Flash back to January of 2021 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and you might remember a pivotal moment in Jared Elston’s young life. A newcomer from Bend, Oregon live on television pounding on the walls of the infamous Temple of Stoke that was plopped atop a course straight out of Cool Boarders. It was the finals of Travis Rice’s inaugural YETI Natural Selection Tour and a young kid by the name of Jared Elston was in the Finals against Olympic gold medalist and one of backcountry snowboarding’s favorite sons, Sage Kotsenburg. A true David v. Goliath scenario was underway and it was almost as if you could feel the world taking notice of Elston. Though Goliath won the battle, this was just the beginning of what we now know as Big Air Jare. With a style that matches his personality, Jared is a unique, original and spontaneous individual and since that hallowed day in snowboarding history, Jared has taken the proverbial bull by the horns and capitalized on the opportunity he was afforded. Since then, Jared has signed some lucrative contracts, continued his quest on the Natural Selection Tour and filmed standout video parts in some of snowboarding’s biggest films, proving that he can have his cake and eat it, too. Respected and beloved by the core and recognized by the mainstream, and this is a testament to his individuality, irreverence and flat out raw ability on a snowboard. What we’re witnessing now is the rise of a snowboarding superstar and I firmly believe that knowing Jared as well as I do, this is still just the start. —T. Bird
Knights of the Brown Table was a smashing success, undoubtedly. Why is it important to maintain core film projects in the snowboarding culture?
Thank you! Independent projects like KOTBT are critical to support because of their contribution to snowboard history and culture, but also to show the core the authentic creativity of a group of riders and filmmakers that have their boots on the ground year in and year out, without being dictated by a brand. Not that brand led projects are a bad thing, by any means, I just think the independent videos will always be at the forefront of the culture and creative progression within snowboarding.
Thoughts on Natural Selection?
Natural Selection came in at the perfect time with traditional contest snowboarding losing interest, creativity, and marketability of athletes and events. It gives the opportunity to riders who have spent their lives pursuing what many consider to be the purest form of snowboarding the opportunity to show their unique skillset on a global platform. It elevates the athletes, the brands involved, and it shows the viewer a side of snowboarding they’ve likely never seen before, and hopefully inspires them to take some pow laps for themselves. I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of the miracle that is NST.
After that first year in Jackson, were you cognizant of what had actually happened to your career at that point? Did you realize what a big deal it was?
During the contest itself I was not, no. At first I thought I had no chance of getting that far, but by the time we were done with finals a feeling came over me that everything was gonna be all good. I had just been dropped by adidas and I thought I was fucked before that. I guess the scale and speed of how things have escalated was more than expected, I’d say.
How do you balance a winter filming a full video part and competing? Because they require two vastly different mentalities and skillsets required for each.
Yeah, it’s a weird new thing for me, I mean the past couple years have been harder cause each one of those contests is at least a week-and-a-half that you’re not filming. I don’t know, really. Last year it was nice cause I was just in Revy filming before the contest. But yeah, you kinda want to take it easy filming around the contest cause you don’t wanna get hurt but you also wanna do some crazy shit because you’re about to miss a couple weeks of filming. You have to approach it way more conservative and strategic. Filming is so much easier cause you can look at it from the lip, stare at it, et cetera. NST is a crazy test of mental strength.
What are your goals for this upcoming season?
Right now, I’m taking a little time off from filming to just lap Baker. The past two years have been pretty non-stop from start to finish and I need a little bit of personal shred time to get juiced and hopefully get better at snowboarding. I’ll only be here for a week or two, and then I’m joining Elena Hight and Severin Van Der Meer for the rest of the season for our new project with Arcteryx. The goal for me is always to film a better part than last year so I’ll be chipping away at that, and also focusing on doing well at NST.
Lastly, give us three great stories of Mason Jar.
1. He sold his truck the other day and the guy who bought it got it stolen and totaled within 24 hours.
2. He recently got sponsored by Rainier, and if he wants beer he can just buy it from the store and expense it. He bought 600 beers from Fred Meyer and then threw a party at my house.
3. He came into my bedroom at 5am after partying, took the loudest shit I’ve ever heard, then left the door open, no fan, with the lights on.