Thursday, October 7, 2010

Going Deeper: Two Years Worth the Wait

Two years of hiking. Two years of scoping. Two years of mountaintop bivvy-ing. Two years without helicopters; the occasional plane or boat, but mostly just ice axe, crampon, rope and boot. Now, Jeremy Jones (yeah, the big mountain one) and Teton Gravity Research bring Deeper to the screen and it was worth every one of the 730 days.

I never did see that backstage college

Deeper is as apt a name as this movie could have. The crew goes deeper into the Sierras, deeper into Alaska, deeper into Chamonix and, hell, just sacking up to Antarctica is pretty deep. A deep cast of characters changed on every mission, Jones being the only constant. Tom Burt, Xavier De Le Rue, Josh Dirksen, Forrest Shearer (who made the trip for the Portland screening), Travis Rice, Lucas Debari, Ryland Bell, Jonaven Moore and Johnan Olofsson put boot to snow for different sections of the show.

A little taste of the opening from the front row

The film's format is more documentary and less shred porn, which suits the subject matter perfectly. Aside from one Travis Rice-constructed booter and De Le Rue's name which translates to 'of the street' the crew eschews anything packed down or metal for steeps that require rock-solid mettle. Each trip is given plenty of exposition before the heavy lines get ripped. And don't forget, every line they ride, they must first climb. Jeremy starts the action with his first ever trip to Alaska before he brings it all to the present. The evolution is clear. As a viewer, my reaction went from, "Holy shit!" to "Where the hell is he even going!?" on some of the steepest, most exposed lines I've ever seen. A heavy dose of helmet cam gets the point across. Professional riders, closed course, etc.

Now it's time for me to nitpick. One of the cameras was grainy to the point of distraction. Toward the end of the movie, I pointed it out to a friend, who concurred. My guess is that they used a few different media (helmet cam, 16mm, HD video) and they just didn't match well. That would be the only thing I would change. The shot selection was on point. The riding was next level. The lifestyle shots, information and soundtrack brought everything together. Bottom line, when's it out on DVD?

Overall, this picture is the one that will propel Jeremy Jones from Big Mountain Rider of the Year to Rider of the Year. After seeing everything that goes into his exploits, people better recognize. Also after years of dominating the former category he finally has company in the latter, Xavier De Le Rue, who took down the award last year. Ryland Bell isn't far behind either. When you look a little deeper, you'll find Josh Dirksen and the rest, alternating beautiful turns and deep trenches on the steepest of pitches. Boot-accessed big-mountain riding. Who knew?


  1. Man. I think I'm the only one.

    I'm into this style of riding (well, when compared to wall splats set to rapps), and I found the movie a letdown.

    There were some insane lines, but I think they kind of blew it. That "My Own Two Feet" did a way better job of illustrating how gnarly sleeping in the cold is...I could've used some more of that. The downtime shit.

    They glossed over the logistics of the stuff, kind of assuming we knew about their "Deeper Project," and just what was involved.

    I found it disjointed, too. They just hopped around from this place to that place and oh back to the first place again, without reason. The slo-mo Tahoe part was absolute 1994 filler, and whattup with the trip to Antarctica: did they lose a camera or something? That could've been more in-depth. Even a few words about getting to Antarctica, even from Jeremy Jones...

    MITIGATING_FAKTORS: I watched the whole thing. At least 90% interested. That's rare.
    Zero rails, and only one jump! So refreshing.
    The pilot somehow out-space-cadets JJones.
    T.Rice makes everything good.

    I guess it just felt like I wanted more about the snow camping, the isolation, the splitboards...I don't really watch snowboard vids. I'm sure that if I were forced to watch every other vid out there, I may declare this thing best thing ever, but I've eliminated the background buzz of that shit. I'm coming from a different place, maybe.

  2. but pizza and beer at bagdad theater is always probably pretty good.

  3. Interesting points, a, but a letdown? Really!?. I have been following TGR's Deeper Unplugged series and Jeremy's blog for the past two years, so the movie was more filling in the blanks for me. And I do watch a lot of the other videos with the 'MTV Snow' vibe. So the fact that this movie was just better helped it out versus the crowd. The Antarctica section could have gotten more time. I'm interested to see what ends up on the DVD's special features. I thought that trip was going to be the climax, but I guess chronologically, that didn't work out. Then again, I'd watch three hours of this, but that wasn't the length they were going for. The Glacier Bay, AK, trip showed enough downtime for me. Add the mountaintop bivvies and hairy, mid-mountain rappels and I got the point. No letdown here. Except that one camera...


    I'd seen all that "unplugged" stuff on the net, and their trailers, and I think that may have hurt it for me.

    But, just being sit-through-able, that's huge for me.


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