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With freestyle snowboarding being the beast that it is in today’s snowboard climate it can be difficult at the best of times to escape from the countless edits and movies that drop at this time of year that in so many cases have one unwavering focus: stomping impressive tricks. Whether they be big budget films like The Art of Flight, where helicopters and epic cinematography perhaps receive an equal share of the limelight as the riding itself; or much more core, urban-heavy films that appeal to a much narrower subset of snowboarders, most snowboard movies these days follow that generic "here’s a bunch of tricks" formula to one extent or another.
The thing is, there’s still a pretty big audience that want a little more from their snowboard films. Riders who are looking for stories, ups and downs, a little more personality perhaps. Then there are those riders that are fully committed to their own endless quest for powder, new lines and adventures, and aren’t really that bothered about tricks at all. Who cares about the latest triple? Who knows what the difference is between a back lip and a backside blunt? For these people, and for those that can in any way relate to the exploratory, freeride side of snowboarding, Jeremy Jones’ movies are for you.
Further is the follow up to Jeremy’s groundbreaking film Deeper and as the name suggests, the film (which took two years to produce) sets out to go well, Further into largely unridden alpine regions around the world. The mountains are more off the beaten track, more challenging to ascend and descend and more gnarly. One can only wonder what the next film in the series would be called... Furtherer? Furtherest?
The film kicks off in the Japanese Alps with Josh Dirksen and Forrest Shearer, and these early stages of the film really set the tone for what’s to follow. Right from the outset we’re visually reminded of the fact that Jones well and truly earns his turns and that each 30-second line is preceded by hours of tough uphill hiking on a splitboard, often in the small hours of the morning. As the crew descend their first proper lines we also get the first glimpses of danger as Forrest gets caught in the sluff running down the tight couloir that he’s riding. It ends up sweeping him through the steep gully and gives him a right ol’ battering.
The Svalvard section was a definite highlight for us as Jeremy convinces the legendary Terje Haakonsen to travel with him to the most northerly point that he’s ever ventured. Being up in the Arctic circle, where the sun doesn’t set for months on end means that there is endless light in which to enjoy endless riding options. Apparently, this was the first time that Jeremy and Terje had rode together and they end up developing a bit of a bromance! It’s incredibly eye-opening to see just how much someone as experienced as Terje can still learn from Jones when it comes to hiking up mountains and being prepared for all eventualities. As for the terrain itself, Svalbard is predictably impressive, with a mixture of tight chutes and wide-open powder faces. After a difficult climb, Jeremy and Terje rip down a steep, narrow-ass couloir that Jeremy claims is one of the best he’s ever ridden. And the genuine whoops of excitement prove it.
The Austrian section took us by surprise. As a country that many of us will have ridden in, it's definitely eye opening to see just how much heavy, largely unexplored terrain still exists out there. The crew end up running into some pretty tricky conditions - the coldest temperatures for 50 years in fact, but that does little to stop them from getting some epic lines. You can read more about what went down in Austria in our latest issue (104).
And then there’s the Alaskan section. If you think you’ve seen it all in this much hyped, much ridden region of the world, think again. Jones, joined by Lucas Debari and Ryland Bell, tackle some of the gnarliest mountains that he has ever seen – mountains that when you consider their vertical relief rather than their height in the atmosphere, are the biggest in the world. We’ll leave it for you to check out yourself but you’ll be left speechless by some of the lines that are ridden here.
While the Deeper crew was typically made up of 4 to 5 riders and 2 cameramen, Further, brought 4 to 5 cameramen and only 3 riders, and it definitely shows. There are multiple angles on ascents/descents and some truly beautiful timelapses all thrown into the glorious full HD mix. We particularly enjoyed the timelapses that followed riders all the way up a face like ants climbing up an anthill – they do wonders in conveying a sense of scale.
Overall, Further is a mightily impressive film. The production is top notch and the riding is predictably good but it’s really all of the stories and commentary that bring this movie to life. Be warned though, if Jeremy's distinctive drawl grates on you may want to give this one a second thought as there are a lot of spoken stories in Further. It’s also a fairly long film with an almost 90 minute running time, although while I have lost interest watching other pure freeride flicks in the past, I found myself glued to my computer screen for the entirety of Further. Jeremy Jones is truly one of the greatest and most experienced freeriders of our time and it's refreshing to watch a movie that pushes the boundaries of what's possible in snowboarding that isn't tarnished by the number of helicopters used (in this case, zero) or glaringly obvious product placement.
CAPTION COMP: WIN AN ITUNES DOWNLOAD FOR FURTHER
To enter, leave a caption for the photo below in the comments section of this post and also email it to firstname.lastname@example.org (so we can email you if you win!). We'll choose the best one in a week's time and send the winner a download code for the movie. Good luck!