Peak Performers: Mark Jones, freestyle skiing |

Peak Performers: Mark Jones, freestyle skiing

Mark Jones was a major influencer in Summit County's freestyle skiing community and culture after moving to the county from Tupper Lake, New York in New York's Adirondack Park.
Summit Daily file

Editor’s note: Readers nominated their all-time favorite Summit County athletes for Peak Performers: The Mount Rushmore of Summit County athletes. Voting is now live at

Nominee: Mark Jones
Sport: Freestyle skiing

Mark Jones was one of the trailblazing freestyle skiers of the 1970s when freestyle skiing was gaining popularity. After coming to Summit County in 1973 from Tupper Lake in New York’s Adirondack Park, Jones was known as the first freestyle skier at Copper Mountain Resort as he was part of the crew that built the first ski lift at Copper.

Shortly after moving to Summit County, Jones teamed up as a coach with fellow Peak Performers nominee Gene Gillis. Jones is remembered in Summit County lore as an aggressive skier who was always on snow no matter what injuries he suffered. Jones also skied freestyle professionally in the 1970s, a decade that saw him set the record of 213.5 feet on the Gelandesprung — a huge pile of snow installed at mid-Vail at the bottom of a steep slope that adventuresome skiers launched off of as far as they could.

Jones also was sponsored by Head Skis and once tested a new Head ski called the “Yahoo,” which was one of the first shaped skis ever to be manufactured. The poster child for Head Skis back then, he appeared in film clips and ads. He also appeared in one of Warren Miller’s early ski films.

In print, Jones was the cover photo for the 1978 U.S. Ski Team calendar and he also appeared in Ski Magazine and Sports Illustrated seven times.

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