Photos By: Jeff Hawe / Photos By: Seth Lightcap    
   
 

Bomb Snow: Snowboarding has changed a lot over the past ten years. Where’s it headed?

Jeremy Jones: With snowboarding, we’ve had this big decline. A lot of it has been negative, but some positive stuff has come out of it too. It’s made the sport smaller-- the riffraff has gone away. It’s not just this fad sport. If you see a snowboarder in line now, they’re probably pretty damn into it. They aren’t there because they’re trying to look cool or what have you; which used to make up your average snowboarder.
     
That snowboarder ten years ago used to snowboard like three days a year and would buy a new kit every year. That customer is gone, and that’s what’s largely crushed the snowboarding industry. Because the 30-100 day rider, who has always been there, is still there and as the sport shrunk, now people are like: “Oh.” I mean, no one used to make a snowboard for the 100-day-a-year rider.

BS: WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE THE SNOWBOARD INDUSTRY?
JJ: It’s going to be smaller. Bigger is not better; it’s clear.
     
And the problem is a lot of companies have a hard time accepting that. If you’re with these mega-publicly-traded companies and go: “Hey, you know what? I know we were selling twice as many boards five years ago, but we may never get back to that again.” You can’t say that in the boardroom. That is not a cool statement.

Illustration by Mark Kowalchuk, / artschoolskateboards.com

Launch time. Wrangell St Elias National Park AK, photo by Jeff Hawe

“Hey, you know what? I know we were selling twice as many boards five years ago, but we may never get back to that again.” You can’t say that in the boardroom. That is not a cool statement.

BS: SO WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE?
JJ: People are resistant to the change, but it’s happening, so you can do whatever you want. It’s still this great industry that’s a hell of a lot bigger than I ever thought it would be when I started.

Understand who you’re supporting when you buy stuff. Especially in the snowboard industry, which is a pretty passionate, core industry.
I just think the days of, I call them plunderers, where they just came into the industry and tried to take, take, take, are over. There’s just no room for that. There are so many smaller companies doing great stuff.

And it’s not all: “big companies are bad”, but it’s pretty obvious who the takers are.

BS: WE HEARD YOU LOOK UP TO GERRY LOPEZ. HE'S THE MOST BADASS HUMBLE SURFER.
JJ: Gerry, I put him in that kind of spiritual mentor category, in the sense of watching him live his life. I like his whole attitude, really, and his grace under pressure. I’ve met Gerry a couple times but I haven’t had much direct influence [from him]. But as a kid growing up, you knew Lopez was the guy. He handles really heavy situations with ease. And he’s a fellow goofy-footer.

BS: WHO ELSE?
JJ: Well, I guess when it comes to mountains; I try and learn from everyone. And I’ve been around some great people in the mountains. But some of the bigger ones kinda cut their teeth at Bridger. Guys like Jim Conway, Doug Coombs, the Hatchett brothers (Mike and Dave), Tom Burt, and Jim Zellers.

And then I’ve got these guys in my town that are in their 50s, 60s, and getting into their 70s that I go out with. I learn a lot from them. Like Glen Paulson, being one of them. When I’m with them I ask a lot of questions. And that’s not just in the mountains. That’s in life, too.

BS: WHAT DO YOU ASK THEM?
JJ: It’s more just really studying them. I mean, I was around Rudy Hamburger, they call him Hamby; he’s like 72. That guy’s still climbing un-named peaks in Alaska. I’m just like: “What’s the word? What are you doing? I wanna be 72.” He’s like this gentle European dude who eats right, and never stopped.

BS: PROBABLY DOES YOGA, TOO.
JJ: Gerry’s the yoga freak.

BS: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOME OF US WHO LIKE TO GO TOURING? ESPECIALLY WITH THE WEATHER BEING SO HIT OR MISS THESE DAYS.
JJ: Well, patience for one. It’s always really sad when I hear about people getting caught in avalanches in November, December and January. In a place like here (Montana) I’m not as up on your timing, but I’m sure there are certain months out of the year that are a total no-go.

But that doesn’t mean that May and June will be all-time either. There are absolute times when you should not be in avalanche terrain. Accept that, and don’t try to outsmart the mountain.

When it’s right, it’s time to leave nothing behind. Be locked into the mountains enough to know that ‘this is happening, and now’s the time to send’. And maybe that doesn’t come along that year. Be comfortable if it doesn’t.

And don’t be afraid to take those pow surfers (points to a couple boards in our office) out in your neighborhood. I find myself forgoing some of the awesome, two-foot, sunny, best powder days of the year at the resort, and going to a neighborhood. I’m coming back with the biggest smile, being like: “Should I be having this much fun?”

I find myself forgoing some of the awesome, two-foot, sunny, best powder days of the year at the resort, and going to a neighborhood. I’m coming back with the biggest smile, being like: “Should I be having this much fun?”

The Spine-master in his element, photo by Jeff Hawe.

BS: HOW DO YOU STAY ACTIVE WHILE WORKING?
JJ: I try to get exercise by doing really fun things. I will do these, like, 20-minute circuits, and core and explosive workouts at my house. But I would say that 80% of my exercise is biking, climbing, and surfing. I’m kind of allergic to gyms.

Like the goal with snowboarding; it’s always been to be able to go and play everyday. And that’s still the goal today.

