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Snow Bros

Local brothers are rising stars in the ski and snowboard worlds

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Throughout history, many of the greatest teams are siblings: the Williams sisters swept professional tennis, the Wright brothers reached the skies, and the Super Mario Bros. dominated video games.

Jonah and Jared Elston may be among those names, soon. The Montana-raised brothers have racked up accolades for their performances in their respective snow sports. The teens moved to Bend four years ago, and are now fixtures on Mt. Bachelor with Jonah, 18, on skis and Jared, 17, snowboarding. Both are on sponsored teams and have big plans this winter—Jonah will head to Utah to shoot new demo videos, and Jared will compete in Mt. Baker's Legendary Banked Slalom.

The brothers are often found riding with their friends on Bachelor, but the Source coaxed them off the mountain for an interview.

Source Weekly: You guys have been down mountains around and even outside the country. Do you have any favorite spots?

Jonah: I like Mammoth. Whistler's another good one I really like. Where else? There's a couple spots in Montana that are really sweet. We grew up there, so there are a couple local ski hills that no one will be at and there's a lot of sweet terrain there.

Jared: I think Bend is my favorite spot. I want to be here a lot. I'm not trying to get out of here too much. There are a lot of different mountains that are really close and all have super varied terrain. You can get out there pretty quick, and then there's just so much to do. Bachelor itself is really playful, lots of hills, rollers and wind lips you can go play around on. It's kind of flat, so you gotta get everything pretty perfect if you want to make it to the bottom, sometimes. You just gotta hold your speed, so it makes you a better snowboarder, in my opinion.

Jonah: Yeah, he hit it pretty good. Just the access out here to some of the back country is so much easier in some places. You can go ski in Tumalo anytime, and that's awesome terrain, backside or frontside. And all the mountains out there, as long as you got a snowmobile, you can get out there pretty easy, and that makes Bend pretty unique.

SW: You guys both started out skiing when you were 18 months old. I was wondering what made Jared switch to snowboards and what made Jonah stick with skis? Does it get competitive between you two?

Jared: (points to Jonah) He started snowboarding first, actually. And you always do what your big brother does.

Jonah: Yeah, he followed me up. I started snowboarding when I was around 4, snowboarded for 4 or 5 years, and then...

Jared: No, it was like 2 years.

Jonah: No, I started skiing in sixth grade, I remember.

Jared: There's no way. You were in second grade.

Jonah: Dude, you're out of your mind. You're out of your mind.

Jared: He quit snowboarding in second grade, started skiing. You saw some ski video, thought it was sick, had dad make some sketchy twin tips, like melted the back and twisted it up so you could ride backwards.

Jonah: It's nice because it doesn't really get competitive between us since we do different sports. We usually ski and snowboard with different people, but we'll cross paths at some point in the day. We'll try to spray each other or something.

Jared: Usually, I'll spray him or try to cut him off on a jump or something, and he'll get all mad and hold a grudge against me for awhile. Nothing unusual.

SW: You guys have competed in big tournaments and trained with professional teams, but a lot of your recognition comes from your videos. What goes into making those? What's that recognition been like for you?

Jonah: For us, it's whatever happens, happens. However you're feeling that day, whatever tricks you want to throw. I mean, we got our tricks that we know how to do, or at least know how we want to try them, and we just go do them. Whatever we're feeling, really. We both edit our own stuff, too. I really enjoy doing it, putting my vision in the video. I really like how I'm doing editing-wise, but I need footage that's a little bit better. There is a certain way to have things filmed, and I'm trying to step that game up this year.

Jared: Usually, we just post it to Instagram or Vimeo, see what happens. I just try to get people stoked on it. I don't really care what anyone thinks on my Instagram because it doesn't matter at all because it's just the Internet. But for sure, if I didn't have Instagram I definitely wouldn't have as much recognition.

Jonah: Yeah, luckily a lot of bigger sites have shared our videos. It just happens that some people will see it and follow you. I guess once you get that following, you get a little bit better result from the videos. It gets weird sometimes, though. I did have somebody try to impersonate me in a forum one time. The Internet's a weird place, that's all I have to say.

SW: What are your guys' plans for the future when it comes to your sports?

Jared: I'm just kind of going with the flow and seeing what happens. I'm still trying to figure out where I want to go.

Jonah: We're kind of on the same level. I was doing year-round competitions, traveling all around the U.S. Then, about two summers ago, we went down to Australia for a month and did a couple competitions there. That was where I called it. I did really well in my last competition, but I was not having as much fun when I go out to ski and film, or something like that.

Jared: (laughs) Quit while you're ahead, right?

Jonah: (laughs) Yeah. So I kind of stopped really doing that. I just wasn't having fun, and I didn't want to ruin skiing for me. I've seen a couple who that happened with them. So, I've just been focusing more on going up with (local photographer and videographer) Pete Alport and taking photos and video with him. Just trying to put some video and stuff like that, that's more fun in my eyes.

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