Bellingham, WA (October 18, 2010) — Every now and then, a snowboard movie comes along which changes our perception about what is possible on a snowboard—TB5 and Subject Haakonsen come to mind in this regard. And while the usual subjects make their yearly contributions to progression in all realms of the shred world—one need only look as far as the yearly offerings from Absinthe, Think Thank, Standard and beyond to find new inspirational nuggets year after year—Jeremy Jones’ two year TGR project, Deeper, was high on my list of films to see this fall.
Climbing and riding unexplored zones—an approach first showcased in principal cinematographer Chris Edmands’ 2008 offering, My Own Two Feet—Deeper was the result of two years of total dedication to a new approach from Jones and company. So when it came to Bellingham this past Friday night, to a mountain community with a deep appreciation for backcountry exploration, it also came in carrying big expectations for the several-hundred riders in attendance.
At close to 80 minutes in length, Deeper took a decidedly documentarian approach. With so many down days in the storms of Alaska, the riding that was accomplished is admirable. A new level of big line spine shredding, hopping from rib to rib over serious exposure brought the pucker-level to a new high. The fact that they were doing it sixty miles from the middle of nowhere and climbing the lines made it all the more gripping, but also added a perspective on how a mountaineering approach can enhance access to previously unrideable lines—an intimate knowledge of conditions and terrain undoubtedly allowed the riders to step to lines that may not have been approachable via heli drop. The same goes for the sections from Chamonix, Antarctica and beyond—sometimes climbing a serious line is the only way to ride it.
My only caveat may have been the seemingly mellow approach with which Jones and crew approached a new level of gnar—to the uninitiated, it may seem like they were too laid back, but those who have spent time with mountaineers and backcountry guides will realize the calm is only a result of countless days in the mountains and that there is a constant process of calculation taking place behind the relaxed demeanor of Jones, De Le Rue, Rice, Dirksen, Burt, DeBari and their companions. And in an industry used to half hour action dumps, the pace may seem slow to some—this, however, reflects the reality of what it takes to bag just one keeper line given all the variables of exploring unknown mountains by foot. Indeed, Deeper feels like a strong first step in a new direction, and showcases some of the best big mountain riding to ever grace the big screen–all achieved through largely human-powered means–and opens the door to endless possibilities for exploration. Undoubtedly, we are going to see more from Jones and company in the near future.
Beyond the exotic locales, seeing what was available as close to home as the Tahoe backcountry (see our visit to Tahoe this January) proved that with a little commitment, even previously-blow-out zones offer much to be explored—it just takes a little more dedication, a heap of knowledge earned through multiple seasons of self-ascent, and a symbiotic relationship with the mountains.
Ultimtely, Deeper cracked open the door for serious mountaineering as a legitimate pursuit in the snowboard world—a new approach to an old phenomenon, and an important contribution to snowboard media that will endure for years to come.