"Jeremy Jones is an alien. He's just inhumanly good at snowboarding." So lives the legend of this pioneering big-mountain rider. We heard this comment this week from an Alaska-based ski/snowboarding operator, but the sentiment is one that rings throughout the snowboarding world.
Once a pro rider hitting a different big-mountain location every week, Jones's ethos have evolved over the years. Instead of heli-assisted first descents, he now prefers to go the old-fashioned way—on foot or splitboard. "The reality with going on foot is that it can take days to go do one run. It’s definitely a quality over quantity deal," he says. His film trilogy Deeper is aimed to show that you can do world-class freeriding without a helicopter. Further, part two due out September 2012, shows some of the best riders exploring the backcountry the slow way, which makes for a more a richer, more personal snowboarding film.
This falls right in line with Protect Our Winters (POW), a foundation Jones started in 2007 to unite the snow-sports industry and fans to fight climate change. With 30,000 members and some of our favorite athletes as ambassadors, Protect Our Winters is taking their message to the classroom and to Congress.
To kick off skiing and snowboarding season, we caught up with Jones to find out the latest on POW, what it's like to talk to Congress about climate change, and his favorite places to ride. —Mary Anne Potts
Become a Protect Our Winters Member:
This year, Alamos Wines is spreading the love by gifting 1,000 people with yearlong POW memberships. The winery is getting involved because it relies heavily on the snowmelt from the Andes to irrigate its vineyards. Simply register on protectourwinters.org. Your fee will be waived by entering the codeword ALAMOS.
Adventure: What’s going on with Protect Our Winters right now?
Jeremy Jones: The foundation continues to strengthen and grow. We're becoming more educated in doing our job better and making sure that each dollar raised goes as far as possible.
This fall we have been busy with a Hot Planet, Cool Athlete tour, where we take professional athletes into high schools with a scientist. We have this really hip, upbeat presentation on the state of the planet and climate change. We break it down for them and explain ways that they can help. The in-school stuff is the most rewarding, uplifting thing we do at Protect Our Winters because it gives us a level of hope to see the next generation really rise to the challenge of climate change. They really want to make a difference—and they are not accepting defeat like some of the older generations.
A: What's it like to talk to Congress about climate change? Are there any skiers or snowboarders among our elected officials?
Jeremy: Well, there aren’t any snowboarders in Congress. But I have met some die-hard skiers...and general mountain climbers and outdoor enthusiasts. When we go to Congress, sometimes we meet with full champions on climate change who are really excited that we are there. They realize that they need our help, really. Although I would say the discussion on climate has gone the wrong way on Capitol Hill over the last couple years. But there’s hope on Capitol Hill that the ship will be righted and we can start feeling positively.