Warren Miller and famous ski films in a winter when the mountains may be far away.
This time of year, my thoughts turn to the mountains and skiing. I know for some of you it is snowboarding which I tried while pregnant, but that is another story. In my teens, in early December, our ski team would gather in a big garage and watch the latest Warren Miller film. We had been training for months on ‘dry land’ by then, but now we would begin to track the mountain weather report carefully – waiting for snow, an adequate base, the opening of the lifts.
The Warren Miller annual films have been ‘old-school’ in that they have been available on tour. They have debuted at ski clubs, libraries, and outdoor stores. In 2020, this odd year, the new Warren Miller film was a live streamed event over three weekends. Sadly, Warren Miller is no longer with us, but this, the 71st film called Future Retro will be available to you from your couch. It was filmed in Vermont, Switzerland, Iceland, Alaska, Montana, and Antarctica. The scenes of skiing in wide open spaces and epic terrain will inspire anyone who loves the slopes… and you’ve gotta love narrators who use the word ‘gnarly’ with such enthusiasm. It will be released soon on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play.
Warren Miller made his first ski film, ‘Deep and Light’, in 1950 in Squaw Valley. He lived out of a trailer, dug ditches to earn money, and was financed by surfers. The combination of great skiers, ski bums and scenes from the bunny hill – all narrated with humor by Warren was an instant success. Making Deep and Light.
If you are in the mood for an ‘adrenaline high’, Warren Miller’s ‘Higher Ground’ from 2005 is one of the best his of 71 films. Rent on Amazon Prime for $3.99.
Downhill Racer starring Robert Redford and Gene Hackman is a personal favorite. This is a story of a young man from Colorado striving to be an Olympic champion on the world stage. It was my first glimpse of the great ski resorts of Europe – and Robert Redford is, well, Robert Redford. I love the footage from ‘helmet cams’ which was a whole new perspective when it was filmed in 1969.
Ski chases have been a recurring theme in James Bond movies. In the 1977 film, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, Roger Moore escapes ‘the bad guys’ in a ski chase scene ending in a jump off a huge cliff *spoiler alert* he had a parachute and the enemy didn’t. The five top James Bond ski scenes are in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969), ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (1977), ‘For Your Eyes Only’ (1981), ‘View to Kill’ (1985, and ‘The World is Not Enough’, 1999. Here is a link to their trailers.
The 8 Best Ski Movies and Documentaries of All Time. The top two picks are ‘Aspen Extreme’ (1993) and ‘Blizzard of Aahhh’s’ (1988). The 8 Best Ski Movies.
Want a project while you stream ski movies? Here are some ski-themed puzzles.
Are you heading out to the slopes soon? ASE has a checklist for you: