Frame of Mind Series 1: Eric Dyer
Every ski hill has them. Local heroes. Homegrown rippers. Ski resort die-hards. You see them sprinkled in the lift lines, hooting and hollering from the trees on pow days, dropping cliffs you’ve wanted to hit all year, and layin’ out high fives all day long. These are the locals that make ski resorts special. They know the stashes, they have their own names for certain runs, and they’re the best friends to have when you’re looking to push yourself.
This month we are launching our Frame of Mind Series where we highlight local ambassadors of different ski resorts. For our first series of interviews, we are focusing on Solitude Mountain Resort, nestled in awe-inspiring Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Get inspired, learn what makes these local pros tick, and introduce yourself when you see them in the lift line. Know someone that you think should be featured? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
To kick off our Frame of Mind Series, here is our interview with the über talented photographer and athlete Eric Dyer. Eric has an incredible natural ability of always catching the perfect photo. His shots consistently make you feel like you are experiencing the exact moment he’s capturing and his photos always have perfect composition. Not only is he skilled behind the camera, but put him in front of the lens, and you can see his passion for skiing really shine. Eric considers himself a skier first, then a photographer. Needless to say, he’s plenty skilled in both.
SpreadStoke: Hey Eric, where is your hometown?
Eric Dyer: I grew up in Reading, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, about 15 miles north of the city. I moved to Salt Lake City in the Spring of 2013 after I graduated from Northeastern University in Boston.
SS: What is your main snow sport discipline?
Eric: Skiing! And shoveling…
SS: Who can you usually find yourself on a chairlift with?
Eric: With other members of the #SolitudeMYST, of course. Oddly enough, I find myself skiing alone a lot. I actually enjoy interacting with new people on the chair, especially those from out of town. It’s always refreshing to hear about different people’s experiences in a place that I now call home.
SS: Conditioning off the mountain is an essential element to performance on the mountain. Do you have any training techniques (whether physical or mental) you would like to share?
Eric: These days, I bike a lot in the offseason. I got into biking at the tail end of the historically low snow year of 2014-2015. I find myself pedaling a lot through the spring, summer, and fall months. It began as a few rides here and there on a borrowed mountain bike, however, I started down the slippery slope and shortly purchased a mountain bike of my own. Since then, I’ve gotten into road and gravel cycling as well. Can’t beat just being able to ride off from my garage in Sugarhouse for 50 miles through all the canyon and mountain passes! Off the saddle, I spend some of my offseason training at AlpenFit in Park City.
SS: What’s been the most challenging aspect of being an athlete/photographer?
Eric: Being a winter sports athlete/photographer, the hardest challenge for me is to get out of a warm bed on a cold morning before the sun rises. Coffee always helps! I definitely see myself as a skier first, but I have recently began to transition to the other side of the lens. In terms of photography, the hardest challenge for me is deciding when to ski and when to stop and snap a few photos.
SS: Besides shredding the white wintry wave, what else do you enjoy doing?
I love food, and I love to cook. Besides eating, I enjoy going on hikes with my girlfriend Megan and her three-legged dog, Todd (#ToddTheTripod). I also love music, specifically going to live music events where you can really see the talent of the musicians on-stage.
SS: What is your life motto?
Eric: Alex Lowe once said, “When you remove the risk, you remove the challenge. When you remove the challenge, you wither on the vine.” I stumbled upon that quote when writing a term paper on risk tolerance in college. That was before I even knew who Alex Lowe was. That quote kinda sums up how I try to live my life, to challenge or scare myself every day.
SS: What fuel goes into your body before and after a day on the hill?
Eric: I try to eat healthy as best I can. I’d say my diet coincides with where I am. If I’m home in Utah, my diet is probably 75% raw & organic, 25% cooked & organic. On the road, it becomes a little tougher and I usually survive on a diet of granola, coconut, whole grain toast and almond butter. If I’m heading out for a big day, I typically make two eggs over-easy, toast, spinach, and an avocado. When I get home, I just want a pizza.
SS: What does skiing/snowboarding do for your soul?
Eric: To me, skiing is just all about finding the missing piece to a puzzle, except the puzzle has many different solutions and is ever-changing. I really like the freedom, freedom to go anywhere and leave your signature in the mountains.
SS: Solitude, it’s all in the name. What are some of your favorite attributes of Solitude and how is it unique from other Utah resorts?