BS: YEAH, THAT'S GOOD. THAT'S OUR GOAL TOO, BUT WE PROBABLY SPEND TOO MUCH TIME AT OUR DESKS.
JJ: Don’t get me wrong. I definitely sit in front of my computer a ton and I’m on my phone a ton too. So, what I’ve done is I have the five-minute, ten-minute, twenty-five minute, and hour workouts. Well, not workouts, but activities out of my house. On those days I just can’t get away, I’ll slack line. So at the very least, when I’m just stuck, I’ll go slack line for like five minutes.

And then my ten-minute hit is to grab my skateboard-- I call it “skateboard touring”. I’ll like, run through the woods to the top of the hill, and skate back to my house.I  hate running, but I don’t push uphill anymore. It’s bad for your hips.

BS: WHAT DO YOU EAT WHILE TOURING?
JJ: On the hard day trips, it’s all about Shot Bloks. If it’s, like, summit day on Denali, I don’t bring real food. They keep me going, I know I can digest them, and I eat a ton of them.

On the contrary, if I know it’s like a three or four-hour day, then I’m bringing all real food to balance out those days when it’s just packaged food. And pistachios, I love pistachios.

I’m sure you guys have to drive to your trailhead too. So when you do these huge days, having recovery food right away at the car, as opposed to having to drive an hour before you do have something is really important if you want to wake up and do another big day.

My ten-minute hit is to grab my skateboard- I call it “skateboard touring”. I’ll run through the woods to the top of the hill, and skate back to my house. I hate running, but I don’t push uphill anymore. It’s bad for your hips.

Deep in the Sierras, photo by Seth Lightcap

BS: SOME PEOPLE CAN'T MAKE UP THEIR MIND ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE BEING REAL. HOW DO WE GET OVER THAT?
JJ: More people believe it’s real than don’t. We’re at 50 million people in the US alone. So, we kind of focus on those 50 million people. If I, or USA today, or Bloomberg, or all these scientists from NASA and NOAA whose whole deal is to study the climate can’t win that other person over…I don’t have the magic word for them. On that front, you can’t argue that polluting and bad air isn’t bad for people. I mean what is the downside for renewable energy?

The other thing is, we focus on kids a lot. We’ve talked to 20,000 school kids as of today. They’re growing up with this problem. They’re way more up for the challenge.

BS: HOW DO WE GET THE WORD OUT?
JJ: It seems like this little thing, but you also have to be educated on what’s at stake during midterm elections.

We just did this momentum film in the Northwest about stopping coal exports out of the Powder River Basin. Oregon just turned down one of the proposed ports, so that’s a little win.

When we go to Washington, the more people we have supporting us, the more we can do. We have been very effective; like now, we work close with the White House. They’ve been really impressed with the work we’ve been able to do on social media. They had a deal where they were trying to get the EPA to uphold the emissions [standards] of power plants. A week before they launched that, they came to us. They said: “Here’s the deal: can you act on #climate?” We reached out to our riders alliance, and it went super viral. It was something like twelve million impressions. They called back that night, and were like: “Oh my…we could have never done that.”

If I, or USA today, or Bloomberg, or all these scientists from NASA and NOAA whose whole deal is to study the climate can’t win that other person over…I don’t have the magic word for them.

Sluff Management at it's finest, photo by Jeff Hawe

BS: YOU GUYS WERE SNOWED ON FOR A WEEK STRAIGHT IN ALASKA (DURING HIGHER)?
JJ: You’ll see, if you follow the days closely, we got there and we had some wind. Not a lot of wind, but enough to transform all the steeps into unrideable ice. By day three, everything over 40 degrees was unrideable. Basically, as far as a movie perspective, the movie part was a bust. We focused on these long, rolling fun cruiser lines. We rode that for a week and hardly even shot. We were like: “Well, let’s just shoot the AK shut down.”

It was like eight-days-in, and we just got clobbered by this kind of unforecasted storm. We got forecasts from a weather guy in Alaska and he was like, “Yeah, you might get some light wind and precip”.

I guess I’d hate to see a storm there with heavy wind and precip’ forecasted, because that storm just kicked our ass! It wasn’t ’til, like, day 18 when we woke from that storm. We were like “Holy shit, dude, this might be rideable! That was what I call the miracle in the Alaska Range.

BS: NOW THAT YOU'VE FINISHED THE TRILOGY, DO YOU SEE YOURSELF TAKING IT (SNOWBOARDING) TO THE SAME LEVEL YOU HAVE BEEN?
JJ: I’m really fired up on some of the film stuff because it opens up some doors, like going to the Himalayas. But also, there’s a lot of stuff in the US that would be a pain in the ass to film that I’m really excited to go ride.

Like bigger mountains, bigger lines that I could go do that wouldn’t translate well on film, and would be much more fun to go do without a film crew. I mean 80% of my snowboarding in the past six years has been not in front of a camera. I ride a ton away from the camera.

Next year, I’m doing a foot-powered trip with Travis Rice in April, and I won’t ride in front of a camera ‘til then. That’s kinda how I’ve been doing it. I really enjoy not snowboarding in front of a camera!


Photos BY: Jeff Hawe


Photos BY: Seth Lightcap

   
   
 

COMMENTS

More From Bomb Snow