Big-mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones and Teton Gravity Research have announced the release of No Words for the Way Down, a new behind-the-scenes coffee-table book documenting the six-year pursuit of backcountry splitboard lines across 15 countries on five continents that culminated in the release of a trilogy of films, Deeper, Further and Higher.
The book features Jones’ own journals, drawings and photographs, as well as the stunning work of more than a dozen photographers including Ryland Bell, Abe Blair, Jeff Curley, Adam Clark, Chris Figenshau, Seth Lightcap, Dan Milner, Tero Repo and Copi Vojta.
We caught up with Jones for more on the book and what’s next for him.
After wrapping the trilogy of films, where did the motivation to also put a book together come from?
I obviously really value film as a storytelling medium, but I love books and you use a different set of senses when you dive into a book. I really value the printed word, and I also really value photography. This is a book about this amazing six-year adventure that we also happened to make three films during, and the simple fact was we had a ton of killer photos we hadn’t done justice to yet. That was one of my original motivations.
These photographers were there suffering right alongside the cameramen, right alongside the riders, and they did such amazing work. Some of it ended up in magazines and in online galleries, which was great, but they really weren’t being shown in all their glory. There are so few guys who can keep their equipment running through these long periods of bad weather, wake up before the sun and then get out there a step ahead of us in these very extreme environments. They really got into some places with us that very few photographers in the world could get into.Each of these guys are also incredible snowboarders and incredible mountaineers in their own right, so it’s a very tight crew and they’re all superstars. When we go on a trip, 95 percent of the time we are not getting movie-worthy or magazine-worthy action. A lot of it is just gaining knowledge of the snowpack, and the way you gain that knowledge is by going out every day and snowboarding.
If you don’t enjoy that process, as a photographer or cameraman, you’re going to be miserable. If the only thing that makes you happy is movie-worthy or magazine-worthy action, then backcountry snowboarding the way we do it is not for you!
Reading through this book, I was really struck by how much your journals and drawings and marked-up photos add to the story that has already been told in the trilogy of films.
That was the stuff that, as we were going through the process of putting this book together, I was like, “Really, you want to put that in there?” That’s the stuff I was most nervous about, because I never meant for those journals to see the light of day. For me they represent the most personal parts of the whole process from the planning and execution from those trips.
I can see now how that’s their value. I look at them now and think, “Wow. I was really in a special head place,” which is what you get into in these wild places. I’m happy I put my thoughts down in that environment, because I wouldn’t have been able to capture that in the same way after the fact, sitting at a computer in my office.I’ve always kept a journal, since I was about 16, and I have stacks of filled-up journals. I love writing, drawing and taking photos, and for me it’s always really been like a therapy deal.
On these trips, it also became a way to get further into the mountains and really try to understand them: to draw them, study them, write about them, take pictures of them, stare at them really intently. For me it was all a part of getting in tune with the environment and getting into the mental space to get into these inhospitable places.
What’s next for you?
Jones Snowboards stuff has really been exciting, both from a product-development perspective — that’s why I started the company, and that’s what it’s all about — and with our team. Finally the dust is somewhat settling where I can dip my feet into a new project I’m not ready to release info on, and I also plan to do a trip with Travis Rice for his new film this season.
I just recently got back from Chile and had an amazing trip there shooting a part for the new ThirtyTwo movie 2032 , which celebrates their 20th anniversary and releases on Oct. 13. I hadn’t been in anything like that in close to eight years, and it was pretty nice to have someone else do all the legwork and just show up and go snowboarding.
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