Eric: bought a pass to Solitude my first winter in Utah on the recommendation from my friend Harrison (@harhoghol). He told me, “If you want to ski powder all day without having to wait in any lines, go to Solitude.” In that aspect, Solitude truly lives up to its name, and is the reason I keep coming back year after year. Aside from the solitude of skiing at Solitude, the terrain and access at the resort, in my opinion, is second to none. Nothing is obvious and you have to work for your lines, which makes the skiing that much more rewarding. I’m still stumbling upon new features and hidden zones to this day.
SS: What goes through your mind before, during and after executing or capturing a technical line or feature?
Eric: My mind kinda goes blank, or rather clear. Nothing else in the world matters except for the challenge in front of you. Whether it’s boot packing up an icy couloir in the wee hours of the morning, or standing on top of a ridgeline with thousands of vertical feet of untouched powder in front of you, it is a very introspective and meditative state that I find myself in. When I’m skiing, that heightened state of awareness really makes me feel like I’m in touch with the world around me. Afterwards, of course, that all washes away with a huge smile, a few hoots and hollers followed by a, “let’s do THAT again!”
SS: When you’re not on the the hill, what can we most likely find you doing?
Eric: Probably in front of my computer screen, with Lightroom and Spotify open.
SS: 2017 Goals: What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?
Eric: This is my first year since I moved to Utah in which I don’t have big travel plans. I’ve checked Alaska, Japan, and British Columbia off of my bucket list, and would love to return to all of those beautiful places, but my focus this year is to stay local and really explore my backyard more. Outside of exploring the Wasatch and Uinta backcountry more extensively, my big goal at Solitude this year is to ski every named/numbered line on Fantasy Ridge.
SS: As athletes, you serve as role models in the outdoor industry. Any advice, reflections or ideas on the types of things you would like see the outdoor industry strive for?
Eric: Being a winter athlete and just a normal human being, it is difficult to ignore the environmental impacts that we as humans are having on local and global climates. The earth will be here long after we’re all gone. In what shape we leave the planet is up to us. I believe that the outdoor industry, as one of the most visible industries in human interaction with the natural world, needs to be a leader in promoting sustainability and clean energy. On the sustainability side, I’d like to see more outerwear and apparel being made from recycled materials as well as companies striving to create sustainable supply chains. On the clean energy side, think about all that valuable roof space on manufacturing facilities or warehouses. Hello solar panels. The dark side of skiing is that most resorts operate their lifts using power from diesel generators or are pulling from the grid which is still largely generating its power from coal power plants. In Utah, when it isn’t snowing or about to snow, it is bright and sunny everyday. How cool would it be if each resort had a solar farm in the West Desert?
SS: What’s bumpin’ in your earbuds?
Eric: Even though I love music, I usually leave the earbuds at home when outdoors. I just feel like you don’t need to block out nature’s soundtrack. In my car, however, it’s a melting pot of artists and genres from around the world. One day it could be 90’s hip-hop in the morning, and new age country in the afternoon. The next day, you might hear Die Antwoord or Steely Dan.
SS: Spread Stoke’s values are: Do what you love, leave this world a better place than you found it, and spread stoke to those around you. How do you demonstrate these values?
Eric: Every day, I take out my knife, open the jar of stoke and spread it all over my toast. Kidding aside, every day I try to limit my footprint the best I can. This could be something as simple as sharing rides up the canyon to reduce our vehicle emissions or not using plastic bags when shopping at the grocery store. I also strive to start the day with a smile on my face and keep it on throughout the day. Smiles are infectious and I think having a positive attitude has a positive effect on those around you. Be humble and support all of those that are close to you. A smile and high five to a stranger goes a long way, be it on the hill or walking down the street.
SS: Do you have any shout-outs to friends, family or sponsors?
Eric: I just want to thank my biggest supporters, my parents (Hi Mom!). They got me started on skis at a young age back on the big hills of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. I still remember those three to four hour car rides to go ski a single day on icy man-made snow! They didn’t second guess me when I decided that I wanted to move across the country to pursue a different way of life. I know they probably didn’t think it would morph into a full-on lifestyle back when they dropped me off at Wachusett Mountain in 1996.
We hope you enjoyed our Frame of Mind interview with Eric Dyer. Be sure to say hi to him if you see him on the hill this season and give him a follow on Instagram @EricDyer.
Stay tuned for our next Frame of Mind interview. If you know someone who should be featured, let us know.