‘About Time’: An inside look at ‘Fleeting Time’ with Hailey Langland
San Clemente's Hailey Langland is set to redefine what it means to be an all-around snowboarder and her Olympic appearance as well as her footage in "Fleeting Time" is proof positive of that.
Southern California is a surprising hotbed for snowboarding talent, and when San Clemente’s Hailey Langland burst onto the scene almost instantly, another name to the storied list of So Cal shredders was etched into history. Although she’s young and relatively new to the snowboarding world, Hailey has used her time wisely and is currently leaving a gigantic impact on the culture.
Hailey’s rise from up-and-comer to X Games gold medalist and Olympian was one of the fastest of her generation but it was steeped in natural talent and innate style. They say that luck is where opportunity and preparation intersect and Hailey’s meteoric rise in the competitive snowboard scene was a prime example of that.
Langland says, “I feel like I kinda got thrown into the heavier contest scene really early. I was 13 or 14 and I entered a Pro/Am event and I ended up winning qualifiers and the weather got so bad that they had to cancel the finals, and so I won with my results in qualifiers. That ended up getting me an invite to Dew Tour the following year and then the X Games and then the US Open. And so, at 14, 15, I was competing with girls who were infinitely better than me. I just got really lucky and that progression just started to snowball and eventually, I was competing across the world which was pretty mind-blowing for a girl who had never left the country.” And just like that, it was time for Hailey Langland to begin penning her legacy in snowboarding’s canon, and she was off to the races.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, Hailey was standing on and atop podiums of the world’s biggest events, but it was on a cold January night in Aspen, Colorado in 2017 when Hailey put the entire snowboard world on notice and became the household name that she is today. Hailey remembers, “That was the year that they brought back women’s Big Air. As soon as I got on the snowmobile and saw what the girls were doing, a switch just flipped and I was like, ‘Alright, if I’m gonna do it I’m gonna put my head down and try. The second time I tried to do a Cab nine in practice, I went a little bit faster and spun really hard and I ended up doing a perfect Cab ten to my toes. My coach Dave was like, ‘You just need to go do it again and then it’s time to compete.’ So, I did a front three [on my first run] and then the next time I went up I ended up doing [the Cab 1080]. I only had ten seconds left on the clock and I ended up winning that event, which was pretty crazy.’”
Hailey’s double cork heard round the world had officially introduced her to the general public as one of the best snowboarders on planet earth while pushing the progression of women’s snowboarding ten-fold in an instant. But much like many good snowboarders who desire to one day be great, even in the midst of hectic contest schedules, two Olympic appearances and gigantic expectations, Hailey had already been planning her escape out of bounds and into the backcountry.
This should come as no surprise, given Hailey’s early influences in snowboarding. She says, “My first influences would have to be Kimmy Fasani, number one. I loved watching her snowboard, whether it was in the park or the backcountry. Victoria Jealouse would have to be my second biggest idol. Her backcountry riding is so inspirational. She hit all of the biggest stuff. Kimmy and Victoria are these women who pushed down the barriers for girls to get into these big productions with a lot of only male riders in a time when there weren’t a lot of female snowboarders and so I’m hoping to take that with me and keep breaking down those barriers.” And to drive the foreshadowing home even further, Hailey certainly followed in the footsteps pf those who hiked before her, heading out into the backcountry in 2018/2019 to film with Ben Ferguson, Sage Kotsenburg and Red Gerard for their epic film, "Joy." The fruits of her labor paid off in spades, as Hailey burst onto the scene as a legitimate backcountry rider and the future face of female backcountry riding, and her footage garnered her an exclusive invite to Travis Rice’s Natural Selection Tour.
The past two winters, however, Hailey has stepped up her knowledge and her game. As Hailey states, “I’m super honored that I got to film with Ben for 'Joy' and then to join him for this project was really cool,” to which Ferg says, “To have Hailey be a part of "Fleeting Time" is super important for snowboarding, for women’s snowboarding and for her to come out, step up and film amazing footage, it just really tied the whole thing together.” But it was a tricky balance for Hailey this past winter, as she spent much of her season dedicated to her Olympic run in Pyeongchang. As soon as the Games were wrapped, it was straight to Whistler to join the "Fleeting Time" crew and transitioning from contest to backcountry mode ASAP. Hailey recalls, “It was very stressful.”
Alongside US teammate Red Gerard and New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Hailey had to deal with something that few professional snowboarders have to deal with: the pressure and expectations of being on a national Olympic team and filming in the backcountry. It’s an elite club, the likes of which riders like Mark McMorris, Zoi, Red, Hailey and a small handful of others are in. But to Hailey, it’s all part of the process, the lifelong learning that comes with spending time riding powder. It’s also something that Travis Rice has lived earlier in his career and understands the complexities of. As Travis puts it, “Seeing Hailey live some of that balance, being able to show up at contests, do well at contests and then go film, it takes another level of being able to flip from contest mode to the freedom of the backcountry.”
There is no denying that one of the best clips in the entire film is Hailey’s front seven in Whistler, and I would argue that it is one of the best front sevens done to date in the backcountry, but it also acts as a sort of culmination of Hailey’s budding career in one quick video clip. Hailey recalls, “Getting to put this one to my feet was definitely really cool and special, and especially to have done it in front of my heroes. I compete with Zoi all year long, and Curtis and Austin built the moment up to something even better. No other trick has amounted to how good this one felt, for sure.” According to Rice, “That frontside seven is pretty ridiculous. It is proper.” And Ben chimed in as well on the trick heard round the world, by saying, “It was similar to the Cab 10 she did at X Games. The front seven is the next stepping stone she’s taken to push the sport for women’s snowboarding.” But it’s Red Gerard who put it best when he says, “I think that’s just the start for her. There’s so much more that she wants to do in the backcountry.” And that’s it.
This is simply the start for young Hailey Langland and we cannot wait to see what she has in store for us in the winters to come. Hailey is on course to progress our sport and our culture like very few other riders have in recent generations, and while she still has much to offer the competitive world, she will continue to balance both and change the landscape in each. Her time is now.