/redbullskiing.com
RedBullSkiing.com caught up with Tanner Hall yesterday coming down from filming up on â€¨Donner Pass near Tahoe. It’s been nearly two weeks since he captured his third gold medal in Superpipe at Winter X. Tanner basically showed up in Aspen and won or achieved everything he possibly could have, with a good four months of skiing left to go. We ask him what is was like and what the future holds.
You won SuperPipe gold, again, for the third year in a row. Was there anything different about the 2008 X Games than there was in previous ones?
Basically, I had to work a lot harder to win this one. I saw last season that everyone was boosting higher, spinnin both sides, and bringing a whole new level to the Superpipe. I began training and thinking about it back in September in New Zealand and then spending a bunch of time in the park and pipe in Breck back in December. Basically, when I came to Aspen I had a good five months of training under my belt. I went in there and on my very first day of practice I was really laying down my runs and I didn’t really screw up on any of them. So, it was a really good feeling to go in there consistent and confident that when I drop in I’m going to lay my run down no matter what. That’s a good feeling. Confidence will give you a whole lot more than you ever thought you could have.
This season marks the first where your only competition was the Superpipe event at Winter X. Is this your new deal, do X Games and then film the rest of the year?
I don’t want to say that I’m done with competitions or competitions other than X Games. I’m still really young and I feel like I have a lot left to do with skiing. This year I was really focused on the three-peat in SuperPipe and having the most medals overall of anyone at Winter X, and I did that. Now I’m focused on filming, but maybe that will change in future seasons.
The crowd wasn’t exactly behind you this year at the bottom of the SuperPipe. What was is like to hear the booing, how did you deal?
It definitely affected me a little bit, it hurt a little bit, but you know what? It’s all a part of it. The crowd likes to see drama. With the X Games Superpipe, it’s been coming down to me and Simon the last couple years and of course it came down to me and him again. I think, to the crowd, it looked like Simon won; and to the judges it looked like I won. I’m pretty happy with the way the judges took it, because I think it was a great night for halfpipe skiing and I think it opened up a lot of people’s eyes on how you can ski in a halfpipe. There’s so many different options that the sky’s literally the limit. I’m really interested to see what it’s gonna be like next year. But with the booing, you just need to brush it off and be a bigger man and just move on forward: turn negative vibes into positive vibes and keep your mission rolling.
You latest movie release, Believe, has received tons of praise and won Movie of the Year at the 2008 Powder Video Awards. Not to mention you walked away with the Best Line award and Best Male Performance. Had you already been getting respect before you walked into the PVAs?
Yeah, the great thing about our industry is a lot of the movie-makers have always shown respect and support for my career. From Matchstick Productions to Poorboyz to Teton Gravity Research, those guys started my career and it’s really cool to see how much support they’ve been showing through the years. I think they feel us nipping at their toes now though (laughs). We’re coming up with new cool ideas each and every day, and it’s just super fun to have a guy like Constantine right by my side. The guy’s the most on-point dude I’ve ever met in my life, and I think with my skiing and his filmmaking it’s a lethal combination. But I just got to say, respect to everybody out there on the film side of things. We’ve been shown a lot of respect on the film side of things and it just feels good.
How’d it feel to walk out of the Hotel Jerome with four awards in your arms?
It was one of the best feelings ever. I really tried to switch gears with my career and push it more in the backcountry. To still go the competition side — and still kill it on that side — then to be able to go and make a whole other movie outside of the competitions; it was a really rewarding feeling and that’s what we set out to do last year. It was a dream come true to sit back and collect three of the biggest Powder Video Awards, but that’s not gonna stop us. That was just the beginning. What we have in the works is based on killer ideas and with companies like Red Bull and Oakley supporting us, well, the sky is the limit. I keep saying that, but that’s my catch phrase for the week.
Your week in Aspen must have been really good for you. From winning Superpipe, to your Red Bull party with Cali P performing, to winning the King of Quarters, to owning the Powder Video Awards. How’d it go down in your book?
The week as a whole was just the best week of my life. I spent it with the most righteous people I know. I had good family and good friends all in town, and to have Cali P there was something that I’ve always wanted: to bring skiing and music together. I think the collaboration we’ve done with Cali P and the skiing that I’ve done is a great combination. This is just the beginning with me and him, as well. We’ve got a lot of things in the works with movies and him doing soundtracks and putting out a lot more music for us. It’s going to add a new little flavor and flare to these films that wasn’t added in the past.
Going forward, what have you been up to since X?
I went to Las Vegas for a couple days. That was really good. I got to hang out with my brother, Tyson, and I got to hang out at the Armada booth and see a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time. I hadn’t been down to the SIA show in five years, so it was good to go check it out and let off some steam. I got some partying out of my system and since I been back from Vegas we came out to Tahoe right away and we’ve been shooting the last couple days and have been getting some amazing stuff. We’ve been skinning up in Donner Pass getting some lines and some really big drops and doing some good stuff. It’s kind of cool getting on some skins and touring stuff, it’s a little different than what we did last year. The snow is really good out here right now and the weather went blue. We’ve got the perfect recipe to get the killer shots and that’s exactly the mission we’ve been on and that’s the mission we’re going to stay on.
How’s the new movie coming together?
Everything is coming together, “The Massive” is shaping up to be one of the best ski films ever made. Like I said, with the music from Cali P we’re going to have mixed in, it’s going to be good stuff. We’ve got a bunch of younger kids in the movie this year that are pushing the limits not only in the park, but in the backcountry. It’s going to be a great mix of everything in skiing. That’s what we’re focused on: all aspects of the sport, instead of just one. We’re just going to mix everything together and show how much fun we have at what we do. We lead the best lives in the world and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
It’s called “The Massive”. That sounds really big. Will it, in fact, be bigger?
We’re trying to do it real big, you know, between everything that we are doing from going to X Games and getting a three-peat in pipe and being tied with Shaun White for the record in medals. With all the filming we’ve done there’s been some pretty crazy stuff. The word “massive” is telling everybody we are stepping up our game on whole different level. I think everybody is going to be super stoked on what we are going to put out, it’s gonna be deadly!
How do you want “The Massive” to be different from “Believe”?
We’ve been doing a lot of different filming, looking at lines differently, just trying to be unique with the features that are put on the mountain. I’m looking at the mountain in a different way and that’s going to translate to the way I ski it, but everyone will just have to wait and see.
You’ve been redefining the future of the sport lately. Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?
Just hopefully on my skis having fun. This is my one thing: the thing I love to do most in my life, my passion. It’s what I know most in my life and it’s my best friend. I just hope I’m healthy and happy and I’m still skiing.
Any final words?
Thanks everybody for listening to what I’ve got to say and one thing I’ve got to let everybody out there know is to definitely be on the lookout for my new ski film, “The Massive,” dropping next fall. Don’t even got a date yet for you: that’s top secret. But we’ve been filming like nuts we’ve got the best—and I’m not saying “some”—we’ve got the best footage we’ve ever had in our life. Expect to hear big things from the music side of it, too, and big things from a lot of new, younger up-and-coming backcountry slayers. And with the support of companies like Red Bull, I think there’s nothing stopping us from turning the ski-film world on its head with “The Massive.”