Olympic medal-winning snowboarder Jenny Jones presents a new series on Radio 5 Live called Extreme, covering everything from base jumping and big wave surfing to cliff diving and slack lining.
“All the guests on the show are extreme in their own different ways,” explains Jones, “For example, we speak to an extreme ultra marathon runner, who runs up the Matterhorn and up and down Kilimanjaro. It takes the average person 6-8 days to climb Kilimanjaro… he did it in a number of hours.”
We catch up with Jones on her specialist extreme subject: snowboarding. She reveals her top places to ride this season…
“Retallack has a zone for cat skiing and cat boarding and it’s got the most amazing powder riding through trees and open spots,” explains Jones. “You get inside a cat, which is a digging machine that drives you to the top of the mountain, and then you ride fresh powder for the next few hours. It’s an absolutely beautiful place, the whole area. It’s full of fir trees and you stay in an environmentally-friendly lodge in between the trees. There’s probably about 40 or 50 people riding the slopes, so you’re guaranteed fresh powder. It’s one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.”
“Morzine and Avoriaz have got a bit of everything,” says Jones, “Parks for kids and beginners, half pipes, runs, you can go hiking or experience big open pistes. I’ve done a lot of skiing in France – it’s got a lot of very high areas, so if you’re worried about snowfall, it’s guaranteed in certain areas of France.”
“Iceland was absolutely amazing, we actually went surfing there too, on the same trip,” remembers Jones. “It was late April, and was pretty cold, but there was absolutely no one in the surf. The resorts are beautiful, there are lots of volcanic areas and you can snowboard against beautiful sunsets. It was so memorable, it was like something out of Lord of the Rings.”
“As a freestyle rider, I go to Colorado for the big jumps and parks,” reveals Jones. “It has some of the best parks in the world. It’s for those who want to brush up on their tricks, jumps and rails. Brecon Ridge and Keystone are in the same vicinity and are very high; when I first came here I had to walk on the treadmill, because of the altitude. Also, in the summer it’s a great mountain biking spot.”
5. North Japan
“People don’t know how good it is,” says Jones. “I went to Japan for a contest a few years ago, to a resort called ALTS Bandai. The two days we got to ride powder were unbelievable. There was a beautiful snowfall and the culture means there’s a different outlook on riding, everyone’s so polite and a lot of people won’t ski in the trees because of spirits. It’s a very beautiful place.”
Listen to Jenny Jones’ next Radio 5 Live Extreme show at 8pm on 23rd December or download the podcast here.