The Jeremy Jones Interview By Nick Hewitt
|Quick Facts: |
Pro Big Mountain Snowboarder
Any from the Jones Snowboards range
So you’re in town for the premiere of your film Deeper, can you tell us a little about it?
Yeah, it’s a movie that took me two years to make and it’s about going to these areas that you can only get to on foot. So it’s a lot of long days hiking, a lot of days camping and just trying to get back to exploration and adventure.
I heard that the film started because of this mountain face just north of the US/Canadian border that blew you away. Can you tell us about that run?
Yeah, it’s this really unique, incredible face. One of the most amazing runs that I’ve ever seen in my life and the only way to get there was to hike and camp. I’ve started hiking more and more of those faces around the world and I knew it was finally time to figure that run out and make it happen.
How long did that run take you to plan?
Well with all free riding, you can wait years for [runs] to be in form. That one, I tried to do it the year before and the conditions weren’t perfect, so I went back this year and actually got it. I kind of knew what I was looking for with conditions, so I got in there pretty quick and thought what the hell.
When you’re hiking your runs, you’re getting less time to board. Is there then more pressure to get it right every time?
The thing with free riding is that you never get a second chance on stuff and I’ve been doing it long enough to know that the really special runs, I may never seem them in form in my life again, so there’s always that pressure to make it right.
Are you happy with the response to the movie so far? Is it going the way you’d expected?
It’s surpassed my expectations so far. There’s been a perception of free riding as a really niche part of the sport, which it is. I thought there was a growing group of people who’d want to see a little more free riding, but I didn’t expect the feedback we’ve been having.
You put yourself in a number of dangerous situations, was it ever tempting to just get the helicopters in to make it safer?
It’s funny because, we never really thought about it at all. We were just so happy and content. First and foremost, I did the movie because hiking and riding my lines is where I get the most enjoyment snowboarding, so I never really thought about it. I was so happy doing what I was doing.
Did you ever get into a situation where by you’d spent all this time hiking a mountain and when you got to the top you realized that you had the wrong board, or you didn't have a piece of equipment that you need?
No. I mean I’m definitely dialed in on equipment as I’ve been doing this for 25 years. But it is really common for me to go into the mountains and I'll be eight hours into my day and 10 minutes from the top of a line and I’ll feel weird about something and not be able to ride it. That happens a lot. Probably half of the time I go into the mountains, I come back without riding.
But do you ever have occasions where your heart over-rules your head and you see a run and think “I really want to do it. It’s going to be a bit dangerous, it could be safer, but I’m going to do it anyway”?
Yeah, I had to learn that lesson a long time ago.
The hard way?
Thankfully not the hard way, but when you free ride with cameras, the biggest challenge, and something I’ve gotten pretty good at, is backing down from lines and live to ride another day.
What was the best run you had last year?
I think the riding in the movie (Deeper) progressively steps up, so towards the end of the movie there’s some really special runs. But we would laugh because I probably had nine of the best runs of my life during the movie. Ryland Bell had about 30. Every time he’d get down to the bottom of a run he’d be like “That was the best run of my life” and he meant it.
So you’ve recently started Jones Snowboards. How long did that venture take to get off the ground?
Jones Snowboards came around because I wasn’t getting the product I needed and figured there are a lot of snowboarders out there not getting the products they need. Companies weren’t really putting the attention on all-mountain, free ride focused products. It was just an after-thought. So I started it because I wanted better equipment and once I decided to do the company, it’s been all systems go. It’s actually been pretty damn fast. A year ago it was just a little seedling.
Did you have a specific idea of what you wanted to put into a board or did you have to experiment lots?
It was cool, I was able to bring three totally brand new shapes into snowboarding, which is a hard thing to do, but I had the boards in my head and it evolved from there. Where I started and where I finished are a little bit different, but I’m always thinking a couple of steps ahead with what we can do with boards.
You’ve got split boards in your line. Are you finding there’s an ever-increasing need to have that in free riding?
Yeah, if you’re getting into the back country you need a split board, plain and simple. If you go up three days a year, you can do it with snow shoes, but if you’re going out ten days a year, you’re going to start getting tired. I call the split board “The Solution”, and it is. Watch Deeper and you’ll see that 80% of the movie is on a split board.
Jones Snowboards: The Solution
That much? And you don’t find using a split board affects your riding at all compared against standard boards?
No, and that’s why I started the company, to make proper split boards, among other things. I found that my options for split boards on the market were very limited and that there was room for improvement, so I set out to make a proper split board that rides like a normal snowboard and we achieved that.
So what have you got lined up for this coming season?
I’m just looking forward to a couple of months in the mountains, hiking around away from cameras and we’ll see what shakes up.
Is there any face in particular that you’re looking to hit?
There are probably a hundred faces on my list, but it just depends on weather, snow and timing. There are so many factors to it, so I’m just trying to prioritise on which ones I’ll be able to do.
Jeremy Jones’ Deeper is available now. For the trailer and news on the O’Neill UK Premier, Click Here