Hadley Hammer is your Quintessential “Gutsy Girl”

When we heard about the Gutsy Girls Film Festival we had to learn more.  The festival will be showing 8 different short films from around the world.  To get the insider info we reached out to Hadley Hammer from the “Life Beyond Walls” film by Smith Optics.


Hadley Hammer in skiing in Jackson Hole
Hadley in skiing in Jackson Hole

Can you explain a bit about “Life Beyond Walls”?  Why was it shot, and what is it about?

Life Beyond Walls is a series created by Smith Optics. The idea is to show from the inside a view of what adventures are like “beyond walls”. What it’s like to be out there, experiencing nature, and adventuring with others. This particular episode is with myself, Jessica Baker, Rachael Burkes, and Amie Engerbretson. We went to one of Golden Alpine Holidays huts outside of Golden, BC. There was no cell service, no internet, no running water. But there was a wood burning stove, a stocked kitchen, and endless skiing to be had.

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Had you been on any all women trips like this before?  How are they different from mixed groups or mostly boy trips?  

I’ve been on a few all women trips before. I think the main difference is girls are really, really silly. Not in a way that disregards the risk or getting the shot, but in a way that keeps the atmosphere light. You’ll catch it in the edit-we are constantly dancing, laughing, goofing off. I think there is probably 2 hours of b-roll that’s just us dancing-in the kitchen, on top of our lines, at the bottom of our lines or walking heavy buckets of water to the hut.


You’ve got an awesome series of podcasts going, what was the motivation behind only interviewing women?  What do you hope for your listeners to take away from these podcasts?

The podcast came from a desire to get more into media formats that are long form.  Everything I was consuming on the internet was feeling too surface level, too shallow. So the podcast was a way to get deeper – ask more questions, spend more time with people. The all girl theme was actually just a way to differentiate myself from the podcasts that were out there.   And because to me it’s the quickest way to relate to someone. I hope it’s a chance for listeners to really understand what makes these girls tick. They were a blast to do, and I definitely want to get back into it. They are very time intensive but I’ve got some stored up and when I have enough to roll out 6 months of them I’ll do another release.


Hadley ripping her local zone in Jackson Hole

Diving in deep here!  There is a lot of discussion now about how a traditional “masculine” role is not best suited for all men as it tends to only encourage very specific traits.  With the growth of groups, communities and outdoor culture beginning to encourage/inspire women to get out there and get rad, do you feel like there could be a flip side?  Just like some men don’t feel bust suited by pressures to be brave/courageous/bold, that there are some women that could get caught up in the excitement of women empowerment in outdoor sports, but are not best suited by certain parts of the movement, or is this growing movement perfect?

I love this question and I think it’s part of the current dialogue that is missing. In general I think it’s important that we start bringing a different kind of conversation to the table.

I’ve always thought about what it must like to be a male who is in a more feminine sport. Take male figure skaters for example. I can’t say for sure because I’m not in that position, but I’m guessing at times it could be harder to portray those feminine traits as a male versus when I “huck something huge like a dude”, I think it’s well accepted by society.

There’s a pressure as a female pro athlete to represent all these women. But we are all so different. Some girls like pink, some like green ya know. And I think we have to be careful when we put people in a box. I remember when I first started skiing, I was trying to find someone to look up to, and naturally you kinda look for people that you can relate to. I couldn’t relate to the more “wild” women. But then I remember finding Matilda Rapaport’s blog. And it was like yes, here’s this girl who is a pro skier but is quiet, likes good food and cool clothes, and who is usually with her friends or boyfriend eating dinner and not out partying. And it’s not because I have judgements of how people live, it’s just that it felt like I could be myself and be a pro because here was someone else doing it.

I definitely don’t agree with a lot of the “feminist” movement. When I’ve been asked to do all girl ski days I honestly feel more uncomfortable than encouraged (probably because I hate wearing costumes ha!). But I grew up with brothers, I love skiing with my guy friends and filming with them too (again I also love filming with women too). I just don’t think I like the divide.

I think when you create more division, more polarity, it’s not helping the movement. I’ve been wrestling a lot lately with my thoughts on humanity as a whole (BIG STUFF HA)-in terms of being a female, being an environmentalist, being an athlete, being a nerd. And I think the problem is as humans we want everything to have a solution. We want everything to have a plan. We want everyone to come to some form of common ground.  But the thing is, as nice as that would all be, we are too complex, the world is too complex. I may not find common ground with someone who say grew up in Bangladesh, I may not find common ground with another female who grew up in a mountain town. And I’m trying to just be okay with that. I’m not going to agree with everyone. And more so I just want to keep being curious about why people think the way they do. I think we could spend less time arguing, less time trying to make things perfect or make sense and more time just listening…and more time just letting people be themselves and do their own thing…and more time skiing!


Hadley Hammer standing atop a line while filming for Tsirku
Hadley standing atop a line while filming for Tsirku

Thanks for those in depth thoughts, it’s certainly an interesting topic.  With everything you’re involved in and produce there certainly seems to be a common thread in your life of inspiring other women, what are your thoughts on the Gutsy Girls Film Fest?

I think it’s awesome. My two roommates are both female film makers, and I see their struggle of producing films and getting them funded and then seen. What I like about this film festival is exactly what the question above pointed out-that it’s important to show a variety of women and show a variety of ways that we like to get outside and adventure.


Have there been women in your life who have acted as role models or mentors you’d like to give a shout our to?

There are so, so many. Probably my mom to start who has been my role model from the beginning. But also the women in this edit. I’ve learned so much from each of them, not just on this trip, but in life. I love them all and am so thankful to have them in my life, especially for the dance parties.


Thanks for your time Hadley!


Come join the movement, we’ll see you Nov 1st.

The Film Fest Program can be found here.