“Deeper” Movie Review

| October 19, 2010 | 16 Comments

Without a doubt, one of the best ski movies of the year is “Deeper” from Jeremy Jones and TGR.  True, it doesn’t have any skiing in it, but that’s beside the point – the mountaineering and the message transcend the turns, whether they are on one board or two.

I am notoriously bad at forecasting future trends. When a high-end housing development went up across the street with million-dollar homes right up against the freeway in the middle of a barren sagebrush field, I was sure the developer was going to eat it.  Not so – it has been a roaring success. When it comes to forecasting the direction of ski mountaineering, I would have thought that people would take their local skills and then apply them to ever bigger, badder and more remote locations throughout the world, but instead the real growth of the sport (at least economic growth) has focused on sidecountry or slackcountry instead. Huh.

Getting back to the movie, what I liked about it was that it documents what I think is the ultimate progression of the sport. The common thread of the movie is Jeremy Jones who hooks up with various partners around the world to go deeper into the backcountry, both physically and mentally. As the film points out, many of the Valdez/AK lines that were rad 15 years ago are almost like ski resorts nowadays.  They are still great lines, but the adventure is gone. Now, to get that same buzz and rush, you have to go deeper into the backcountry, which most often means climbing under your own power. Machines can get you to the doorstep, but beyond that, you are on your own.

There are a few segments of deep powder porn, but most of the lines they ride are legitimately big, bad, dark and scary. This comes through in the film not only in the POV helmet-cam shots, but also in the rider’s comments and riding style which is much more humble and cautious. It is true expedition style backcountry skiing, and at one point just before heading out into the unknown Jeremy says “Wow… I hope this works.” which to me epitomizes the entire sport.  Yes, you can get hurt, shut down, stormed out and many other things, but when it is good, there is nothing like it and this movie does an excellent job capturing that spirit.  Another classic comment came after they had suffered through a multi-day storm and when the weather finally cleared they looked up at the spine infested peak above their camp and said “That’s the dream – right there.” before laying waste to it.

There is a lot to like about this movie and I hope that it is the first of many more like it to come. As one of the first of its kind, it deserves a place along side “The Blizzard of Ahhs” in the permenant collection rack.

As one other sidenote, I smiled to see that almost none of the riders weren’t wearing helmets.  Hats off boys.  ;)

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Category: Random

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (16)

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  1. Zak says:

    Ha, wrong JJ in the ad. ;)

  2. Eric says:

    The link to backcountry.com is the wrong JJ’s board. I don’t think big mountain rider Jeremy is riding a tiny park board.

  3. Nathan says:

    So the advert at the bottom of the article for a Burton Jeremy Jones snowboard? Surely that’s wrong right? I mean, anyone that knows anything about snowboarding would know that the REAL Jeremy Jones (and the guy who made “Deeper”) is not sponsored by Burton and the two have nothing to do with each other apart from the name. In fact they couldn’t be further from each other in terms of the type of riding they do.

    “Help support StraightChuter.com and ride like JJ himself with a Burton Jeremy Jones Snowboard from Backcountry.com. ”

    I wouldn’t have said anything, but it’s a mistake from a person rather than an ad bot.

  4. troy says:

    I too enjoyed the deeper movie, as well as your review. Not sure how much control you have over you backcountry.com links but the Burton Jeremy Jones link is for the Other Jeremy Jones – the “Jib Jones”. The “Deeper Jones” rides Jones Snowboards….

  5. Tim says:

    I agree this movie was fantastic. One thing though, the board on BC.com you linked above is actually the other Jeremy Jones who is more into urban rails than into snowboard mountaineering. While both Jeremy Jones are rad, I would promote Big Mountain Jeremy Jones’s Jones Snowboards which included a seriously legit splitboard. I think those are available on Backcountry as well.

  6. wasatch surf says:

    “deeper” like you said is not a sappy powder flick, but high risk riding. One of my favorite parts was the euro POV footage when jeremy and xavier side slipped/down climbed? that icy choke! awesome. Cool to see that people are taking splitboarding seriously. I did the powderkeg this year on my splitboard and with some of the looks i got from the rando racers i might as well of been on a giant dildo.

    x2 about promoting the wrong jeremy jones. the urban JJ has skills too, but Jones Snowboard’s are pretty cool. here is a link:http://www.jonessnowboards.com/boards.aspx

  7. d3 says:

    that trailer is dank!

    i’d like to see a powderkeg participant do it on a giant dildo. teh c00l.

