Jones started the nonprofit Protect Our Winters in 2007 to unite the winter sports community around combating climate change. Unlike other environmental groups, POW makes advocacy feel personal.
Illustration by Lauren Tamaki
My brother is an avid snowboarder, so I first knew of Jeremy Jones through his incredible explorations of the world’s most remote backcountry. Since then, I’ve come to understand the uniqueness of his approach to the sport. Jones forges a path that combines environmental stewardship with big mountain riding. To reach the dramatically steep ascents he and his crew take off from, they’ve abandoned lifts, helicopters, and other carbon-footprint-leaving machinery in favor of their own two feet, accessing the mountains via climbs that can take up to seven hours.
On Jones’ human-powered journeys, camping at 13,000 feet and scaling sheer walls of white powder are the norm. This fosters a deep connection with nature but also brings Jones to otherwise unexplored territory in search of clean lines. His “slow snowboarding” has pushed the sport to new extremes, and others are following suit—a welcome development, as it’s helping to green the industry at a time when the planet is heating up and alpine ecosystems are in trouble.
“Winters are shorter, warmer, wetter, and less consistent, so it’s impossible to process when someone says they don’t believe that climate change is real. It’s very real, and it’s impacting my life now,” Jones explains, adding that because of global warming, ski resorts have lost more than $1 billion and 27,000 jobs in the past 10 years.
Jones started the nonprofit Protect Our Winters in 2007 to unite the winter sports community around combating climate change. Unlike other environmental groups, POW makes advocacy feel personal. It raises awareness among lawmakers, brings professional athletes to classrooms to mobilize students around saving winter, and encourages individuals to take the “POW7 pledge”—seven easy steps everyone can follow, like speaking to friends about climate issues or carpooling to the mountain.
In an industry focused on the quick adrenaline fix, we need more people like Jones to remind us to slow down—not only to enjoy our natural surroundings but also to protect them. With Jones and POW’s growing membership, here’s hoping we’ll be able to do that for generations to come.
Yasha Wallin is the culture editor of GOOD.
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