As we bid a fond farewell to 2018, the editors at SnoCountry take a look at the news that shaped skiing and riding at mountain resorts across North America over the year.
This year’s Warren Miller flick is titled “Face of Winter,” which for many of us, Warren embodied. With his passing last winter, this year’s film, the 69th installment from Warren Miller Entertainment, pays homage to him and some of his favorite spots: from Engleberg to Chamonix, British Columbia to Alaska, Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, Washington and more.
Kaylin Richardson charges toward the fjords in "Line of Descent." (Warren Miller Entertainment/Jay Dash)
Coming off the high of the recent Xfinity Killington Cup in Vermont, the stoke for skiing and ski racing is high in the Northeast and across the country. While we all aren’t destined for the World Cup, finding the joy of skiing and riding is attainable to anyone who puts boards on their feet.
Warren Miller near the Matterhorn. (Warren Miller Co.)
He's known as the godfather of action sports filmmaking, but what happened behind the camera is even more remarkable than what you saw on the big screen.
In 1960, two years before Vail opened with one gondola, two chairlifts and a Poma lift, I rode to where Chair 4 ends with Pete Siebert in some sort of an Army surplus, over-the-snow vehicle.
On the big Island of Hawaii there is an observatory at 14,000 feet above sea level. For a short time during the winter there is a fairly good-sized snowfield and considerable lack of oxygen to climb back to the top of that snowfield after you ski down it.
In January of 1946, I was skiing at Badger Pass and staying at the Yosemite Lodge 12 miles away, down in the Valley. The accommodations were quite nice. They were 16 foot-wall tents with community showers down the way. It was there that I got the motivation to travel the world with my skis and then later with skis and camera.
After personally narrating my fourth annual feature-length ski film in Seattle in October, 1953, my sponsor, Scott Osborne, suggested I come up and film the Slush Cup on Mount Baker during the Fourth of July weekend the following summer.
I write a lot about the price of chairlift tickets, I know. Taken alone, they seem high but when one realizes the chairlift ticket is the magic carpet to an amazing world of freedom, they are quite reasonable.
As I stepped off the train in Kitzbuhel, Austria, I had two jobs ahead of me. One was to film the European portions of my annual ski film and the second was to lead a tour of 14 skiers on a once in a lifetime ski trip. I had promoted this adventure from the stage as I traveled that fall and winter, narrating my film in person.
During the 1950s and ‘60s the greatest expansion of ski resorts in America occurred. Squaw Valley, Vail, Keystone, Sugarbush, Heavenly Valley, Copper Mountain, Beaver Creek to mention just a few.
I have been asked many times if I could start a film company today and make it grow like it did when I started in 1950, with a borrowed 16mm camera and $100 from each of four friends to start the company.
I get a lot of interesting questions on an almost daily basis. One of the questions I am most often asked is, “Do you think someone today can be a ski bum as you were by living in the parking lots of ski resorts?”