Snowboard kingpin Jeremy Jones has said he’s “bailed on machines,” including snowmobiles and helicopters. He now skins into the wilds on a split-board in search of powder and sick lines. Our writer recently interviewed Mr. Jones about gear, his O’Neill apparel line, and his backcountry style. —T.C. Worley
GearJunkie.com: You’re often referred to as a pioneer of “big mountain” free riding. Do you feel this is accurate?
Jeremy Jones: I would say I’ve been a part of the evolution of big mountain riding, but I’ve learned a lot from the guys that went before me and will pass what I know to the guys next in line.
Who inspired you as an up-and-coming rider?
Guys like Tom Burke, Doug Coombs, and Craig Kelly were my heroes growing up. Pretty quickly I found myself standing next to them in the mountains. They taught me a ton and I’m trying to pass that on to future generations.
You are also noted for being committed to skinning into the places you ride. Do you find the journey to the lines as satisfying as riding the lines?
For sure, the journey is the part I like. But even how I get to the line is a bonus, because the time in the mountains is the real reward. Snowboarding is part of it, but being out there is the biggest part of the experience.
What prompted you to begin skinning in so committed?
The “split pow” approach has really opened the world’s mountains to me. Helicopters and snowmobiles are limited. I can walk anywhere I want to go. It felt like I had ridden a lot of the terrain, but as soon as I bailed on machines, I found out how much I could still do.
For your film “Deeper” you went through some pretty hairy trials. Was the experience a game-changer for you?
No, I’ve been involved in over 50 movies, so it was an evolution and a new challenge. It was difficult to make, but the biggest surprise of the whole thing was how well it was received. More than just split-boarders liked the film.
So what does the future of split-boarding look like?
I think it will continue to evolve and in fact that is why I call my board the “Solution” — it really does solve a lot of problems for boarders. We’ll see more people embrace it and get further into the backcountry.
You have a signature line of clothing from O’Neill apparel line called the “Explore Series.” How does the line fill a niche for guys like you, the split-boarding, exploring crowd?
I’ve worked with O’Neill for over 10 years on a variety of different things. 100% of the line came from my knowledge of a lifetime spent in the mountains. It’s from having an intimate knowledge of cuts, material and everything.
What features did you insist on in the Explore Series?
Materials were very important. The Series is made of recycled material, and it blew me away because it was something I asked for and assumed that I could not get with all the needs I had. I didn’t think they could achieve my desired outcome, but they did.
Can you give me a quick bio on your climate change awareness and education foundation P.O.W. (Protect Our Winters) and what it means to you?
It’s something that I started a few years ago because I’d seen a change in the mountains. As someone with a voice in the snowboard community, I felt like I needed to lead the charge. We’re the ones out there every day and we need to protect our playground and our winters.
—T.C. Worley is a contributing editor.