Warren Miller is the godfather of extreme skiers everywhere, and his groundbreaking ski films – which he’s been making EVERY YEAR since the 1950’s – are amazing. Since I don’t ski or snowboard, it took me a lot longer to come across a Warren Miller film than ski-folk in the know, but after seeing a few of his films, I was hooked.
If you’ve never heard of Warren Miller or seen one of his films, you are missing out on some of the most dynamic, action packed extreme skiing and snowboarding on the entire planet. Literally, not figuratively.
The film crew criss-crosses the globe, tagging along with the most advanced extreme skiiers in the world. You know, the ones that jump out of helicopters to get to the top of mountains that have no humans on them. Then they ski down the mountain with an avalanche of snow behind them, or they jump of a cliff mid-ski run and parachute to the bottom of the mountain, or they run up snow ramps and get 60 feet of air while doing a triple flip or whatever other tricks are the coolest that year. Yeah, easy peasy.
Actual skiing and snowboarding aren’t the only focal points for Warren Miller films, they also celebrate the ski-bum lifestyle. A perpetual-youth culture, with kids in the forefront of the shots, doing what they do best: being young, athletic and energetic.
Part of the enthusiasm in the films is fueled by phenomenal, up to the second soundtracks. I recently perused the Warren Miller Entertainment site (NO LONGER affiliated with Warren Miller, more on that in a moment) and found a listing of the tracks to a handful of the most recent Warren Miller Entertainment films. Think of these soundtracks as a mix of electronica mixed with reggae mixed with rap and hip hop mixed with alternative rock and DJ club music and you get the idea. (I really wish I could find a sountrack list for the older films from the 1980’s and 1990’s…!)
I wouldn’t pretend that I’ve ever heard of Slang or The Crystal Method but both of them appear on the soundtrack lists and I enjoyed tracks like Slang’s ‘When the Blood Burns’ or Crystal Method’s rhythmic electronica ‘Keep Hope Alive’ enough to buy them on iTunes.
Unfortunately though, if you’ve never heard of Warren Miller before, I have some news. Mr. Miller (now in his 80’s) is no longer involved with Warren Miller Entertainment, which he first sold to his son (in 1989 I think,) and some years later it was sold, then sold again. So any of the Warren Miller Entertainment (WME) films since the 2000’s and certainly since 2005 have had no involvement from Mr. Miller. (In fact, there have even been some legal kerfuffles between Mr. Miller and WME.)
As a result, I’d recommend if you want to see and hear Warren Miller at his funniest and most charming in his role as narrator for his films, I’d stick to the movies prior to 2004.
But whatever Warren Miller film you see, you can’t help but be entertained, amused and blown away by the athletic talent on display. You might find yourself tapping your foot along to the soundtrack while you’re at it.