January 20, 2009
The Geoff Phatty Dyer Interview
The Geoff Phatty Dyer Interview
You probably know Phatty from his starring roles in the Boondockers and Elevation film series, but he is also one of the coolest guys in the industry off camera. If you’re lucky enough to be on Phatty’s email list, then you receive one of the most comprehensive and up to date 6am snow reports out there(personally compiled by Phatty from various weather stations, snotels, and webcams throughout the west). This only starts to explain this guy’s dedication to the sport. He’s the one who wakes up at 5am on powder days to round up the rest of the crew, keeps his gear bag in his car at work whenever its snowing (just in case the sun comes out…), and rides every day like it might be his last. The Boondockers crew call Phatty the backbone of their group, and that’s no exaggeration. Phatty’s the guy who can do it all and he’s just as comfortable flying off cliffs or natural wind lips as he is pulling a technical chute or carving through tight trees in waist deep powder.
Real Job: Software Engineer
Sled: Drooling over the Polaris Assault at the moment
Mods: Lots of stickers to make it go fast
When did you first start snowmobiling?
The earliest memory I have of snowmobiling was riding around the field next to my house on an ‘86 Indy 400. I would have been seven at the time. A few years later I was pulled over in Yellowstone National Park for speeding and driving a sled underage. My first speeding ticket was on a snowmobile.
Who got you involved in the sport?
My father and his good friend John Millar. I used to beg them to take me on Saturdays. They taught me proper weight transfer and how to get a sled unstuck. I sure appreciate their patience in digging me out for years and years and still don’t know why they used to take a 12-year-old kid into the mountains with them.
What was your first sled?
When my dad bought a new Indy 500 in ‘92, I inherited the Polaris Indy 400. I used to rally it around the fields and then I learned that I could jump the canal and access the golf course. Turns out the city doesn’t like people sledding on the golf course and I was grounded from the sled for awhile.
You’re known as one of the producers and stars of the Boondockers series. How did you initially get into sledding films?
In college we used to put together little short movies for ourselves all the time. It was mostly for memories and laughs. When Ryan [Nelson] and I moved to Utah after college we bought a nice video camera to carry on that tradition. We were lucky enough to have a good friend introduce us to Dan Gardiner and go for a ride with him. Dan hosted a party at his house later that night and we brought him some of our footage. We expected him to never watch it or just laugh at it, but I guess he must have liked what he saw there. He must have known we had potential because he kept calling us to go ride with him. I bet he regrets that decision now.
How did you meet up with Dan Gardiner?
John Summers, marketing director for Klim, who is one of DG Films’ biggest sponsors, invited us to Elko, Nevada, for a ride with Dan. Who could pass up an opportunity to ride with one of their favorite riders in the world? I think Dan said two words to us that trip … come to think of it I am still waiting to hear a third word come out of his mouth.
Has your riding style changed over the last couple winters?
I am certainly more aggressive in my riding style. I have learned to just let instinct take over and not think about things too much. If you stop to look at tight sidehill through the trees you’re going to get stuck or end up wrapped around a tree. If you just go you’re going to be ok. It’s a little different scoping out a large jump, there you need to take a little more planning and caution. I think the most exciting thing is trying to access new areas that people never thought you could get to. That’s boondocking and that’s what we love to do.
Last winter you ran a turbo. What do you think the pros and cons were for boondocking?
The turbo I had built was a fantastic sled for boondocking. Light and nimble and plenty of power to get you through the deepest creek bottoms and tight trees. The problems are that you usually end up stuck farther up the creek bottom or higher in the trees and hills than your riding partners, which means you are getting yourself unstuck again. It takes a bit more throttle control to not trench the sled in the trees and you better pack extra spark plugs. This year I am focusing on bigger jumps and drops and will be back on a stock sled, but I will certainly be back on a turbo in a year or two. By far the most fun sled I have ever owned. Thanks SPS Racing.
Where do you see the Boondockers series and other snowmobile films going in the future?
There is a large trend to follow the skiing industry in the snowmobile films. We have a growing numbers of sledheads, but shrinking riding space and that might hurt the entire sledding industry more than we realize. I see the snowmobile films as a way to reach out to skiers and the general public to give more exposure to the sport and show what a great time can be had on a sled. Ideally the movies will help in preserving riding areas and bringing in new people to the sport.
What would you like to see more of in snowmobile videos?
Powder! I could watch powder riding all day. I think you will start to see filmmakers get a little more creative in how they capture the shots. I would also like to see some explosions. Watching things getting blown up is fascinating, as long as it isn’t my sled.
What advice would you give to other riders on backcountry safety?
Call the avalanche centers before you go riding. These guys do most of the dirty work for you. Double check your beacon before you go, take a class and learn how to use it. We have so many opportunities for training and education on avalanche and sled safety that there are no excuses anymore. Always keeps tabs on your partners and one person on the hill at a time. And just remember, people want you back home safe, don’t let them down. See you on the snow.
Any shout outs?
I would certainly like to thank my sponsors Klim, Edge Motorsports, Dave Napier, Blue Marble, Scott Goggles, West Coast Sleds, 2 Cool Air Vents, SPS Racing, Attitude Industries, Main Jet, Vohk, Fly Racing, RSI, Gravity Worx, Sly Dog Skis, F-Bomb Racing, E2 Design Worx, Dan Gardiner, and my mother and father for all their loving support over the years.
(Ed. Note: Thanks to Dan Gardiner at Boondockers for help with Phatty’s interview. Check out the latest flicks from Boondockers atwww.boondockersmovie.com.)