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3 things backcountry icon Jeremy Jones won’t snowboard without

By: : September 27, 2013

We recently sat down with APG Athlete Ambassador Jeremy Jones to learn about what motivates and fuels him in the backcountry. Always on the move, Jeremy is currently exploring the Nepalese high mountains and backcountry while filming his upcoming movie, Higher.

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There's only one guy left for snowboarder Jeremy Jones to beat.

The 38-year-old rider has conquered you-fall-you-die backcountry lines from Alaska to Antarctica, he was recently named a National Geographic "Adventurer of the Year," and he's been Snowboarder Magazine's Big Mountain Rider of the Year a record 10 times.

You could call him the Michael Jordan of snowboarding, but it'd probably make more sense to call Michael Jordan the Jeremy Jones of basketball. Even his fellow big-mountain riders have a hard time wrapping their minds around Jeremy's achievements.

The one person left for Jeremy to best is himself, and these days, he's even doing a pretty good job of that.

"I would destroy the 25-year-old version of me in the mountains," says Jeremy, who lives in Truckee, Calif., with his wife and two kids. "He wouldn't last long at all."

Closing in on 40, Jeremy is going bigger than ever. And whether he's riding the Sierra Nevadas right in his backyard or the Himalayas across the globe, these three things are among the reasons why.

1. A splitboard

In the '90s and early 2000s, Jeremy scaled mountains like most big-time backcountry snowboarders do: via helicopter. But he soon started thinking that snowboarding is about more than doing laps on the world’s most challenging peaks.

“It’d be the best day of the year,” he told The New York Times, “and I’m standing on top of the best line in the best heli zone in the world, and I realize that I’m riding it for the third time and it’s already been in multiple movies and magazines. Where’s the progression or adventure in that?”

Splitboards were the answer. A splitboard is a snowboard that separates lengthwise into two halves that can be used as alpine touring skis. Jeremy dumped the heli scene, founded Jones Snowboards and started earning his no-room-for-error turns. Now, he can go where no heli has gone before, and the climbing has helped him evolve as an athlete.

"Splitboarding has opened up new worlds to me," he says. "There's so much new terrain. And the movement is probably the lowest-impact exercise I do, so I'm in better shape now than I've ever been. When I was 25, I used to end the season beat up. Now, I end the season feeling better than when I started."

2. Power food

It's common for Jeremy's ascents to take 8 to 12 hours. Then comes the hard part. Without the proper fuel, neither the trip up nor the trip down would happen.

"Nutrition makes or breaks what I'm doing in the mountains," he says. "From the minute I wake up to the minute I go to bed, I'm very conscious of what I eat. And when we're really hammering, I'm constantly eating and drinking."

Jeremy starts his days with a combination of proteins and heavy carbohydrates. On the mountain, he relies on gels, bars and other easily digestible – and easily packed – power foods.

At the end of every adventure, pistachios help kick off Jeremy's recovery.

"You've got about a 30-minute window to really replenish your body," he says. "Getting pistachios in my system right away is Step 1 of my recovery. And after all those gels and bars, the last thing I want is something sweet, so pistachios are the perfect post-ride food. I always have a few packs with me."

3. Avalanche gear

It'd be easy to paint Jeremy as a reckless adrenaline junky, but it'd be wrong. He's incredibly patient and egoless when he's planning his next line.

"I was probably 18 when I lost my first friend to the mountains, so I've always known the risks," he says. "For certain lines, I've waited years before the right combination of weather, snow and avalanche stability comes together."

But even then, there are no guarantees. Avalanche beacons, shovels and probes are musts. And a snow-safety expert – focused on snowpack and potential rescues – is always a part of Jeremy's team.

"It's really complex going into these mountains and safely riding them," Jeremy says in "Further," the second film in his big-mountain trilogy. "And with that complexity comes a ton of anxiety, a lot more fear. … Understanding all of the logistics: how we're going to get to the top safely, reading avalanche conditions, picking the right weather window … all that stuff is critical to getting to the bottom and making it back home."

Links

National Geographic: 2013 Adventurers of the Year, The Snowboarder, Jeremy Jones, http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/adventurers-of-the-yea...

Snowboarder Magazine: [Link to homepage. Site does not post all print content], http://www.snowboardermag.com/

New York Times: A Soft Spoken Snowboarder Blazes Icy Trails, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/sports/a-soft-spoken-snowboarder-blaze...

Jones Snowboards: http://jonessnowboards.com/

Teton Gravity Research: Further, http://www.tetongravity.com/films/jeremy-jones-further/