I met Tyler Morton briefly once at Mount Hood on a road trip filled with powder, broken boards, and the stench of 100 plus day snowboard boots. While chilling in the parking lot of Timberline barbecuing we talked briefly about snowboarding and what we had going on, this interview is not that discussion. Instead this interview took place over many weeks of email exchanges as he was off in Montana filming and shredding. Tyler is a different breed of snowboarder going a different route, one that is rockier than most and possibly more rewarding. He doesn’t have a board sponsor, he’s currently without a binding hook up, and his feet are not endorsed, yet he still manages to get the shot and slash the pow. Here are his words to some of the questions I asked about Montucky, sponsorship, and getting ahead in the snowboard world.
AS: What was it like growing up in SLC? How has that shaped you as a rider?
TM: I actually spent the first 7 years of my life in Evanston, WY which is a short drive from SLC and now a worthwhile drive for some quality booze. Growing up in SLC was tight I mean as a kid who cares right? I do remember the place having a lot more snow in the winters past and being super stoked on that which definitely influenced my snowboarding. Solitude then Brighton were my stomping grounds.
AS: Do you partake in the ceremonial soak and underpants?
TM: What the hell! Haha, I actually have soaked before but not with a Mormon unfortunately. Ask Jevan Lautz for more details. Haha should I have said that?
AS: Nothing! What is the whole Amplid Academy about?
TM: The Amplid Academy is a shreducation program geared towards riders like myself looking for sponsorship/career development and requires you to submit video challenges using a go pro only. It’s sponsored by go pro so everybody got one free for participating. I think there are like 5 challenges and the overall winner at the end of the season has a chance of signing a pro contract with them. I just won the first challenge so I’m pretty stoked on that!
AS: Will this interview help you win the prize?
TM: I’ve already won the prize Avran. Thanks!
AS: Have you ever had to carry a gun in your glove pocket to protect yourself from a Samsquantch out in the Backcountry?
TM: I only carry a gun to shoot of snowmobilers trying to high mark our shit! Otherwise Samsquantchs should be hibernating unless your in a Canadian trailer park.
AS:Going from SLC to Montana for college you definitely got to keep riding powder. But how different are the two areas in terms of the terrain and the scene?
TM: SLC vs. Montana huh? Sounds fair enough. I’d say SLC has the best resort riding hands down. Lift access and backcountry access is too easy there though. Montana definitely has fun resorts too they’re just more spread out. Montana backcountry is unreal. Big man shit there! The scene in SLC is crazy. I feel like jibbers are also kind of dominating the scene there. Montana is a bit more hippy and laid back, but at Big Sky you can definitely get Alta Skier vibes… ha ha.
AS: You’ve popped up in a few different free movies over the last few seasons. What are your plans for the rest of this season? More Montucky action?
TM: Thanks I have to give a lot of credit to Andrew Schummer from the Mars Collective, Mark Rainery, and the RadBots crew for helping me get those shots over the last few years. Definitely more Montucky action this year. I’m here now and plan to stay for a decent amount of time. Hoping to make it up to AK in the spring then end the season at Mt Hood. Who knows I might just stay in Montucky!
AS: Amplid is a brand not too many people seem to be familiar with in the U.S. care to shed any light on their history, mission, and what they’re bringing to the table?
TM: I’d never heard of Amplid until Jeremy Tidwell mentioned the Academy thing to me. I was a little hesitant at first but figured it can’t hurt someone in my position. It’s a good opportunity for more exposure and to help push myself. As far as the company goes they make skis and snowboards, based in the Alps, and Amplid founder/owner Peter Bauer just got 2nd in the Pro Masters category of the Mt Baker LBS. Which is pretty neat.
AS: Exposure is always a funny topic to talk about. From your perspective as an up and coming rider what are the hardest aspects of getting noticed?
TM: Exposure. Hmmm… that’s a tough one. The hardest part for me is finding the right channel to expose yourself on. I mean social media is so over-saturated that it’s very easy to go unnoticed unless you’re on top of the game. Did that make sense? I also need to stomp some more shit and hopefully stoke some more people out and get a board sponsor. That should help with exposure right?
AS: Do you feel the industry or certain companies somewhat force riders to fit an image they don’t want?
TM: I’m not really sure about that question. I hope every rider is riding for the love of snowboarding and for companies they like and not ones that just give them free shit! I’m sure mega pros have to sometimes do things they don’t want though. That applies to all famous people as well.
AS:Hopefully you’ll get on Amplid then that board sponsorship thing will be locked in. Is there a correlation between having sponsors and exposure or can being sponsor-less still get you exposure?
TM: Yeah I think that would be sweet to get on Amplid. It’d be nice to have a board/binding maybe even boot combo sponsor though ha ha. I mean by being sponsored you’re obligated to expose yourself and thus your sponsors. They go hand in hand, you expose the sponsors and hopefully they expose the shit out of you. Plus they are usually way more popular than you too! I suppose if you were sponsorless but knew the right people and/or photographer you could get exposure.
AS:A lot of what you seem to film has to do with the backcountry, how has the season been out there so far this year? How would you describe the journey you’ve taken going from SLC into the Montana BC over the last few seasons?
TM: Backcountry riding is something I’m getting more into season after season especially since coming to MT. So much so that I had to buy a sled to keep doing it. It’s been really good and stable this year and once March rolls around it should be going off. Coming from SLC it’s been a pretty big change in pace as far as riding and filming go. Definitely not cruising around resorts or hitting park here. It’s a lot of work and planning to get something done. Some days you don’t even strap your board on. The weather can be really unpredictable and occasionally snowmobiles break down which sucks! I’ve been fortunate enough to have a solid crew of friends to work with here and become part of a group we call The RadBots. Group dynamics play a big role in the backcountry and every day is different but these are some of the best days of my life.
AS: How is filming with a mixed group of skiers and snowboarders like the Rad Bots?
TM: Filming with the RadBots has been incredible. Being in a mixed group of skiers and snowboarders doesn’t really bother me as long as we (the snowboarders) keep the majority. Ha ha no it’s good, plus skis are really helpful for packing in-runs and booters! Thanks Pat and Steve!
AS: With the endeavors you’re doing what have your sponsors been able to do with helping you facilitate your goals and ideas as a rider?
TM: They provide me with the right gear all winter long so I’m appropriately equipped to go shred in any condition. Unfortunately none of my sponsors make boots or hard goods. Gotta get one of those soon! They’ve been really good about hyping me up through social media too! My goal is to keep growing with them and at the same time build strong relationships with people in the industry. Building a reputation or resume now should help facilitate that.
AS: What’s next for you the rest of the season?
TM: Alaska is next! I’m actually on a plane right now and sitting next to Ticket to Tailgate winner Mark Rainery. Not sure after that, maybe some more MT action or sunny park laps back home at Brighton.
AS: The obligatory thanks and shout outs?
TM: Thanks to Mark Rainery, Sean Fithian, Steven Popovich, Pat Cowan, Micah Hoogeveen, Reid Morth, Andrew Schummer, Josh Dubruille, Meghan Kirk, Cam Versteeg, and anyone else who helped me get a shot. Benji @HighcountryMotel&Cabins, Jared @BrightonResort, Dennis @SaltyPeaks, Tim @Dakine, Jevan/Danny @Homeschool, Jeremy @SmithOptics, Evan @PharNorthClothing, Ben @CrackGreaseSnowboardWax, @Mom&Dad