Jonathan Jean

Jonathan Jean of the West Coast Sledders spends eight months of the year airing it out in the big mountains of Whistler, B.C.

by Matthew Mallory

A black and white photo of a guy hitting a wind lip on a sled.
Jonathan Jean (pictured here) and Tom Cepek maintain a Facebook page dedicated to their adventures in the Whistler backcountry. Matthew Mallory photo

You may not know who Jonathan Jean is but if you pay attention to sled stuff on Facebook, there is a good chance you saw one of his videos this spring. In particular, one that was taken from a poor angle and kinda’ underneath and to the side, it shows someone flying, going absolutely, ridiculously massive. There is only an explosion of snow on the landing and what you don’t see is the rider hitting so flat and hard that he blows his helmet off and knocks himself out—415 shares and still going because the size of the air is just unreal.

Of course, there is also the one from mid-winter where Jean misjudges his in-run speed on a natural roller hit and overshoots the landing by a matter of metres, not just feet. You could say Jean has spent the past winter going huge.

Where did this guy come from?

Well, as you can probably guess from his name and his go-huge antics, Jean is of French-Canadian descent. Coming straight outta’ Quebec, he made the move to B.C. to be in the mountains and he has never looked back. He was into mountain bikes, moto and snowboarding and then, five years ago, he took up sledding. The sled has become his all-consuming passion and what he focuses on eight months of the year. Jean and his regular sled partner, Tom Cepek, are often the first riders out shredding in the fall and the last to put their sleds away in the summer.

An ’04 Rev was Jean’s first mountain ride. For three seasons he hit up the snow with his buddy, Yan, and after a couple of years he met up with Cepek and, well, they just synced with similar ideas in what and how they wanted to ride as well as sharing a driving passion for the sport and a love of air-time. Over the past couple of years of riding together, they have logged hundreds of hours and days on their machines in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor. They are regulars at pretty much all the parking lots in the area. In fact, Jean took this past winter off work so that he could do nothing but ride. Hanging his hat in Whistler left him in the centre of the local riding culture and terrain with riding areas just minutes from his doorstep.

Like many, Jean’s first snowmobile experiences were on an old machine his dad owned. He would ride every chance he got and when he couldn’t ride, he would sit on the sled out in the shed and pretend to be shredding. Eventually the machine was sold off and it wasn’t until he had been out west for a bit that he ended up with his old Rev. The machine got him rolling and hitting some fair-sized airs. Then, last season, he stepped up to a Polaris Assault, which he rode for the winter, and this year he switched back to the 'Doo with a new XM chassis. Along with the new snowmobile came a Facebook page—West Coast Sledders, a page that shares photos and videos of Jean and Cepek’s riding adventures and love of sledding.

If you follow their videos and photos you’ll see a lot of air and big mountain-style riding but don’t be fooled, Jean can do it all. Coastal weather can be temperamental and it’s more common to have low visibility than blue skies—that is when you will find Jean ripping technical tree lines. Up, down, across and everything in-between—he can dangle. Watching him ride, you can see he is in his element. Naturally confident, comfortable and relaxed when straddling a sled, Jean looks like he was born to braaap.

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