While almost every other snowboarder was using a helicopter to access big mountains, Jeremy Jones was using his own two feet to get there—and took the sport in a whole new direction in the process. In partnership with his brother Steve Jones's media house, Teton Gravity Research, Jeremy's backcountry expeditions became the subject of three critically acclaimed films—Deeper, Further, and Higher—that popularized the splitboarding movement. Now Jeremy has a new book called No Words for the Way Down, released yesterday from Teton Gravity Research and Funny Feelings. It's an in-depth look at the making of those films over six years.
The splitboard is a snowboard that can be separated into two pieces and worn like skis to tour the backcountry. Its development opened a world of meccas like the Japanese Alps, the Sierra Nevada Range, and other remote areas that were inaccessible by helicopter and snowmobile. No Words for the Way Down follows Jones and his fellow snowboarders through crowded airports, inside windy tents, and to the tops of mountains that no man or woman had stood on before. It also details the fears, hopes, and aspirations of Jones, now 40, as he pioneered a new movement in big-mountain exploration. Several two-page spreads are filled with photographs of nothing more than Jones's journals.
"There was so much we couldn't fit into the films," Jones said of the journal entries, notes, and drawings made in the course of his pursuits. Off the mountain, while producing the films in the lab, these materials were invaluable. "We used my personal journals as a reference point when we'd get stuck."
Part of Jones's motivation to publish No Words for the Way Down was to give due credit to the TGR photographers and their years of service making the films. As successful as all three films were, he wanted to publish the still images in high resolution print, and so the book features previously unreleased photographs from the likes of Adam Clark, Chris Figenshau, Tero Repo, and Abe Blair. Not only does the story shed light on an individual who made lasting changes in the sport, it's a book that's suitable for every coffee table in the country.
"We wanted to show the photos and the words written in the tent along the way," Jones said. "I really enjoyed the book process. I value writing and as a person I love books." Some of Jones's favorite reads that inspired him while writing are Deep by Porter Fox, A Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela, and Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers.
No Words for the Way Down is the first book published by Teton Gravity Research. "This was a totally new experience," Jones said. "If the opportunity comes up again, I'd love to do it again."
For now, though, Jones's next project is still in the works.
"I'm kicking around ideas about new content, films. I enjoy the creation process," he said. "There will be more."No Words for the Way Down is available on TetonGravity.com and in snowsports shops around the world for $59.99.