Nifty Thrifting with Hana Beaman

Courtesy of Hana Beaman

Hana Beaman, who recently stepped back from snowboarding to focus on filmmaking, estimates she furnished her last apartment, above, for under $1,000.

Walking into Hana Beaman's old one-bedroom apartment in Bellingham,Wash., you might not know where to look first. Your eyes might dart from the snowboarder's vintage multi-bulbed chandelier to her headboard made of three attached doors to her collection of hand-painted wood pieces featuring illustrations of a rooster, an eagle, a fish and a snowflake. These are just of the few of the treasures the three-time X Games Aspen silver-medalist has found during her many thrift shopping adventures around the world.

"My apartment was furnished with all thrift, garage sale, and Craigslist finds in one week. I think I spent under $1,000 on the whole place and I loved it," said the 31-year-old, who was named Snowboarder Magazine's Women's Rider of the Year in 2013 despite having hung up her competition bib a year earlier. Though she made a push to be part of slopestyle's Olympic debut in Sochi this winter, she had already pretty much devoted herself entirely to filming back-country riding, which is what she's doing this March in Europe (Italy and Switzerland) as well as in Montana with her production company, P.S. Webisodes.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Beaman was named Snowboarder Magazine's Women's Rider of the Year in 2013 despite having hung up her competition bib a year earlier.

"Traveling has probably encouraged this growing obsession since every town I visit has a different personality and different treasures. What you find says a lot about the town and the people," said Beaman, who believes she began thrifting 12 years ago while living in Mammoth, Calif., where she would often visit the only secondhand shop in town for furniture and costumes for dress-up parties.

While the hunt for hidden gems is the biggest lure, Beaman is also in it for the good karma. "I like the thought of reusing items instead of just tossing them out. So many people just get rid of stuff they don't like anymore. I'm guilty of this, too. We're a pretty disposable society and being able to lengthen the life of some stuff makes me feel better about it all.

"But who knows, maybe I'm just cheap," she added, laughing.

It's true, most pro snowboarders aren't rolling in it, unless your name is Shaun White. So being frugal and finding smart ways to save, like buying gently used pieces without breaking the bank, is a big deal. The newest items Beaman owns are her clothes, TV and, of course, her snowboards. "The most expensive things in my house are probably my Ride Snowboards -- and those are all in my garage," she said.

Beaman has developed such a keen eye for deals that family and friends have started to recruit her for her unique skill. "When I first moved to Bellingham three years ago, my friend Jackie told me she needed a coffee table, so I would scan Craigslist or scour thrift shops and take photos and send them to her, very personal-shopper style," she said.

Whenever she has house-guests over, they almost always ask her for the back-stories about her décor. And the question that usually follows is how they can get their hands on certain pieces. The flattering inquiries have been enough to spark Beaman's own interest in starting a business one day.

"When I'm done snowboarding, I can see myself owning a thrift store. I would love to go out, thrift and bring back scores to my own shop. I would really enjoy that."

Even her dad, who still lives in Beaman's hometown of Big Bear Lake, Calif., with her mom, has been bitten by the bargain bug. He recently picked up a 1930's wood-and-steel ice ax for his daughter to use as an art piece in her newly-purchased brick mid-century ranch house on the water in Chuckanut Bay, just south of Bellingham. The ax will go nicely next to her favorite find ever: Antique snowshoes, a purchase from a Salvation Army in Portland.

"I love the idea of giving something like this that's no longer functional new life. It has good bones - it's just super-dated. All it needs is the right amount of love and it's something that can be so classic and unique," Hana Beaman said.

Besides furniture and décor, Beaman is also a sucker for jewelry and boots. When she lived in Mammoth, she loved hopping in her car and driving U.S. Route 395 between Mammoth and Reno, where there are a bunch of second-hand shops filled with these smaller items. And of course, she has her go-to hot spots in Bellingham, where she likes to make the rounds weekly and especially whenever she gets back from a long trip.

"I'm not into the mass-produced look so much ... not to say I don't buy the random IKEA piece now and again," she said. Still, this adrenaline junkie, who loves to flip off steep cliff faces like they're nothing, will always be in it for the thrill of the hunt.

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