October 5, 2011 -Sam Petri Jeremy Jones is in the middle of creating his next two-year snowboard film titled “Further.” Set to debut in the fall of 2012, the movie is positioned to take a similar approach to his last film, “Deeper.” The project is part of a trilogy that will be capped with a final movie titled “Higher.” The thread that ties the three features together is that of exploration. Jones is looking to take snowboarding to the Earth’s most remote locations, beyond where motorized vehicles can travel. The idea is to snowboard where no one has before, and to do so using his own two feet. Joined by snowboarders Terje Haakonsen, Xavier De Le Rue, Lucas Debari, Josh Dirksen, Forrest Shearer, Ryland Bell, DCP and Nicolas Müller, in “Further” Jones has so far led the way in places like the Arctic, Japan, the Sierras and the Tetons. Although the mountains he rides are serious, Jones is just as excited as ever to simply go snowboarding. “I’m really excited for next winter,” Jones said. “I’m probably more excited than I’ve been since … last winter. It’s fun to be 25 years into snowboarding and frothing for winter like a little kid, and I think that’s because of changing my approach to the mountains, going splitboarding. It’s like a new sport to me now. It has me amping like a little kid.” In light of the “Further” trailer debuting today on tetongravity.com, we caught up with Jones to find out more about his movie and what he plans on doing this winter to complete the project.
Jeremy Jones, Josh Dirksen and Forrest Shearer stand on a peak in the Japanese Alps while filming for the new snowboard movie "Further." TGR: What did you learn from “Deeper” and what are you trying to do with “Further”? Jeremy Jones: “Deeper” showed me that I didn’t really need any infrastructure to go snowboarding. The world’s mountains really opened up to me. I started looking at the map much differently. It was, and it still is, really over whelming. If there’s good snow and good terrain on this planet, I will get to where I need to go to snowboard. In the past, it was restricting. It would be like, “I know there’s good terrain. But we can’t get a heli in some crazy country,” or, “There’s no ski resort there,” or, “The access is too hard.” “Deeper” showed me that none of that stuff really matters. I enjoy the adventure of figuring out how to get to these far away places. With “Further,” I hope to continue to evolve my snowboarding and take my snowboarding to places I’ve never been. You are in the middle of a two-year project, where have you traveled so far to shoot? I did a month in Japan, a month in the Arctic and some time in the Sierra and a little bit of time in Jackson, Wyoming. Which locations stand out in your mind so far? Japan and the Artic were really successful in the sense that, there are just so many variables in those places. I feel pretty fortunate to have had decent conditions. We were able to come out of those trips having ridden some killer lines. Both of those trips were really different experiences than what I’m used to and both those trips were different from each other, which was exciting. What was it like in Japan? In Japan, we were dealing with really massive amounts of snow. Very short high-pressure systems, major wind. I would go out there and dig a pit, trying to build myself up for the high-alpine lines that I went there for and there would be nine feet of new snow after a two-day storm cycle on the face I’d want to ride. In the Arctic, it was totally different. We had really firm conditions where we were searching our bags for a file to sharpen our edges at the start of the trip. Thankfully, we got some new snow toward the end. In the Arctic, we were searching for quality snow. In Japan, we were hoping it would stop snowing. Where were you in Japan? We were in the Japanese Alps on the main island. How about in the Arctic, where were you? We were in an archipelago called Svalbard, which is a group of islands 60 miles south of the North Pole. What country are you in at that point? Norway governs it, but nobody owns it. What attracted you to that place? How did you even decide to go there? I like steep mountains with good snow. There’s only so many places in the world that have the combination of rip-able mountains with the right latitude, the right proximity to the ocean, glaciers to keep things cold even though your right next to the ocean and the topography of steep mountains with flat outruns. All those combinations make for the safest steep, powder snowboarding you can do. So Svalbard, I had heard some talk of it, I looked into it, and it had the key criteria to make me want to go on a trip there. Splitboard technology seems to have improved greatly over the years, is that helping you? For sure splitboards have improved to a point where, I wouldn’t be able to ride what I’m riding on 10-year-old splitboard technology. That’s definitely opened things up. It’s made it so when I’m strapped to my splitboard, there’s no difference. I’m not up there in my head going, “Alright, I’m on a splitboard now, I need to ride this differently.” There are no limitations from my splitboard. What do you ride on, what’s your spiltboard set up? In Japan, I was on a 156 Hovercraft and that board actually has the surface area of a much bigger board. And in the Arctic and in the Sierra, I was on a 161 Solution, which is more of a traditional, directional freeride board. And I have been on Karakoram Interface bindings, which I started using at the very end of “Deeper” and have really fine-tuned those. I’ve lightened my set up maybe 50 percent since “Deeper,” which is pretty cool. Coming into this winter, where do you plan to travel to film? I’m really looking at areas in the lower 48 that have been on my mind for a while that are really further than I’ve ever been into the mountains and will require a much stronger effort than I’ve been willing to put in previously. That will be most of the winter, what I call “backyard discoveries.” Then I’m looking at a new area in Alaska that is big and vast and has seen very little ski or snowboard traffic. Can you tell me what area in AK, or are you keeping it hush? [Laughs] You are going to have to watch the movie to find out! No, I’m on the fence about two areas, so I can’t answer that, anyway. But no, I’m not worried about someone stealing my line there. [Laughs] Why a two year project? I like to go to these locations and give them adequate time. I travel a lot. I do fewer trips now and pick one or two spots a year and really put all my energy and attention toward them. Especially split-powered snowboarding — it just takes a long time to get A-grade footage. And it just allows us, from a creative stand point, to put an extra year worth of energy into it. If I am going to make a movie, I want to make it as good as I possibly can. One season is just too rushed to make a movie that hopefully moves the needle in snowboarding.
Jones hikes for his turns in the Japanese Alps while filming for "Further."
On Tuesday, following a prolonged period of heavy snowfall and fierce winds, CBS News reported that a select number of tourists are choosing to evacuate the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt by helicopter due to the extreme avalanche danger around the resort. Per CBS News, some 13,000 tourists are stranded at the resort at the bottom of the famed Matterhorn mountain because the current avalanche danger in the surrounding area has reached level five–the highest level on the avalanche-warning
The west has featured decent high elevation snow this season, with spots like Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee having solid snow coverage, but in general, the early season hasn't been great to the western U.S. In fact, if you were to compare the annual snowfall at Squaw (80 inches YTD) versus Jay Peak in Vermont (185 inches YTD) you might think you were living in an opposite reality. But, fear not, all you West Coast skers and snowboarders, because the flood gates should open this week
As we've written about–and as you're probably aware if you fancy yourself much of a skier or snowboarder–much of North America has had a pretty abysmal start to the ski season so far. One place that hasn't had a poor start, however, is Whistler Blackcomb up in British Columbia. And as the saying goes, apparently the rich get richer because a massive storm is rolling into the Whistler region that will potentially drop 57 inches of fresh snow by Tuesday morning, according to snow-forecast.com