Why I love Warren Miller

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.

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6 Responses

  1. Congratulations! I’ve nominated your wonderful blog with the Versatile Blogger Award. I’ve enjoyed your posts about your travels, etc. Here’s the link to get more details: http://earthriderdotcom.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/the-envelope-please/

  2. Thanks for the tip on Warren Miller. And to think I was this close to becoming an extreme skier before deciding my true love was IT management. LOL!

    • Haha…yes, you’ve been saved from going over the cliff.

      I’m glad I was able to turn you onto to Warren Miller – the movies are a lot of fun.

      My taste in sports is very wierd I admit, I like watching extreme skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing. All of them are inter-related in that surfing culture helped create and influence skateboarding culture which definitely lead to snowboarding.

      The earlier Warren Miller films are about all these things too, actually, plus windsurfing too. He’s an all-around outdoor enthusiast, especially when it involves the surfer-skateboarder-snowboarder culture. It’s a critically important element of why he loves it so much, and it comes across clearly in the movies. 🙂

  3. I’ve actually thought about trying surfing. If I do, I’ll let you know. Long Beach, baby! (Long Island, that is.)

    • I think it must be tremendous fun. Maybe you could take your family out to the beach. I’d bet there’s nothing like being there with an excited kid who wants to try it too to help get you in the water.

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