Hannah Bailey – What Backcountry Means to Me!
Hannah Bailey is a passionate award-winning photographer, journalist and communications specialist who has been immersed in the underground scenes of action sports, adventure and the outdoors for over 10 years. Born in Edinburgh, Hannah has travelled the world to document women in action sports and her work has been recognised with awards from the Women’s Sport Trust and Campaign Magazine, and her photos featured in media such as Vice, The Scotsman, i_D, Dazed, Asian Geographic, Women’s Fitness. Instead of focusing on the sports, it is the free-spirited players and heroic characters that define the worlds of action sports and the outdoors which Hannah feels most passionate about, particularly those that are girls or women. Her photos and projects aim to show the real faces and stories of those involved in the culture, which she pushes to take to a wider audience to inspire others to join in and make the scene more accessible to all. She is currently based in Aviemore and works on an array of projects, including for Patagonia and Protect Our Winters UK.
I only found snowboarding in my early twenties but straight away I was captivated by the community, the creative inspiration of the scene, and the in-the-moment act of learning to turn. But I realised early on it was something more, a deep connection with nature which I hadn’t had with other sports before. After time in Austria and France, I was lucky to do my second season in Red Mountain, British Colombia where my eyes were opened to the backcountry as they only had three lifts for two whole mountains.
I had only been riding a year or two, but I followed my crew into the trees and have never looked back. I like the adventure of it so much the pistes can only get me when I need them! Snowboarding is one of my main passions, but it is also part of my work – I got a job in the industry in 2008 on the communications, photography and media side of things, and have been part of it ever since. I’ve been lucky over the years to follow experienced friends into the backcountry on snowboards and splitboards, from Morzine (thanks Tammy Esten) to the Lofoten Islands (thanks Patagonia). I’ve taken every opportunity to learn from the community around me which I think is the route to getting initially ready and clued up to get out there.
I love life in the backcountry because of what people-powered adventures provide. We physically power our way up the hill when we are touring, but we also mentally power each other with our company, the chat and energy. For me, it’s not about how fast we are going, or a race to the top, it’s the slow way to travel which allows you to take in every icicle of snow, every inch of the landscape and really appreciate that deserved snack at the top, (with a hopeful view). I live in Aviemore now and that is where my upcoming season will be.
The Cairngorms and all the (living) mountains are something to be respected by us as humans, snowboarders and splitboarders, so I am always trying to expand my experience and knowledge in the backcountry where and when I can. Being someone who found action sports later in life, I want to show people it is possible to learn it, to be part of it and for the adventure to be accessible.
In Scotland, we have rolling hills and lots of potential touring spots in the wild (when the snow hits them) – I want to explore them on my splitboard, snowshoes, snowboard or hiking boots as much as possible this upcoming season with my cameras and a like-minded crew. I hope by doing so I will encourage others to get ready and get out there.
My photo website is: https://whatmakesagoodphoto.com/