Interview: Anna Langer
We grabbed Jeremy Jones after the last contest day of the O’Neill Big Mountain Pro 2009.
OB: Already being known as one of the best freeriders of the world, what is your motivation to still do contest such as the O’Neill Big Mountain Pro?
Jeremy: I always know that I can get better and do better stuff. Also there are so many more mountains to ride and new lines to find, all that motivates me. Finding new lines, figuring out how to ride them, waiting for a perfect day and finally getting to ride is really inspiring. I haven’t ridden one of the mountains we’ve been to in the last week and I also really enjoy it that I don’t have to organise anything on this trip (laughs).
As this year’s event is more freestyle oriented, can you also still learn stuff from the freestylers?
Yes definitely. I mean I am learning new stuff in the mountains on a daily basis and also from the freestylers I can always still learn stuff from.
Do they have a different approach to freeriding than you do?
I don’t know. The beauty with freeriding is that there’re aren’t any rules, there’s not one way to do it. You can take a mellower line in one run and a completely different one in the next. I don’t only like to do only one type of line. Even today I was actually looking at a mellower line with many rollers – although I ended up doing a completely different one (speeding down like hell, the editor). Freeriders are freeriders you know, everyone has their own way.
What do you think about Travis Rice and Jake Blauvelt from the Forum movie, who transfer freestyle into the backcountry using mainly natural features, is that the future?
I don’t know if that’s the future but that definitely makes a lot more sense to me. Like on the first day, building a park kicker in the middle of the backcountry although there are rollers and wedges everywhere, that’s pretty uncreative for me. I enjoy watching and doing more natural freestyle stuff.
Was that the reason why you didn’t take the kickers in that face at the Sonnenkopf?
Yeah, they just didn’t inspire me at all. Straight park wedges in the backcountry, that’s just not my thing. The face we rode on the second day on the other hand had a lot of freestyle opportunities.
But nobody used them.
No one did. I wasn’t close either but I had a couple of airs thinking “this would be the perfect spot if you would want spin“. But it’s still early in the year and stuff like that comes when there’s good snow later in the year. You have to the tricks really locked down if you want to do it. You can’t just fabricate freestyle in the mountains, the riders have to be on it and a lot of things have to line up. I ride with some guys who can stomp a 360 just like a straight air, but I don’t have spins locked down to that level so it would have been a big risk for me to do such tricks in a contest. It would probably have been the second time this year that I would have thrown a trick in the middle of a big line and I just wasn’t ready for that. But I kept telling the guys who just ride freestyle good spots and pointing them out to them. There were some spots where you could throw proper freestyle tricks, not just 360s.
Maybe the freestylers were a bit afraid because they didn’t want to mess up the one run they had?
Yeah, if you really want to do tricks you actually should walk on the wedge, practise the speed and everything. There is a level of freestyle out there and you’re not going to ride reach it if you throw a trick after you ripped such a long run as the face in Innsbruck. It’s still cool but it’s almost devaluing freestlye as there is so much that goes into high end freestyle. To think that you can’t look at a wedge from a thousand feet away and then pull an amazing freestyle trick is just unrealistic.
So do you think the Big Mountain Pro should be left as a pure freeride contest?
If they want freestyle in it and have more of an all mountain contest, I would change the format. Have a full backcountry freestyle day where you go out and build wedges and then give the riders the chance to hit them multiple times.
Would you still go for that?
I don’t know, it would depend on the situation. The Natural Selection for example has a freeride and a freestyle day and I was planning to go there, but it got cancelled. In that situation I was ready to do it.
What do you think about the judging system of the BMP?
I think it’s very accurate but I hate doing it. I don’t want to judge other riders, it’s so difficult. I don’t know what the deal this year is but last year we had to judge everyone from 1st to last place, it was an agony. You have this great week together and then you have to pick. Although it’s the right way to do it, I would rather leave it to someone else. If I were in charge of contest, I would always have rider judged events. It’s more work for us, but in my opinion this is the only way to do it.
Thanks a lot!