Two Minutes With Snowboarder, John Jackson

  • Ride
posted by James Willmott

Professional free snowboarder John Jackson has come a long way since his humble beginnings of staring at California’s famous Mammoth Mountain every day growing up. After exploring the slopes when he was just twelve years old, it wasn’t long before he got a snowboard under his feet, got noticed by the big names in the 90’s as a prodigy child, and soon took the world by storm with his adventurous and out of this world riding.

We caught up with John to talk about how he works closely with his sponsors to perfect his pro model products, what aspects of his life have helped shape the rider he is today and what he gets up to in warmer climates.
John, thanks for having a chat. How’ve you been?
Good man, this year has been a fun one.

Can you tell us how you work closely with the team at VonZipper to perfect your signature model goggles?
I give them some design feedback but they do a great job making good goggles, I don’t need to tell them much. My goggles don’t have any functional differences, we just try and come up with fun graphics and I’m always stoked they let me do what I want.

What differentiates your goggles from the rest?
Just some goofy graphics.

Where did the Feenom name come from?
I’m not sure, that’s been in the line forever. Sounds like a name GT (Greg Tomlinson, VonZipper Co-Founder) would come up with. Love that guy.

You are known for your free riding and continuing to push the boundaries of snowboarding. What motivates you to keep going bigger and keep exploring different mountains all over the world?
I love the journey, I love to explore, and I love a challenge. It’s always good for you to continue learning. I just want to keep getting better at riding, that’s were the reward is.

Who are you currently riding for?
Signal snowboards, VonZipper, Jax Union, Red Bull, GoPro, Under Armour, Flux, POW gloves, LRG, DVS, Airhole facemaskes, Bluebird Wax, Mammoth Mountain, and Wave Rave snowboard shop.

John Jackson poses for a portrait  durning Red Bull Supernatural in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada on February 4, 2012 // Cole Barash/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20120217-08778 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //
What will we catch you getting up to in warmer climates?
This summer I just want to climb a bunch, backpack, fish, surf, skate, play music and hang with friends. I’ve also been jumping out of some airplanes and that’s been a blast.

Tell us about camping on the mountains in amongst the trees and fresh powder?
Man that’s the best. Being in the elements is where you really feel the connection. I love snow camping. It’s a great feeling being able to survive with your own resources.

Growing up next to Mammoth Mountain definetly opened the doors to a life involved in the snow one way or anohter. How did the area and the local riders shape the style of riding and who you have become today?
Ya that environment definitely pushed me in the right direction. That beauty never gets old, being in the mountains, or in the river, or on the rock. I looked up to a ton of riders from Mammoth like Jeff and Billy Anderson, Tyler and Dustin Del Judice, Aaron Bishop, Matt Downey, Matt Hammer, and so many others. I used to work at Wave Rave along with some really good shredders so I looked up to all those guys.

Who are the crew you usually board with?
I’ve been mixing it up a lot and it’s great. Every chapter throughout the season has it’s own little family. I rode a lot with my brother in law, Freddie Kalbermatten last year. I also got a chance to ride with my bro Eric some, which was awesome.

We know you have pretty much unlimited availability to get dropped at the top of any mountain via a helicopter. What’s been your favourite mountain to take the plunge?
Haha no man I’m not a ball’n like Rice, but I am fortunate to get some heli time. I love Alaska. I was in Haines for a month this year and there’s some unbelievable terrain. If I could ride anything, I’d want to ride a line called the darkside there. I think Jeremy Jones and Jonaven Moore are the only ones who have ridden it, maybe one other person. I really wanted to get on it but the timing didn’t work out this year. Maybe next.

Who’s got the best snow in the world?
Alaska’s got the goods but don’t forget about Japan.

How long have you been growing those epic dreads?
Man I’ve lost count, maybe 7 years? Jeeze I should cut them. They don’t really grow past my shoulders cause I’m so rough on them. They just thin out at that length when I start stomping on them.

How do you celebrate after a fun day on the slopes?
Some good tunes and a coldie!

What’s the best thing about being a free rider?
The freedom! You can use your imagination.

Where are jetsetting off to next?
I’m trying to stick around home as much as I can. I went to a sweet music festival near my house over the 4th of July called High Sierra.

Favourite moto to live by?
Don’t look back, rise up from where you’re at.

Tell us three essentials that are always with you on the mountain?
Shovel, beacon, probe.

Tell us about your favourite video part you’ve worked on? Who was it with and where did you venture to capture the footage?
I’d say Forum’s Forever. I was in Cooke City, Mt a lot with Jake Welch. We had a blast. All of the forum years were the best.

Any shout outs?
Shout out to my family!

*Imagery by Scott Serfas, Jeff Curtes and Ian Ruhter