This week ROAM founding contributor Jeremy Jones and Teton Gravity Research released the trailer for their next film, Ode to Muir. In it, Jeremy and Olympic snowboarder Elena Hight go deep into California’s High Sierra to experience raw nature through the lens of John Muir, the prolific naturalist considered the grandfather of American conservation. This film will come out in October—learn more about tour dates here: tetongravity.com/odetomuir
If there is one guy who is in it for the journey not the destination it’s Jeremy. Jeremy has long been one to earn his turns—whether that’s climbing each peak he rides or founding an organization, Protect our Winters, uniting people and snow industry businesses to fight climate change. He has spent decades exploring our own backyard here in the U.S., where first ascents and the unknown continue to loom large even today. The timing of this film is slated to light the flame to get people to vote in the November elections. Here Jeremy answers some of our questions.
How is this movie different that other film projects you have released over the years?
It is different in many ways making it both exciting and terrifying. The film takes place on a single nine-day trip relying more story than action.
This is “backyard” exploration—did it feel very far out and extreme? How did you pick the area to explore?
My focus since Higher has been on breaking new ground in my home range. This has been one of my greatest challenges as a snowboarder due to the size, scale, and remoteness of the range. Being so far from the road and in a wilderness area means a simple injury becomes really serious. So as much as the Sierra feels like home, I was in mountains I had never seen and felt very far from home.
Why bring someone like Elena, who didn’t have a ton of backcountry experience, on this big trip?
I wanted to bring someone new into the wilderness to show the effects it has on people. Elena and I talked about doing a trip once the Olympic craziness settled down.
How is an old dude like John Muir relevant today?
I wanted to celebrate his work on protecting the environment and ideally gain some wisdom and inspiration to our current climate fight. However going into the film I was not sure how much we would use of Muir. I have read a ton of his work, but I was not sure if it would translate well.
Right away it felt right, and we continue to be impressed with how poignant his words are today.
The trailer seems to pulse with urgency. Where is that coming from?
We are a few months away from the most important election of my lifetime due to the urgency needed to address climate change. The hope is the film inspires non voters (roughly 38 percent of the U.S.) to vote. This is why I consider this the most important film I have ever made. I hope it works!