Snowboarder Jeremy Jones is known for his innovative and bold big mountain freeriding style, as well as for his courageous hikes into mountain wildernesses around the world. In 2007, Jeremy began organizing winter sport comrades with his organization Protect Our Winters, which seeks to raise awareness about how climate change impacts cold-weather ecosystems. Further, the second installment of his documentary trilogy, was released in September 2012.
Maranda Pleasant: What is it that inspires you the most?
Jeremy Jones: I get a lot of inspiration from my surroundings, people I’m with. Mother Nature. It’s combination of everything and really wanting to live life to the fullest. I feel very fortunate to be healthy, so I try to take advantage of it.
MP: What makes you feel most alive? When is it that you feel most alive?
JJ: What draws me to the type of snowboarding that I’m doing now is, I go through every emotion in life when I’m climbing these mountains. The fear. The anticipation before that. Getting to the top and the joy of standing on top, and then the adrenaline on going down, and then the kind of overwhelming emotions that I get at the bottom. That whole process is really addicting, and makes me feel alive.
MP: What is it that makes you feel vulnerable?
JJ: I feel vulnerable on mountains. It’s an uncontrolled, raw environment. It’s very—it’s truly humbling.
MP: How do you deal with pain?
JJ: Get outside. Generally, that’s the mountains, or maybe the ocean. But get out into nature, work it out.
MP: What causes are you behind?
JJ: Definitely climate change. Our society has got to evolve and create better ways of living.
MP: What is it about climate change? Are you seeing that when you’re on the mountains?
JJ: Absolutely. I’ve seen definitive change in the mountains. I have concerns for the future generation. We inherit the earth from the people in front of us, and then we pass it on to the next generation. I don’t think we’ve done a great job with our responsibility to leave the earth a better place than what we were born into.
MP: Is the snow not there at the levels that it used to be? How is it affecting your work?
JJ: Yes. I am very good at finding snow when there’s very little snow. From a day in, day out perspective, I’m fine. I see resorts that are closed because they no longer have snow. It’s not my home resort. There are signs all over the place. I’m very passionate about climate change, which is why I created Protect Our Winters.
MP: What exactly is Protect Our Winters?
JJ: Protect Our Winters is this foundation I started in 2007, and it focuses on slowing down climate change by bringing the winter sports community together and having a strong voice to make change and slow down climate change.
MP: You also have a film coming out.
JJ: It’s my second film. It was actually released. It’s focused on going to these places that no one’s ever snowboarded at, that we can’t get machines to. It’s all hiking, foot power.
MP: What motivates you to do that?
JJ: First and foremost, I’ve realized that I’ve been snowboarding for twenty-five years, and the biggest high that I get is when I really cut myself off from society, to really know the mountain. The high that I get from hiking up these mountains is a much bigger challenge than taking a helicopter to the top. I have to put more into it, but I get a lot more excitement out of it.
In the past people would say, “I can only do this world-class snowboarding if I have a helicopter.” Actually, if you’re committed to it, willing to put a bunch of energy into it, then you can do it under your own power.
And thirdly, in all aspects of my life, I try to reduce my impact on the earth—that includes snowboarding, as well.
MP: You have your own line of snowboarding gear, Jones Snowboards.
JJ: I started it because I wasn’t getting the equipment that I wanted, specifically footboards, which are snowboards that turn into skis on a really different kind of mountain. I just got sick of trying to explain to these big companies that it was the next step in snowboarding. Decided it was time to go out on my own.
MP: Is there anything else, any other projects?
JJ: I’m also trying to simplify my life, I guess that’s my latest project. Life’s a little bit too crazy for my liking right now.
MP: You’re a dad, right?
JJ: Yeah, I have a family. The balancing act is challenging at times. I’m looking forward to—actually, I’m running out the door to go snowboard right now.
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