January 15, 2009

Is Dyke Moris an Endangered Species?



Nope, just “unique”

Dyke Morris is what we would probably label “unique.” Don’t read anything into that label. It’s not a weird kind of “unique,” but simply a one-of-a-kind unique.

The native Idahoan is as passionate about snowmobiling and dirt biking as he is about alpine skiing and Nordic skiing. Now let’s throw in the mix the fact that he lives in Idaho’s Sun Valley—not exactly Motorhead, USA. We think that’s unique.

But there Morris lives and works, spreading the gospel of snowmobiling to anyone who will listen or even cares. He spreads the message by word and deed—by deed in that you can see him trailering his sled or dirt bike along the streets of the Wood River Valley (home to Ketchum, Sun Valley and Hailey) on his way to his favorite riding areas. And in word by virtue of his job as snowmobile clothing product manager for Scott USA, which is headquartered in Ketchum.

We caught up with Morris last March and spent a day sledding the backcountry north of Sun Valley in the Baker Creek area (you can read about that ride in a travel feature in the January, 2008, issue of SnoWest).
We asked about this seemingly oxymoronic dual love for motorsports and skiing and how it all mixes in bucolic Sun Valley, as well as about his job, how he comes up with somwmobile clothing designs and more.



SledHeads: It’s really “green” there in Sun Valley.
Morris: Yea, but you know what? It isn’t. It’s odd. I’m a Nordic skier, an alpine skier but I also twist the throttle and ride sleds. I’m in between. I’ve never had any problem with people being upset with what I’m doing. It’s mostly out of town people—those who don’t know it’s okay for us to do those things here.

SH: Why Sun Valley?
Morris: It’s more laid back, the people are very friendly. It’s a resort community, everybody is approachable. In 2002 I bought a house here. I spent the next couple of years working on it. That was my “job.”

SH: And before Sun Valley?
Morris: From 1989-99 I was a ski guide at Grand Targhee for powder snowcats (backcountry skiing). At the same time I managed a 1,000-acre ranch in Driggs—that’s where I started snowmobiling. I also had a mountain bike business in eastern Idaho with rentals, etc. On Christmas day in 2000, my girlfriend was killed in an avalanche in Teton Valley. After that, I had to leave. I couldn’t stay there anymore.

SH: How long with Scott USA?
Morris: Three years.

SH: How did you get the Scott USA gig?
Morris: They were looking for a moto guy. I interviewed for the Scott job and got it.

SH: Anyone else at Scott snowmobile?
Morris: Nope, I’m it.

SH: Tell us a little about
your job.
Morris: I handle everything to do with snowmobile clothing marketing, sales, help design the clothing line, handle orders, any warranty issues, photo shoots and sponsorships.

SH: Tell us something people don’t know about Scott USA.
Morris: Everyone is so tight. It’s like a family here. We play together. We go out together. This is the best place I’ve ever worked in my life.

SH: So, you can go riding on your lunch hour? That’s pretty sweet.
Morris: Oh, yea. At Scott, if you’re getting your job done, they’re all about lifestyle and family.

SH: What kind of rider are you?
Morris: Mountain freerider. All kinds of terrain. I like riding everything.

SH: And your favorite place to sled?
Morris: Oh, man. To drive it would be Togwotee [Wyoming]. Togwotee is incredible. If we have snow here, then it’s Stanley. Stanley first, then Togwotee. Specifically, if it’s Stanley, I like Smiley Creek, on the west side of the highway.

SH: Why Smiley Creek?
Morris: The terrain is sharper. It seems to be more technical. I like technical riding.

(ED—That last answer was evident when we rode the Baker Creek area. We hit some fairly technical hills and drainages that put us on some spectacular ridges where we could see for miles and miles.)

SH: How many miles do you dial up a year?
Morris: 500 or so. I have been riding in Finland. It’s all trail riding there. When I ride there, I ride it like my dirt bike—pinned all the time. Of course, you’re riding something like a 440 fan over there. I’m always pressuring the guides, always on them. We just wring those sleds out.

SH: Your current sled?
Morris: A 2007 Polaris 600 RMK with several SLP mods, including a pipe, can and air box.

SH: And dirt bikes?
Morris: Yes, I ride dirt bikes also. That’s my other love.

SH: You must travel a lot for your job, seeing dealers and trying to sell Scott gear.
Morris: I’m gone about 30 days a year. That includes going to Europe two times a year, usually Finland or Sweden.

(ED—Morris was on the road during the forest fires of 2007 that nearly wiped out Sun Valley and made national and international news.)

SH: The forest fires in the summer of 2007 were pretty hairy, huh?
Morris: Yea, they got to within a half-mile of my house. That’s pretty close. Lots of people were evacuated. The first thing I thought about was my house. The next thing I thought about was my toys—my dirt bikes and sled. I was traveling at the time, seeing dealers in Washington, Oregon, northern Idaho and Montana. I called my friends and told them to load my trailer up with the toys. I can always rebuild my house.

SH: You mentioned that you do all things related to snowmobile clothing for Scott USA. That includes design? How far out do you design clothing?
Morris: Yes, that includes design. We’re working on 2010 right now (ED—remember this was last March). It’s going to be a complete new line.

SH: Any hints?
Morris: You might see a couple of things today or tomorrow. But all my ideas have been submitted to the European design team and then we go from there.

We did catch a glimpse of a couple of new clothing projects Morris is working on for Scott’s snow moto lineup but were, of course, sworn to secrecy. Too bad for you, at least for a few more months.

After spending the day riding with Morris north of Sun Valley, “unique” becomes just one moniker you can use to describe him. Lots of others come to mind: “lucky” (he lives and works in an amazingly beautiful part of Idaho), “fortunate” (he gets paid to design and market snowmobile clothing), “spoiled” (he can ride on his lunch hour—not even we get to do that), “excellent” (as in riding skills on and off the snow) and the list goes on.

No doubt Morris is living the dream.
And there might not be any better place to do that than Sun Valley.






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