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A Pro Snowboarder's Guide to Climate Change

Shredder and film star Jeremy Jones blames global warming for lackluster snowpack, and he's taking his beef to Capitol Hill.

| Fri Jan. 13, 2012 7:30 AM EST

JJ: Well, the advantage is that I'm a little different than the traditional person they see coming through their office. Especially if they're from these mountain regions, a ton of them are mountain enthusiasts, so there's a connection there, for sure. And then, as far as disadvantages, well, I don't go in there with a bunch of pro snowboarders. We bring in experts in the field, to go in with really top science. So it's always a good reception, because certain meetings maybe I'm talking more because they really want to talk me, and certain meetings it's our experts who are leading. We go and tell 'em, "This is what we're seeing on the ground."

MJ: So you encountered some mountain enthusiast Congressmen. Have you ever gone in to see an elected official, and they just want to talk shop about snowboards?

JJ: Well, no, it's like straight to the issue, no wasting time, there's no fluff about it. It's more like walking out of the meeting going, "Hey, man, I spend a week a year at this hut in the Tetons," or whatever. And it's like, "Oh, no way," like that kind of backburner conversation.

"Running into a Republican who's a climate change denier in a cabin in the backcountry would be a great chance to talk about climate change."

MJ: I was watching the trailer for your upcoming film, Further, and in the introductory voice-over you're talking about this sensation of, when you go to the mountains, losing touch with technology and the outside world. Do you think your work as an activist has forced you back into touch with reality?

JJ: Yeah, for sure. You know, me going to Washington, I would much rather be going to a cabin in the woods. The busier I've gotten with Jones Snowboards and Protect Our Winters, the more important it is for me to really go away and unplug multiple times throughout the year. I've been in situations where I've had to do a two-week city tour and by the end of that I'm, it's harder-for-me-to-breathe type deal. I become unglued for sure.

MJ: So places like Aspen, Jackson Hole, places where there tends to be robust winter sport industry, also happen to be areas where some of the big money players in the GOP tend to hang out. Do you happen to ever meet Republicans in the local ski communities that share your viewpoints?

JJ: Unfortunately, no. I think that running into a Republican who's a climate change denier in a cabin in the backcountry would be a great chance to talk about climate change. I think that conversation would be much more levelheaded than in an office in the city.

MJ: John Muir had that attitude, I think. That it's easier to talk about environmental issues with people when you can pull them into the woods.

JJ: Totally, and the unfortunate thing with climate is that it's become so political. When it's time to vote, you can be a Republican that cares about the environment but totally against major taxing or some other issue, and it's just really a shame that it's become such a right-wing/left-wing deal.

MJ: Would you say that the issue of climate change supersedes partisan politics?

JJ: It totally does. And there are Republicans, unfortunately, who probably would like to take certain votes a certain way, but they know what they need to get elected, and [climate legislation] comes with too much baggage and they just can't go there. That's definitely a big picture problem that's going on in this country right now.

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