by Seth Lightcap. posted on 15 July
DEEPER was one of the first snowboard movies ever made using a plane dropped base camp in the Alaskan wilderness. In 2009 and 2010, Jeremy and the DEEPER crew spent a month camped out on a glacier hiking and riding lines. Living on a glacier allows the ultimate flexibility to shred within a small weather window, but it also means riding out bad weather (or sheer exhaustion) hanging out in camp. So what’s life like killing time in tent city? Here’s a photo gallery detailing some of the down day activities of the 2010 DEEPER expedition to the Fairweather Range inside Glacier Bay National Park.
Photos By Seth Lightcap
The first few days around camp half your waking thoughts are spent soaking in the awe of your surroundings. Here’s Josh Dirksen acknowledging fantasy is indeed reality with a double shaka.
Dinner time is prime time for group meetings. Better decisions are made when warm and well-fed then when cold and hungry.
Nope, Jeremy Jones and Tom Burt aren’t updating their status or posting a killer ’gram. The cameras come out after dinner and the next day’s riding plans are discussed based on inspection of recon photos taken that day
One lucky night we were treated to some after dinner entertainment in the sky - a Northern Lights show.
C’mon Yahtzee! This dice game was the favorite ’camp sport’. Rolling five-of-a-kind generated serious stoke all trip long.
The water factory fired up every morning and evening. Melting snow to make water was a daily chore we all helped with.
Hours upon hours were spent digging out our tents during and after storms. One major storm mid-way through the trip dumped 3+ feet and demanded that we unstake our tents, pull them from their cavernous holes and set them up on the new base level of the snowpack. In this pic you can see Tom Burt was the first to make the move to higher ground.
With ten dudes and only one bathroom there was occasionally a line. A frozen toilet seat guaranteed you never waited long though. All human waste was collected and flown out.
Not much time was spent repairing boards. Nobody damaged any boards other than Lucas Debari who hit a hidden ice chunk on a high speed run out and sent this board straight to the grave.
No matter how epic, it’s easy for the memories to blur on a month long trip. Jeremy and most others wrote and sketched in journals to keep the day’s events crystal clear.
Weeks of sleeping on a camping pad left a lot of us with a tender back. A self-massage session with the Thera-cane was essential daily therapy.
Drying boots and gloves was a tricky task that often had mixed results. Towards the end of the trip Ryland Bell’s rank and permanently wet boots demanded emergency measures be taken.
Chess was another favorite camp pastime.Tom and Jeremy spent many a storm day playing successive rounds.
If you were too tired for chess or bored of Yahtzee, you could always play Parcheesi. The classic board game is all luck so jinxing your partners roll was as good a strategy as any.
Partying and waking up at 4am to start hiking don’t mix well but camp life was too good not to celebrate it now and again. This beer run was met with unanimous approval.
by Seth Lightcap. posted on 2 July
Story and Photos By Jeremy Jones
The first DEEPER AK basecamp in 2009
DEEPER will always be the film I am most proud of. After filming dozens of movies using helicopters and snowmobiles, the thought of giving up my primary means of access to film DEEPER on foot left me with a lot of anxiety.
At first the goal was just to do one foot-powered glacier trip in Alaska that would be featured in a traditional snowboard movie. The two years before DEEPER this glacier basecamp was the trip I was most looking forward to each winter. Sadly, the much anticipated plans never worked out. The film crew I was working with at that time was not down with it. Sunny days in Alaska were too precious and too few and far between to spend time setting up and living out of a remote basecamp. There was also the thought that filming movie quality lines with a heli was hard enough. Filming from a basecamp on a glacier sounded foolishly improbable to many people. How would we charge batteries? Will our lenses fog up camping on the glacier? How will we climb over bergschrunds? I didn’t have answers to any of these questions yet, but I was sure expedition filming like this could be done.
Scouting for potential camp locations on a recon flight with Drake Olson.
When I finally made what felt like this career ending jump off a cliff I was at the prime of my career doing the best snowboarding I had ever done. I think a lot of people thought I was crazy and maybe taking the eco thing too far. What they didn’t realize is that the main reason I wanted to forgo machines is because we were very limited by the boundaries of where we could take those machines. My goal wasn’t to make a hippy split board movie. The goal was to ride the best lines of my life on the world’s most magnificent, untouched peaks and continue the progression of challenging myself as a rider.
In 2006 I met Chris Edmands while filming for his groundbreaking movie ’My Own Two Feet’. Chris is a long-time snowboard filmer who felt the same call of the wild I did and decided to act on it. ’My Own Two Feet’ was the first 100% foot-powered snowboard film. Working on MOTF made me realize that if I wanted to keep pushing the limits of filming foot-powered freeriding I was going to have to start my own project. I had never wanted to organize my own film project before but now it felt like the only answer to achieve my snowboard dreams.
Chris Edmands in Glacier Bay AK tent city.
In 2008 I started filming DEEPER with Chris as the lead cinematographer. Raising a film budget was especially hard the first year so we kept it local and shot most of the winter in the Sierra. Shooting in the Sierra went well, but the big test was still to come. The basecamp trip to Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska was finally going to happen.
As we got closer to the AK trip the stress grew. We were staying in the same hotel as the TGR heli crew, and after a week of bad weather, the skies finally cleared. I watched as the TGR heli crew filed out. Chances were good that they would be standing on top of their first line of the day in less than an hour. Our crew would be lucky to make it to camp that day.
