Jonesing for Taos
What’s it like to explore a new zone after 30+ years of snowboarding? Big mountain rider Jeremy Jones takes you there.
Last January, legendary snowboarder Jeremy Jones went storm chasing at Taos Ski Valley with an all-star cast of skiers. But their timing was more of a stroke of luck than good planning. The six-person crew—including athletes Jimmy Chin, Cody Townsend and Sierra Quitiquit—arrived on the biggest powder cycle of the season, with storm totals amounting to nearly three feet. In turn, Mother Nature delivered white carpet service and free reign of Taos’ rowdiest terrain—something Jeremy had yet to experience in his 30+ years of snowboarding the world’s biggest lines.
What the group discovered, in Jeremy’s own words, was “one hell of a place.” A dream location that rode more like an urban legend than a plausible reality. And if that’s not saying something…well, we gave Jeremy plenty of room to say more.
On the hunt for big lines
It’s got a lot of features, which is always fun for snowboarding. You put in a 10-minute hike to the Ridge and it eliminates 80 percent of the crowd. You can keep working your way down the Ridge to fresher snow. I got into some pretty serious lines—about as serious as it gets. It’s one of the steepest mountains I’ve been to in the Lower 48.
On a vibe so sacred
Within the middle of the desert, at the end of the Rockies and surrounded by this totally different landscape, you have this pocket of really big, impressive mountains. The [Taos] natives were the masters of finding the special and unique places with biological diversity. There’s an energy to the land, and I definitely felt it.
On discovering hidden treasures
Taos is a unique place off the beaten track. So few people have been there that it’s really a hidden gem. The people who have sought it out and chosen to live there have gotten away from the masses. So you’ve got a cross-section of skiers and snowboarders with a common bond and an open, free spirit that you don’t see in other places.
On getting his head in the clouds
I still can’t get my head around the snow. It’s not Colorado or Utah snow, but there are similarities. There were 30 inches of new snow, and in places like Colorado or Utah, you’d traditionally be on the bottom of that snowpack; you could just blow it away. We had that smokey snow, but it had a level of support to it. Like a touch of coastal snow. There’s a density that gives it the best of both worlds.
On toasting to tradition
I met so many awesome people hiking the Ridge. I was hiking up with some snowboarders, and at the end of this awesome day, the sun came out. One of them had stashed a bottle of génépi. The guy gives a heartfelt toast to [Taos founder] Ernie Blake, and I thought it was so cool that these snowboarders were so genuine. There was total admiration for Ernie. I watched the Taos [snowboard ban] go on for 25 years, and to see these snowboarders paying respect… I was speechless.
On finding the right words
We [Jimmy, Cody, Sierra] have all been doing this a long time, but we were pretty much speechless. You kind of don’t need to say anything. Words don’t work. You just shake your head and laugh and you see it in each other’s eyes. This place is really special.
On the unexpected twist
It’s really refreshing to go to this place that’s not really that far from where I live and have a unique, new experience on snow. It doesn’t happen a ton. When it does, it’s so refreshing. To have my mind blown like that after 30 years of snowboarding and traveling the world… It’s why I’m still so hooked on snowboarding. It doesn’t happen much, but it happened at Taos.