SkiNet: You have a lot of X Games’ under your belt, how are you feeling about this year?
Tanner Hall: I feel really good. I qualified first tonight.
SN: With 10 total X Games Medals, 7 of them gold, do you feel like there is more or less pressure going into this competition?
TH: At this point in my life, I don’t really feel pressure going into contests. I put so much pressure on myself in general that any added pressure doesn’t make much difference…I am the hardest kid ever on himself. I think its to my advantage though because with so many X Games under my belt, I am used to the feeling now. I think that’s the advantage that I have. You always feel the nerves, but I think I feel way better than most years because I have the experience that not a lot of these kids have.
SN: How has having the DEW Tour in the mix this year changed the dynamics of X Games competition?
TH: I don’t know if it changes the X Games competition because X Games is just different. You could have 20 DEW Tour stops, but that wouldn’t equal what the X Games is all about. It comes once a year; it’s the biggest comp we’ve got and X Games is the one contest where it’s not time to hold back. It’s the one comp that shows year in and year out how much our sport has progressed.
SN: There was a rumor during the DEW Tour that we might see you do a double flip in the pipe? Any chance you might break it out here?
TH: Definitely. It was broken out tonight (during qualifiers) and its just going to get better tomorrow.
SN: What other tricks have you been working on?
TH: Right Side 1080, Switch 1080. I am just going to make everything super solid. I got a lot of tricks, so I am really just working on cleaning up everything and making it look like child’s play.
SN: Halfpipe has always been your strong suit, but we heard you might compete in Slopestyle again this year? Any truth to that?
TH: Yep. It’s hard to get a spot in Slopestyle now because there are so many insane skiers. If I have a spot, I might as well use it and see what happens and have some fun. Park skiing is really a passion of mine. I haven’t competed in it for four years, so you never know what can happen…you can wake up one day and just feel it like you’ve never felt it before. Hopefully that’s what will happen.
SN: What’s next for you after the X Games?
TH: A whole lot of powder skiing! I’m filming with TGR (Teton Gravity Research) this year. We are going to Alaska for four weeks, and then I’ll be in BC (British Columbia) for six weeks. So after the last DEW Tour, I will be gone!
SN: Do you have any plans or desire to break the record Simon set last year?
TH: Nope. Simon and I are two different people with two different styles. He charges and goes balls to the wall all the time. My whole thing right now is to open up different avenues of my skiing, not just focus on park and pipe. Skiing was created in the mountains, not a park. That’s where I want to take my sport back to. Nobody gives enough respect to Scott Schmidt, Mike Hattrup, Kevin Andrews and guys like that. They are the ones that got me into this sport so I want to give back to that side of the sport because it’s given me so much.
SN:What has changed in the industry in the time that you’ve been skiing professionally?
TH: Everything has changed. From day one to right now, literally everything has changed. Our sport is the fastest growing, fastest progressing sport in the whole world right now. It's pretty wild what can happen in one decade of your life. It’s cool to look back. Skiing is definitely going in the right direction right now.
SN: Can you tell us about the clothing line you’ve been working on with Oakley?
TH: The T-Hall Signature line will be available next year and it really reflects my style – I am really into the Rasta culture and flying the colors, listening to Reggae music and living a good, positive lifestyle. It’s a part of my life not a lot of people know about and when they look at it, they might think its kind of funny that a white kid from Montana is really into that culture. But it’s no joke. If you listen to that kind of positive music day in and day out, your life is going to be positive. Instead of listening to a bunch of rappers talking about selling drugs, slapping women and making money. You know what I mean? I’m over it. I’d rather listen to people talk about righteousness instead. So that is the theme of the line. Its loose-fitting, big hoodies, really tall tee shirts, but the fabric is really waterproof, super light, 3-layers, seam sealed. Super fashionable, yet it will keep you warm and dry.
SN: Is it true you cut your dreads because your helmet didn’t fit anymore?
TH: Well, that was one of the reasons. I was bummed after I did it, but life is a long journey and I am starting on round two right now!
SN: I heard your season started off with a series of unfortunate events in Boulder (marijuana possession) and Dillon (trespassing for sliding rails on city property)…Care to elaborate on that?
TH: I will say that it is a tough thing to grow up in the spotlight, living the lifestyle I do. I don’t hide who I am. I do smoke marijuana and I am a supporter of it – I am not afraid to say that. But there is a time and a place for it. I definitely do not support or encourage it for any young kids out there. Everyone’s different and it’s the lifestyle I choose to live. Once you find the place in life that makes you happy, you have to be smart about it and I learned a big lesson about that. The other charge was just crap because some A-hole cop decided to give me a misdemeanor for sliding rails.
SN: Do you have a girlfriend?
TH: No. I am single. I had a girlfriend for a longtime, but right now its better for me to focus on skiing. With what I do and how much I travel, a girlfriend tends to put more stress in my head. Give it up to women, I love ‘em! But right now I got stuff to do.
SN: Is there anything you are really into at the moment?
TH: John Cardiel. He’s a professional skateboarder - The Vans’ saying “Off the Wall” came from him - he got hit by a bus and was told he would never walk again and now he’s walking and skating again. I just think he is an inspiration.
SN: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
TH: Chronic Tacos in Costa Mesa.