  8. ptor says:

    Too bad mainstream ski movies are still way behind and still heli-dependent. But Deeper will probably help convert some more heli-skiers because they been outdone!
    I agree with Les Anthony in his new book White Planet, that skiing would have been way cooler in the eyes of the world if it had remained self powered as surfing traditionally has. Again, thanks snowboarders(sideways skiers) for reminding (the people that need reminding) of what cool is, although the self-reliance (no guide, make your own calls, no heli rescue standby support, real isolation) thing doesn’t necessarily need to go to the extreme. The notion of “high risk” is just normal for anyone with a mountain skill set who’s been out there doing it themselves anyway.

  9. Derek says:

    ptor,

    I’m glad “mainstream ski movies” and popular culture hasn’t realized ski touring is the way to go. Ski areas are a great sheep pen to keep the masses out of our grazing pasture we enjoy so much.

  10. ptor says:

    Derek,

    You’re right. Except it sucks (from my perspective) to see the heli-skiers go “deeper and deeper” and ski peaks that deserve to be devirginized properly. There’s just no “paddle it if you can” ethic. But it shouldn’t affect me and I should be grateful for the peace and solitude available from ski touring. I still wonder how much of the masses would be skiing at all if they had to go up on their own power so it may be a mute point. Thanks anyway man.

  11. Matt Kinney says:

    Good comments ptor.

    Now that the front range of Valdez has been prostituted by the carbon folks, they are now looking deeper for more hype to satiate their ego. From a purely alpinist standpoint I find it hilarious. I am sure the movie has some good stuff, but the premise of accepting motorized access as a ‘modern” form of ski mountaineering exploration cheapens the final result, at least in few places of the world with the Chugach being one. Most peaks on the Chugach can be accessed within 3-4 days with a pack and pulling a sled. I crossed the Chugach twice in 7 and 9 days trips in the 80’s. Others have raced across in 60 hours! What is hilarious about all this is the gear is so much better these days it would be easier, funner and safer.

    I guess from my perspective is that there were many peaks I skied past on expeditions that I thought would always remain untouched so that I could return when my skills improved to possibly ski them. Or perhaps someone else would hook up ropes and sleds, gather some friends together and wander for days into the Chugach looking for adventure and first ascents and descents. It was a gentleman’s race. Now that is being compromised. It is too bad modern skiing seems to have lost that ethic of pure mountain adventure. Now it is who has the sponsors to purchase heli time and folks who have the backing to get “famous”.

    I think a good example of this is the guy who did all of the 14ers in CO with no motorized access to any of the peaks a few years back. I think he did most of them solo. No snowmachines, which required some pretty long slogs. He only got a paragraph in a ski magazine. Took him awhile, years actually. Meanwhile a heavily sponsored skier” used snowmachines and such and did it in “year”, wrote a book about it, did a movies and traveled the world boasting about it. But to be brutally honest, the fact is that he could not have done it in a year without poaching some access with snowmachines. No one even knows the other guys name, but he’s the man IMO.

    What is wrong with human powered approaches? Is it because they just don’t have the time? I found the time, as did many others.

    As you can tell I am somewhat cynical about modern ski movies. But this is a movie I can’t wait to see because it appears to make and attempt to highlight mountaineering in a few of the segments.

  12. Cameron says:

    Cool post, Andrew. I think that local exploration is indeed where it’s at. Lou Dawson has commented that one could explore the Sawatch and Elks for a lifetime. I share the sentiment, and this makes it hard to get out of Colorado sometimes. Nevertheless, the best adventures I’ve experienced have been getting out there close to home. Keep up the good work.

  13. Kyle England says:

    Glad to see splitboarding getting some GOOD recognition! I’m a huge fan of Jeremy as he is the one who turned me on to spliting. Which in turn has re-ignited my love for the snow!

    Also props to Wasatch Surf for doing to Powder keg on a split!!

  14. BP says:

    Deeper finally came to Japan – thanks for the recommend. I watched it last night and it was great. My favorite line is one of the partners saying, “you never have to worry about Jeremy taking your line.” Great stuff they put together – especially the Chamonix work. Insane stuff a splitboard rather than skis in my opinion.

  15. sergey says:

    It seems that splitboarding is getting some attention on the East coast. Just saw a couple of them in VT.

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