069: Jeremy Jones/Across The Great Divide

“Ode to Muir represents the type of snowboarding I’ve been doing for the last four years.” Photo: Andrew Miller

“People used to ask me all the time ‘What are you going to when you’re done snowboarding?’ They don’t ask me that any more”.

It’s been two years in the making, but for episode 069 I finally bagged one of the big beasts of the snowboarding world: the great Jeremy Jones.

Jeremy is a true icon. Firstly and most obviously, he’s one of the most legendary freeriders ever, helping to push the boundaries for over two decades now through one of snowboarding’s most influential riding careers.

Jeremy and Elena in the Eastern Sierra. Photo: Andrew Miller

He’s been equally influential as a film-maker, through projects like the Deeper/Higher/Further trilogy, and idiosyncratic recent releases such as Life of Glide and this winter’s Ode to Muir.

The road to Muir. Photo: Andrew Miller

Then there’s his work in the environmental and political arena, which sees him use his platform to try and influence government policy and affect real change through organisations such as Protect Our Winters.

Photo: Andrew Miller

In this wide-ranging conversation, we cover this ground and plenty more. We learn about the depth and scale of Jeremy’s environmental and political ambitions, and the passion that drives his work with POW and projects like Ode to Muir. We learn about how he squares the contradictions at the heart of his own travelling life, and about his own convictions are driven by an urgency borne of his own first-hand experience And yes, I did ask him about THAT Kayak ad

Jeremy and Elena on the Ode to Muir mission

Above all, what comes across is Jeremy’s unquenchable passion for the sideways life. He’s also an absolute frother from first to last – and I say this as somebody who has been lucky enough to go riding with him. Cut this guy and he bleeds snowboarding, and it is this passion that continues to drive him today and which shines through during our conversation. Don’t miss this one.

If you only have five minutes…

Listen to this section - Jeremy on the importance of John Muir, the inspiration behind his latest film Ode to Muir.

Connect With Jeremy

Show Notes

  • How technology affects the shot success rate.
  • “Shooting snowboarding is like shooting wildlife” – the TGR approach.
  • A naturalistic approach, and the importance of setting up athletes for success while filming.
  • The narrative progression of Jeremy’s films.
  • Using his films to overtly share an environmental message.
  • Jeremy’s affinity with John Muir.
  • “We can be really proud of the decision-making that was going during that time”.
  • The prescience of John Muir and the progressiveness of that decision-making process.
  • The importance of protecting land for national parks….
  • …and how it is the apotheosis of the conversation around conservation as public good.
  • How the Wilderness Act crossed bipartisan lines.
  • Keeping positive in the current administration.
  • The importance of politics in conservation.
  • Keeping positive in the face of the current administration, and the importance of winning those small battles.
  • “We went from peacetime to wartime”
  • How politics is the frontline of the environmental battle.
  • Targeting purple state voters to combat climate change.
  • “The biggest political party in the US is the ‘did not vote’ party”.
  • Getting skate kids to talk about voting. 
  • The different approaches followed by different POW chapters.
  • The ‘examined life’ and how Jeremy squares the contradictions around his own lifestyle. 
  • Rising above the intentionally divisive ‘fossil fuel playbook’.
  • “Every year, I try and be a better human than I was the year before”.
  • How it has to be personal as well as moral to be sustainable.
  • Obsessed by backyard discoveries.
  • How Ode to Muir is a love letter to the High Sierras.
  • Showcasing average Sierra snowboarding.
  • “It’s about riding any kind of conditions.”
  • How Europe is the best snowboarding in the world.
  • The unique Ode to Muir crew.
  • The thinking behind picking Elena Hight for the project.
  • Elena the prodigy.
  • Nick Schneider, ‘The Sierra Phantom’, and how he represents the classic in-resort legend.
  • How Jones tries to represent this ‘heart of snowboarding’ community their product and marketing.
  • How to get into big mountain riding if you’re a normal resort rider.
  • Jones’ projects for 2019/2020.
  • Forthcoming projects with Torah Bright and Bryan Iguchi.
  • The creative challenges he seeks through filmmaking.
  • Nerves on The Ode To Muir premiere night.
  • “We baked in huge chunks of silence.”
  • Why post-production is the hardest part of filmmaking.
  • The first screening of Star Wars.
  • What physical evidence of climate change Jeremy’s has witnessed during his career.
  • The new environmental normal.
  • The terrifying concept of ‘last descents’.
  • What’s next for the Jones line.
  • How having family impacts his approach to risk. 
  • Why snowboarding is a great family sport.
  • How the relationship with snowboarding is broadening in real time.
  • The next generation of snowboarders.
  • The story behind his British voiceover in the Kayak ad. 

People Mentioned

PLACES MENTIONED

  • Alaska
  • The Alps
  • Sierra Nevada
  • UK
  • Austria
  • Antarctica
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Yellowstone Park
  • Chamonix

 

COMPANIES/BRANDS/ORGANISATIONS MENTIONED