New Snowboarding Film Redeﬁnes Radical In The Backcountry
By Seth Lightcap
In 2010, pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones took us “Deeper” into the wilds of Alaska, the heart of the Alps, and the steeps of Antarctica with the release of the ﬁ rst chapter of his backcountry snowboarding movie trilogy, Deeper Further Higher. Now the big mountain snowboarding pioneer is back on the silver screen with the recent debut of Further, his second signature ﬁ lm with Teton Gravity Research.
Where Deeper and its “hike every line you ride” message was groundbreaking for the ski and snowboard ﬁ lm industry, Further is all that plus more. “With Deeper I explored mountain ranges that I knew pretty well,” said Jones. “With Further I checked-out ranges that I knew very little about.”
Jones and the crew are still earning every turn in Further, but the “gnar knob” got turned way up. With a faster pace and better focus on the ridiculous ascents that unlock the jaw-dropping descents, Further is not just a claim, it’s a fact. Jones took it to the next level with this new movie.
Further will light a ﬁ re under the feet of any backcountry explorer, whether aspiring or experienced, as each of it’s four chapters showcase the magic of venturing into the wilderness searching for the unknown. Using splitboards as their primary mode of transportation, the Further crew travels deep into remote mountain ranges in Japan, Austria, Norway and Alaska. Adventure Sports Journal caught up with Jones to talk about the inspiration behind each trip, and the highlights of ﬁ lming the two-year project.
The ﬁrst chapter of Further follows Jones’ travels to one of the snowiest places on earth, the Kita Alps of Japan.
“I saw a video a couple years back of a guy riding this insane alpine face in Japan,” Jones said. “I had never imagined terrain like this existed in Japan and I had not seen any other footage from there since. So when Japan had a big winter in 2011 (it) became an ideal location to start ﬁlming Further.”
Jones brought veteran backcountry snowboarders Josh Dirksen and Forrest Shearer along for the ride. The trio explored the jagged peaks above the town of Hakuba, mobbing through hip deep “Ja’Pow” and battling gale force winds to make it happen. The Cat Face of Kaerazu No-Ken (the mountain of no return) became their main objective. The steep ﬂ uted face rejected their ﬁ rst approach and forced the group to retreat to a high alpine shelter. When the winds subsided, the group got after it again but the push to ride the Cat Face was not without peril. One of the most dramatic scenes of the ﬁ lm goes down on this face as the TGR cameras catch a couple breath taking moments that will surely stoke future Kaerazu No-Ken shredders.
The second chapter of Further delivers the epic tale of a trip Jones undertook in April 2011. Jones connected with legendary freestyle snowboarder Terje Haakonsen for an expedition to Svalbard, a mountainous island in the Arctic Circle above Norway. The pair of shred pioneers spent three weeks camped out on a glacier ripping lines they had climbed.
The trip marked a lot of ﬁrsts. It was the ﬁ rst time the two had ridden together, it was the ﬁ rst time Terje had ever been splitboarding, and as you can imagine, some heavy ﬁ rst descents went down.
“I had heard rumours of this island with really good steeps that were really close together with ﬂ at runouts. Turned out it was all true and then some,” said Jones. “Svalbard has amazing terrain, twenty-four hour sunlight, and the maritime snow sticks to the mountains making for a relatively safe avy-cycle.”
The footage of Jones and Terje riding lines one after another is the stuff snowboard porn dreams are made of. Likewise, Jones was in awe of Terje’s natural abilities in the mountains
“Terje is an insane athlete,” said Jones. “He had never been splitboarding, nor had he climbed with an ice axe or crampons, but he was running around the mountains and charging lines in no time. He’s hands down one of the best snowboarders to ever strap in.”
The third chapter of Further takes a look at a unique splitboard expedition to the Karwendel Range above the Austrian city of Innsbruck. Despite it’s proximity to a major metropolis, this slice of the Northern Limestone Alps sees virtually zero trafﬁ c in the winter.
For this frigid cold February 2012 mission Jones is joined by local Austrian freeriders Mitch Tölderer and Bibi Pekarek. The crew braves a record cold snap to bag multiple ﬁ rst descents.
“We rode a lot of ﬁ rst descents on this trip and it wasn’t because we were way out in the middle of nowhere,” said Jones. “It’s just an example of the acreage of incredible terrain in the Alps. It’s mind-blowing.”
The long approach into the heart of the Karwendel range meant the Further crew had to tow in sleds loaded with their gear. A little extra hufﬁ ng and pufﬁ ng upslope kept them moving and helped them battle off the below zero temps.
“You could pour water in your water bottle and then watch it freeze in front of your eyes,” said Jones. “It was unrelenting cold.”
By ﬁghting off frostbite and an avalanche, Pekarek became the ﬁ rst female rider to appear in one of Jones’ signature movies.
“I wasn’t hellbent on ﬁ nding a female rider, just to have a female rider,” said Jones. “Bibi was a natural addition because she belonged on the trip. She’s super ﬁ t and a huge asset in the mountains. She helped put in as many skin tracks and boot packs as I did and delivered Grade A action shots. I’m really excited to have her in the ﬁlm.”
Further arguably saves the best chapter for last. The ﬁ lm ﬁ nishes up in the Wrangell St. Elias range of Alaska. Jones and young guns Ryland Bell and Lucas Debari venture out for a month long basecamp amongst the man-eating mountain faces and glacial ice of the Wrangells. The gravity of the lines left Jones the most gripped he’d been during the entire two-year project.
“The exposure of the lines we climbed in the Wrangells deﬁ nitely passed my comfort level in the mountains,” said Jones. “Especially the last line I ride in the movie, the Space Needle. Climbing and riding that line kept me in the danger zone a lot longer than I expected.”
Watching Jones, Bell and Debari bootpack up skyscraper steep faces hanging above massive bergshrunds will make the audience sweat. The riders don’t hide that they are scared, but when you see them rip down you’d think they had ice in their veins. Even when faced with a huge, risky jump, all three charged the drop like they were jumping cliffs under the chairlift.