The Secret Backcountry Life Of Jeremy Jones

I met Jeremy Jones while I was living in Utah in the mid 90s. He and his buddy JP Walker were always out building jumps in the backcountry behind Brighton resort without a filmer or photographer-just having fun.
Today, Jeremy is more known for his rail riding in the city and filming huge technical jumps with MDP. This year, Jeremy and I hooked up on a pretty sick day in Tahoe. I took him out to some of my favorite backcountry spots and asked him a few questions.-Dave Downing

D. Downing: If you only had one day left in your life to snowboard-would you slide rails in Salt Lake or go ride powder?
J. Jones: I’d go heli boarding with my friends, for sure! Hitting rails is how I’ve contributed to the progression of this sport, and that’s what I do when I’m filming my video part … but the best sensation is riding powder.

I used to see you and JP building jumps in the backcountry for fun. Has your backcountry experience changed?
Back then we were just practicing and learning. Now we’re more experienced and serious. The jumps are way bigger and the decisions more calculated. It’s not simply building a small kicker and chucking off it like the old days.

Everybody sees you hitting powder kickers and doing technical tricks in your movie parts-is there another side of the backcountry experience we don’t see?
Yeah, just being out there with my crew without the crowds. Being able to take a run on an open powder field with nobody around, hitting a little drop, cracking a little ollie of a roller-that’s the stuff we don’t film, and it’s the best ever.

Where’s your favorite place to ride early season before filming starts.
Going out and hiking around Brighton-all the little stash runs that we know about, the cliffs and jumps we’ve hit for years. That’s when you get your stoke and board control back.

What have you done to prepare yourself for the backcountry?
I’ve taken CPR and avalanche transceiver classes. I check the avalanche-conditions reports every day. I’ve read up on how to survive if you’re stuck out there for a night or two.

Now that you have a family, do you consider the risks of being in the backcountry?
Yeah, I’m not really worried about risking getting hurt snowboarding-it’s the avalanches. I need to survive and come home to my family in one piece, you know?

Your pro model with Burton is a 156 and you’re six feet tall and pretty big. What’s up with that?
Well, I stepped it up (laughs)-I have a Burton 159 coming out too. It’s way more stable for landing and going fast in powder. It totally helps and gives you more confidence having a little bigger board in the backcountry.

You live in Utah, which has a pretty scary avalanche history. What do you do if you really want to ride, but the avy conditions are super sketchy?
I don’t go out-I just take runs at the ski resort.

Yes, “freestyle” Jeremy is known to get nasty in the backcountry. Photo: Jeff Curtes