Earlier this year, snowboarders Jeremy Jones, Brian Iguchi and Travis Rice teamed up to explore the Teton Wilderness on a 10-day, human-powered expedition to the southeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park and the Teton Wilderness, considered to be one of the most remote places in the 48 contiguous states.
Located 25 miles from any developed road, the area demands a multi-day expedition to reveal what lies in its wild interior, but according to the team, the long haul is worth the effort.
Part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which encompasses over 20 million acres, the region is accessible only by foot or horseback — or in the case of the trio of elite snowboarders, splitboard.
The adventure culminated in the latest film by Teton Gravity Research, “Roadless,” which premieres on Oct. 11 at the Montana Tap House in Whitefish.
The project, led by Iguchi, required all three professional snowboarders to skin and snowboard dozens of never-before-seen lines across nearly 600,000 acres of protected land within the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
“‘Roadless’ began with a conversation over dinner a few years ago,” Iguchi said. “We set out with no lofty goals or exact route, allowing us a chance to enjoy the excitement of discovery and figure things out along the way. We covered a lot of ground wandering the wilderness, found some good riding and had quality time for conversation and reflection. It was a unique experience, and I feel like it’s pretty rare when your imagination and reality lines up so clearly.”
The arduous journey through the rugged landscape of the Teton Wilderness showcased in “Roadless” not only yields world-class riding from Iguchi, Jones and Rice, but allows the mountain athletes to reflect on their shared passion for snowboarding and protecting America’s wild spaces as the threat of climate change looms.
Indeed, the most important storyline of “Roadless” for the film’s participants is how it might help shape the future of snowsports against the threat of climate change, and its premiere comes just a month after Jones testified before the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis.
“Living your life in the mountains doesn’t afford you the opportunity to deny climate change. Its impacts are front and center, every day,” said Jones, who founded the nonprofit Protect Our Winters (POW) to help combat climate change from within the industry. “It was the incessant image of mountain environments changing, glaciers receding, snowpack declining, and seasons shortening that led me to start the climate advocacy nonprofit Protect Our Winters in 2007. Though I’m comfortable dropping into a 60-degree slope, starting POW scared me. I had no formal experience in starting a nonprofit. But, I was wholeheartedly convinced that the snowsports industry needed a unified front to fight climate change, and I was willing to stick my neck out in pursuit of turning passionate outdoor people into effective climate advocates. Besides, who better to take on this fight but a community who thrives in accomplishing the impossible?”
“Roadless” is the latest film during an already busy year for Teton Gravity Research, which recently announced the debut of “Winterland,” its annual ski and snowboard film. “Winterland” comes on the heels of “Far Out,” which was named “Movie of the Year” by Powder Magazine in 2018.
Teton Gravity Research also claimed Best Documentary at the 2018 Surfer Awards in December for its captivating and complicated look at the late Andy Irons, a three-time ASP World Champion surfer who battled bipolar disorder.
“‘Roadless’ is one of the wildest missions we’ve ever embarked on, with three of the most iconic snowboarders in the world,” Teton Gravity Research producer and co-founder Steve Jones said. “The terrain is mind-boggling and the candid insights of these athletes are truly unique.”