By 11am I was flying through the heli zone in Haines, but this time inside a single-prop plane, not a heli. We passed Dr. Seuss, Hotel Room, Tomahawk and Brothel, all epic lines that were in perfect shape. "Am I crazy? What am I doing?," I thought to myself as I saw tracks from the TGR and Absinthe crew’s morning session written on some of the best lines in the range. Thankfully, the worry wouldn’t last long.
Enroute to basecamp with Tom Burt, Chris Edmands, Travis Rice and Johan Olofsson.
All anxiety vanished as I crossed from the explored to the unexplored. We flew for another 50 miles passing unnamed peak after unnamed peak before landing on the edge of Alaska. Just like that, the thought of needing a helicopter vanished from my brain. Everything made sense. The silence, freedom and excitement that hit as I watched the plane drift into the horizon was as enormous as the landscape I now called home. This was exactly where I was supposed to be. That evening, with camp set and the mountains turning pink, we roped up on a glacier for the first time in my life and skinned up to a low saddle. Looking over camp and our new playground the silence was broken by Jonaven Moore, "This is the coolest thing I have ever done." I couldn’t have agreed more.
Alpenglow touring on the glacier.
We had no idea what we were in for. The plan was to session the forecasted five-day weather window and then move to a new location or even head back to town. To be on the safe side we brought ten days of food. Little did we know we were in for a 25-day trip and over 15 days of bad weather. The riding was good right out of the gate, and we rode some amazing terrain in those first few weeks, but it was not until day 23 that I got on what I would consider a heli-level "trophy line". Two days before breaking camp I climbed and rode a line that I named "McConkey’s" in honor of the recently fallen Shane McConkey.
Mt.McConkey standing proud above camp.
Flying off the glacier at the end of that trip it was official - the dream had changed. For the past decade the dream had been to spend as much time as possible in a helicopter. The new dream was to hike everything I rode and return to a tent at the end of the day, not a hotel room.
As it turned out, the new dream was much harder to achieve. It required cold, dark, pre-dawn starts and riding lines with frozen feet and heavier backpacks. It also required a lot more time. The tradeoff was that the rewards of the new dream were a lot more fulfilling and it cost a lot less money to make a film on foot.
That first trip into Glacier Bay National Park would be a pinnacle moment in my snowboarding career. Right up there with my first time on a board, the first day my local resort allowed snowboarding, my first tram laps in Jackson Hole and my first run in AK. But the real significance of that first AK basecamp trip was not the lines I rode on that trip. The significance was how it affected my future and how drastically it changed my perspective on what was possible in the mountains. All boundaries disappeared, the options became endless and there was no place in the world that was too hard to get to.
A huge thanks to the first DEEPER AK crew who believed in the mission as much as I did: Travis Rice, Jonaven Moore, Tom Burt, Johan Olofsson, Chris Edmands, Dan Milner, Garry Pendygrasse and pilot Drake Olson for delivering us to the promise land.
by Seth Lightcap. posted on 20 June
Bariloche, Argentina is one of the most incredible mountain towns on earth. If shredding the Andes in Bariloche is not near the top of your bucket list, it’s time to adjust that list. Like Chamonix, Jackson Hole or Lake Tahoe, the mountains rise straight off the city streets in Bariloche and the shred potential of the surrounding peaks is truly endless when the snow conditions line up.
Jones Ambassador Guide Chris Coulter spends every August riding in Bariloche working for SASS Global Travel. SASS offers 8-35 day snowboarding camps that include splitboarding sessions with Coulter in radical backcountry zones.
Here’s the lowdown from Coulter as to why you should join him in Bariloche this summer with SASS:
Coulter rips a line in the Bariloche backcountry. Photo - Ben Girardi/SGT
Spending August in Bariloche working with SASS Global Travel at Cerro Cathedral has become a constant point in my triangle of riding during the year. How could it not be? It’s a great traveling experience for a snowboarder to go to a foreign land in search of adventure and nothing beats riding pow in August!
Argentinian Asado’s (BBQ parties) are legendary.
The mountains around Bariloche offer a wide range of terrain and riding opportunities. Granite spires rise up off the ridges and offer a Mordor / Castle of Greyskull vibe to the mountains. There is truly something for all riders here - great alpine bowls and couloirs that pour into some of the most enchanted tree runs ever. We even have a park for extended high pressure periods. The SASS basecamp is also right on the mountain so we are in pole position to get the goods.
Refugio Frey is just outside the boundaries of Cerro Cathedral resort and surrounded by a cirque of insane couloirs.
SASS is a guided backcountry experience that emphasizes avalanche awareness and helps advanced riders push themselves. Whether you want to splitboard in the backcountry, spin laps at the resort or build backcountry jumps, SASS is for you. We ride it all on our courses.
SASS Argentina has been in operation for the past decade. We know these mountains like no one else and our guide staff and crew of pro coaches is there to put you in the right place at the right time. We love sharing this experience with our clients and friends. The all-star staff leads small groups of like-minded clients of similar ability all over the mountains every day during the month of August.
SASS Argentina makes a point to emphasize avalanche education at every opportunity. Both US and Canadian avalanche courses are available and offer you the ability to gain experience using the Andes as your classroom. Your lodging, food, airport transfers, lift tickets and guiding are all included. Group rate airfare discounts are also available to get you to Argentina for less.
Program runs from Aug. 2nd - Sept 6th. Sessions starting at $2,595 (USD). Click here for more info and don’t hesitate to contact SASS for more info.
Thanks hope to see you in Argentina!
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