Exclusive – 10 Questions with Jeremy Jones

By on December 3, 2015 in Awesome, Snowboarding with 0 Comments

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Jeremy Jones at the NYC gala opening of his Swatch pro model watch and his new coffee table book for Further, Deeper, Higher, “No Words for the Way Down.”

 

Jeremy Jones is a legend among legends in the realm of snowboarding. Having been a mainstay in the big mountain scene for over two decades, Jones continues to progress his riding and his prowess throughout the world. Having completed his trilogy of big mountain films, and gaining ever more success with his namesake company, Jones Snowboards, the Tahoe local chats with Action Sports Daily about his thoughts on family, freedom and protecting our winters during a Deeper, Further, Higher book release gala in New York City with his sponsor Swatch.

How do you convince your wife & family to go further, deeper and higher for two months each winter when you travel to some of the world’s most isolated and dangerous mountain zones?

Well, my kids have grown up with it. They don’t really have much of a say in the matter. Although, now they are getting older and understand what I do. And they think that movies are cool now. So, I ask them should I make another move? Yeah, but you need to have us in them. So, anyway, that’s them. My wife, she totally respects what I do, has trust in my decision making, and is very supportive of the manner. And if that wasn’t the case, I definitely would’ve… pulled back a little.

How does/did living in Tahoe and riding Squaw (or other ski resorts)  prepare you for epic terrain in Alaska and elsewhere?

It’s really interesting, because Squaw is really an amazing training ground for me. It doesn’t seem like it necessarily would be because of the relative scale. But you get the strength of lapping KT-22, and the amount of vertical you get, and there are all these spots on the mountain where you can make these sixty-degree turns. If you really make tight turns, you can get in 2 to 5 sixty-degree turns. So it’s almost like bouldering, where, if I were to fall, I would just get into the chute and go. But to have total edge control, and milk every last inch of the super steep parts of the mountains, gives me the practice of extremely steep snowboarding in AK.

What were some lessons you learned in splitboard development during your excursions?

Well, all the development with snowboards comes from time in the mountains. I’ve never had this ground-breaking idea at my computer. It’s everything you seize from the mountains. But I think the main focus is weight reduction. But, done right…meaning it still has some substance on your foot. And then, really utilizing the connection points of the split board, and sending that power through the rest of the board.

Describe the time during the making of Deeper, Further, Higher films you were most surprised.

Every time that I’ve been able to nail one of these lines, and perfect conditions, and perfect light, and stable avy conditions…it’s so rare for that to happen. I go into a trip, and if I’m lucky, it’s going to line up 1 to 3 times in this 3 to 4 week trip. Whenever I get done with a film, I look at it and go, I don’t know if I want to do another film. Because, each one of those lines is a mini miracle. And how are all those pieces ever going to line up again.

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Jeremy Jones getting the goods in Alaska. Image featured the book “No Words for the Way Down.”

The imagery of these destinations is stunning. How does it compare to being there/experiencing it in person?

Well, the beauty of this book, is, unlike film where everything’s moving, I can just digest the images. It’s very moving for me. And not just because I’ve been there, but I get that I get stopped in my tracks when I see the really beautiful mountain imagery. Almost more so if I wasn’t there. And then, being there, absolutely. It’s been so amazing sleeping and living in these mountains, and seeing storms come and go. The different breaks in weather, the sunrises and the sunsets, and the stars, and the Northern Lights. It’s so rewarding before you even step out of camp. So much fulfillment comes just from living in that environment for long periods of time. And the snowboarding’s almost secondary, and it needs to be, because it’s so rare.

Did you/do you ever think back on what it must’ve been like for the western explorers that penetrated places like Alaska on horseback ~150 years ago, etc.?

I definitely think back a lot to the early explorers. And, yeah, I love reading about that experience. And not just Alaska, but the Sierra. You read John Muir walking into Yosemite Valley, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s the first time he sees Mount Shasta. But what’s interesting is… that experience is still out there for us. Meaning, Jackson Hole, for example. I don’t care who you are, the first time you drive into that valley, or fly into that valley and walk off a plane, or get out of your car. For sure, it happens faster than on horseback, but that overwhelming, make-your-knees-shake experience, is still out there for all of us. And I still get that all the time in new terrain. That said, I do really appreciate the experience of doing it on foot. And it’s funny, when I was climbing Denali, you move this 120lbs up the glacier, and it’s a very slow slog. And from an outside perspective, you’d be like, wow, look it. It just looks so boring. They’re still just walking on this huge glacier. But you’re actually moving, you wouldn’t want to be moving any faster. It’s almost, that lands coming at you too fast, at this two-mile an hour snails pace. And that’s how I feel all the time, walking into new terrain for the first time. It’s just like, so alive, and I wouldn’t want it to come at me any faster than it does.

What are the essential “nice-to-haves” (guilty luxuries) you take on a trek?

It’s different when we do the glacier, plane drop stuff, you can definitely bring a lot of necessities. But when we’re on foot, carrying all our weight, that gets much harder. I would say, for me, a pen and a pad of paper is the one, do I really need it not deal that I bring on trips. But other than that, it’s pretty cut down. My pack now, compared to where I was seven years ago when I go into winter camping, has gotten so much smaller. And it’s just because you really don’t need that stuff, and you don’t have much time. Winter camping is around the clock deal, from staying warm to melting snow, you’re constantly working.

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Jeremy Jones getting the goods in Alaska. Image featured the book “No Words for the Way Down.”

Do your brothers think you’re crazy? Who loses when you Rochambeau to send it down Corbet’s Couloir?

No, my brothers definitely don’t think I’m crazy. I’ve spent more time in the mountains with them than anyone else in the world. When you’re in the mountains, so much of the decision making is really group decision making. So if I’m going to ride something, then I’m making that call, but I’m gathering perspective on those calls, and a lot of that’s with my brothers. So they’re right there with me on that, and if they did think I was crazy, we’d be in a fight about a line, and I probably wouldn’t ride it. We’ve never had that happen. And the Rochambeau on Corbet’s… we’ve actually never been a Rochambeau crew. My brothers and I are very non-competitive. We grew up with the attitude of, ego in the mountains is a dangerous thing. It’s funny, we would go to battle in every sport, but not on the mountains. Never call each other out. It was always collective movement to evolve as a group.

With regards to P.O.W. – can winter be saved?

Can winter be saved? Yes, let’s put it this way. There’s a huge difference of what winter will look if we do nothing than if we do something. It’s hard to get your head around us making this societal direction change, but I think we’re now making some serious headway. It seems slow, but it’s absolutely happening. I think we underestimate society’s ability to evolve. An example would be smart phones. You think of the evolution of a smart phone, and how much our life has changed on that. The same technology, the same mindset shift, is possible on an environmental level.

What’s next for Jeremy Jones?

What’s next for me? I mean, really, snowboarding… it’s more a part of my life now than ever before. Exactly where that takes me, who knows. But, I just continue to quench that thirst for being in the mountains, that’s what makes me happy. In the immediate future, I’m doing something with Travis Rice this winter, for his film, and some other peoples’ films. I kind of said yes too much this winter, and have a very full calendar. But I think I’m going to clean the slate for the winter after that, and do some more creating. I don’t know exactly what format that will be in, but I do have some stuff that I’d like to do. Who knows, if that’s in the form of film, or print, or whatever.

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