John Jackson is a beast from Crowley Lake, Calif., who has dropped so many hammers in the last two seasons he might secretly be a Freemason. His part in this year's Forum video was a jaw-dropping super spectacle that pushed the boundaries of backcountry freestyle snowboarding to the next level. In addition to being named Rider of the Year with the Video Part of the Year by TransWorld and Snowboarder magazines last month, he was named 2010 Jumper of the Year by Snowboarder as well. That John J, he's so hot right now.
While we all wait to see how he can possibly top his part in the next Forum video, the true treat next fall will be to see what kind of trouble the Brain Farm crew has gotten him into these past two seasons. When Travis Rice asks you to be a part of his movie, you know you have reached a level of snowboarding that many aspire to but few actually achieve. We caught up with Jackson so we could find out what makes him tick, what he really thinks of his brother Eric, his experience filming with T Rice, and what it was like kicking game to Pamela Anderson.
ESPN: You're living in Tahoe these days, right?
John Jackson: Yeah, I've been in Truckee for a while, but I just bought a new house. It's real cutty -- it's like 15 minutes outside of Truckee, right on the river.
It's a montage!
So, you're a pretty outdoors type of dude? You like to fish, right?
Yeah man, love it. I was watching the fish just the other day right outside in my front yard. I live on a dirt road so I can take out the sleds. I've got a dune buggy, and I want to get a quad or a dirt bike so I can start hunting.
So you're saying you're a redneck.
[Laughs] Maybe a little bit.
Is that how you and your brother grew up?
Yeah, totally. My dad used to hunt, and we grew up fishing and backpacking. I grew up right on a creek in the aspen groves, so I had a giant backyard to go explore and build forts. I didn't start fly fishing till I was like 14 or 15 though. I can't stand the city, man. I go nuts. I go crazy!
Is that why you don't shred any urban stuff?
[Laughs] No, I'm talking about the traffic and everything. Urban stuff is cool. I just slowly transitioned out of it. I started spending more time in the backcountry and less time on the jibs.
I just lost my motivation to do it because I wanted to push myself in other areas. Those guys are doing such gnarly things these days.
What's the age difference between you and Eric?
Just about four years. I'm the older one, but right now he has a man beard that looks like Grizzly Adams so he looks older. It's so funny!
What has it been like having a brother who is a super talented snowboarder?
Growing up with E Jack was sick. I love that kid. When we were real young he would want to come with me every day -- you know how it is with brothers. Mom was always making me take him with me. He has always been super cool though, and always a charger, never afraid of anything, and always keeping up with the boys.
When he started getting older he started getting really good at snowboarding and we started filming together with Standard. That was so much fun. Eric's my favorite person to ride with for sure. I would love to do my own project one of these days and get him involved.
What are you filming now?
I'm filming with Forum again. They are making another movie. I'm also filming with Travis Rice. His movie is a two-year project. I was in Alaska with him for a month last year, which was the best trip of my life. We got it so good up there -- it's one of the best AK trips I will ever get. It's so hard for everything to line up out there with snow conditions, stability and weather, but it did. It was all time.
You're happy you went.
That was probably the best decision I have made in my career. First off, those guys do it big. S--- is expensive when you hang out with them. I was pretty much past my travel budget so I had to just man up and pay for most of it myself because I just wanted to go. I knew it was a gamble but I just went for it.
There are really only a handful of snowboarders in the world who can do what you and Travis do. Are you guys conscious of the fact that you're the best snowboarders in the world?
Well, first of all, you aren't really thinking about it in terms of like, "Yeah I'm going to kill this, I'm the best" because it's always a challenge. When you're up there on a line you can only be focused on that one goal. Conquering what's in front of you. Everything else disappears.
As far as going up there with Travis, you definitely study his riding and watch how he approaches everything. You can learn so much -- Travis is nuts! He's so calculated. It's so sick to watch.
Is there a big difference between filming for Travis' movie and the Forum movie?
Well, that trip was a whole different atmosphere. Everything is really grand when you're on a heli trip. You have so much anxiety and anticipation waiting for the weather to break. You're just like, I hope it's stable; I hope it's blue; I hope we can get some shots. There's so much anxiety, when it finally does break there's so much on the line -- like money. You have all these resources like helis and planes. Not to mention, the type of shooting those guys are doing is completely next level.
Other than that, though, it's not that different. It's just about having a good crew that's stoked and motivated.
You and Jake Blauvelt seemed to complement each other really well. Was it hard for you when he left the team?
Yeah, man. It sucked. Jake is so cool, and he is such a good rider. I think he's been having fun, but I know he misses us a little bit. He's such a good kid -- it was definitely a heartbreaker.
What was it like kicking it with Pam Anderson?
[Laughs] Everyone asks me that! Man, looking back on it I could have played my cards so much better. I got a kiss on the cheek, and maybe just a smidge on the lips -- a little side lip.
Oh sweet. Maybe you should Facebook her.