Team Marley member John Jackson is one of the sickest snowboarders around and his latest filming mission took him all the way to South America. Heading to Chile with a couple of snowboarders, skiers and the GoPro camera crew, John captured killer footy that shows just how sketchy the terrain can get.
We caught up with John after he got back from his trip below the Equator and talked all about his trip, the music he listens to throughout his travels and some of the crazy adventures he has on the road. Check out the interview below and see all the insane GoPro footage that John shot with his crew in Chile.
Hey John! What was up with your trip to Chile? Have you even been before?
Yes, I’ve been there… This was probably my fourth or fifth time there. We were there with GoPro, strictly shooting a promotional video for GoPro with their new camera that they have coming out, Hero 3 Plus.
GoPro videos are sick, but they always make everything seem super sketchy. Was everything as sketchy as it seems in the video or was there some smooth riding in Chile?
No, the sketchiest part is the shallow snow paths. The Andes are very rocky, they are made up of this sharp, shale rock. There can be hidden rocks right beneath the snow that could do a lot of damage, but other than that the terrain is really fun. When the snow is good, it’s one of the best places in the world. You can get into some sketchy terrain, but the things we were riding we’re pretty mellow.
Are the Andes the biggest mountains you’ve snowboarded down?
It’s one of the highest mountains elevation wise and that’s the highest helispots I’ve ever been too. As far as vertical feet, like riding big mountains, I’ve done some huge stuff in Alaska where the actual vert is quite a bit more.
Who all went on the trip with you to shoot?
Travis Rice, Lindsey Dyer and Chris Davenport. So a couple of boarders, a couple of skiers and then the GoPro dudes. Good people!
Any competition between boarders and skiers on the trip?
I mean… We have fun. I saw Rice and Davenport kind of arguing about who was taking a certain camera on one run, but we’re all there for the same reason. We’re all there having fun. There is the old school stigma, but it’s all good. I have a ton of friends who are skiers, so I’m used to them I guess.
What was the first thought when you stepped out of the helicopter at the top of the mountain in Chile?
Usually you’re thinking about your line, but as soon as one foot sets down, you think one of two thoughts. If it’s good powder then you’re like “Yes! This snow is great.” Then sometimes you step down and your boot doesn’t go down in the snow more than a centimeter and you’re like “F**k, this is bad.” Either way, when you’re stepping out of a heli, it’s super exciting. We’ll always search for good snow though. Sometime you’re just on the wrong ridge. We always make due though.
What kind of music do you listen to on and off the mountain?
I like all kinds of music. These days I listen to a lot of reggae, I have for a long time. I’ve been listening to a lot of classic rock, but a lot more twangy stuff like Devil Makes Three and Trampled By Turtles. I like to play music too so I get inspired by that.
In the GoPro film from Chile you play a fife or flute at the top of the mountain…
Yeah it’s a weird bamboo flute I got from a guy in Nicaruga. He made it out of bamboo, burned it, stained it and carved all of these cool things into it.
Did you get into any hijinx or have any interesting cultural experiences in Chile?
We got to hang with (snowboarder) Manuel Diaz’s dad, Mr. Diaz, who is just an awesome, awesome human being. He was so cool. When we left there, for the first time, I felt like, “Man I’m excited to grow old.” He has it dialed in. He doesn’t want to be rich and he just loves life. We were told you have to bring wine otherwise he won’t talk and once we were there he wouldn’t let us leave. He made us like eat three blocks of cheese [laughs].
What’s the craziest thing you’ve eaten in your travels?
Let’s see… Chile didn’t get too crazy, but I’ll eat anything. My dad’s side of the family is from Louisiana, so that’s kind of the most awkward food that I eat down there. Alligator, frog, all that good stuff. We actually cook frogs at my house sometimes. We catch them out front and eat them along with crawfish and perch from the river. It’s pretty tasty.
What’s next for you? Where are you headed?
I’m just waiting for it to snow. It’s really difficult to plan out the season, it’s usually so last minute. You’ll be watching the weather and it’s snowing in Whistler and in Montana and it’s the night before and you know you’re going somewhere, but you don’t know where. Then you pull the trigger and load up your snowmobiles and head off to Canada. I just talked to Travis though and we’re talking about going to Russia in January.
Photo Credit: Clarke Fyan