Warren Miller - filmaker, photographer, author, illustrator
Click here for all tour dates in the U.K.. Group Tickets; Back to Top. Warren Miller UK Tour. Click here for all tour dates in the U.K.. Film Tour. Redeem Coupons. The lineage of mountain lifestyle continues in Warren Miller Entertainment's 68th full-length feature film, Line of Descent, presented by Buy Your Tickets Now!. Volkswagen Presents Warren Miller's ͞Face of Winter͟Loving the pure joy of winter is something we have in common with the late, great.
Inwith the film company on the verge of a glimmer of showing a profit, he was very happily married and the proud father of an month-old son, Scott.
Then his wife Jean, a dedicated partner, avid skier and model, died of spinal cancer. Within a few months, Warren lost most of his hair and gained 35 pounds. Inhe married Dorothy Roberts. They had a son and daughter, Kurt and Chris, to join Scott. Warren ultimately married five times: He felt he hit it right when he married Laurie. When the Jantzen sportswear company recruited spokesmen in to represent the brand in national ad campaigns, Warren joined Bob Cousy, Bud Palmer, Frank Gifford, and Ken Venturi on the promotional team.
Meanwhile, Warren branched out to produce dozens of outdoor, action-oriented films, including chronicling an ill-fated expedition to boat UP the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. He added staff and moved into a new headquarters in Hermosa Beach, CA. His films helped to attract hundreds of thousands of people to skiing in its boom years, while some new ski resorts opened in the U.
Warren demanded that his films both entertain and inform his fans, and he insisted on telling the truth as he saw it. That sometimes got him in hot water. During a poor New England winter in the late s, and while making an appearance on "Good Morning America," Warren recommended that skiers go West to find good snow. This led to several Eastern resorts banning him from their parking lots forever.
Meanwhile, the film company carried the banner of skiing to countries around the world, including Russia, Israel, and China. When he returned from filming at the Russian National Alpine Ski Championships, he found 23 letters buried in his luggage. They were hidden there by Russians who hoped he would mail them to their relatives in the U.
When the company filmed at a ski resort in Israel, artillery fire boomed in the background. If there was snow to ski on, the Warren Miller crew managed to get there. InWarren brought on acclaimed rock music promoter Terry Bassett as his partner, and he began to think about toning down his hour work days and hectic travel schedule.
Inhe sold the film company to his son Kurt Miller and his partner Peter Speek. Kurt Miller and Speek sold the film company in to Time Inc. It was a chance meeting that would shape the remainder of his years.
Laurie become his staunch supporter, partner, and his wife they married on March 9, She also introduced him to the San Juan Islands in Washington, where the two built a home on Orcas Island and have lived and boated from for the past 26 years.
InWarren led the effort to build on Orcas Island what would become one of the world's foremost skateboard parks. Warren and Laurie Miller bought a home in Vail inand Warren began to ease up on his busy workload, ramp up his powder days, and make a series of strong, lasting friendships. He also began to concentrate on his writing, producing a weekly column that was published in newspapers around ski country, accumulating roughly columns.
The two helped support the club through the good and bad times, and the club is now flourishing with an A-list of members. The Millers built a slope-side home above the base area, which is anchored by the ,square-foot Warren Miller Lodge. For the next 19 years, they spent four months of each winter in Montana and the rest of the year on Orcas Island. Among the dozens of honors Warren accumulated over his career, he was inducted into the U. His filming exploits, which began when there were only a handful of resorts in the U.
Through the years, luminaries in business, politics, entertainment, and sports migrated to Warren, to his camera, and to his persona. He regularly promoted skiing through appearances on "Good Morning America" and with Johnny Carson, and he gave Dan Quayle ski fashion tips. Regrets through the years? Warren revealed plenty in his autobiography, from his lack of formal business training to his own parenting. As a result, in those two very important disciplines, I was way beyond bankruptcy several times during my career, but too naive to know it.
The ski season did not start until the local ski club or ski shop rented the latest film for its town. They will tell me how I used to walk out on the stage and introduce the film in their city, and they can remember the sound of my voice and seeing my bald head shining from the corner of the stage. The experience of starting and running a business, no matter how small, introduces the principles of the American economic system.
They supplied the helicopter. At Alpental, the first time they showed it, they showed it twice in one day, once in Tacoma and once in Seattle — they sold 72 vacant lots. But I am not going to sit here and criticize any movies that the other guys are making now.
They are doing a marvelous job of making movies. Racing and Europe I went to Europe the second or third year I was in the business and my eyes were instantly opened over there. They sent people up to altitude for the pure air; they got up out of the cold, latent smog of the valleys.
When it came time to build a lift, they built them up a winding, south-facing slope and then you skied down the back.
This little kid that grew up in Hollywood has a chance to go and ski in Zurs, Austria with Herbert [Scheinder? Racing in the films…one racer looks exactly like the next. I gave up filming ski races when Buddy Werner was killed. But did I want to go with a film of the Olympics when it had already been on television?
Plus, they wanted an exorbitant amount of money for the rights. I decided to put it into the movie. I just drifted away from it. I came to the conclusion that the real heroes were the mountains themselves.
There is an analogy here with mountains and golf. No matter how long you play golf the course will win every time. NXNW I think a lot of the Northwestern influence on the early films had to do with the cooperation of the guys at Snoqualmie, Alpental and Crystal…they were very nice to me and they have great terrain.
My wife had a ski school at Snoqualmie Pass, and the place is really a kindergarten of skiing. And Crystal is truly an awesome mountain… great scenery in the background of every shot.
All told, I have done 92 half-hour films on a variety of subjects. I made them about how to make wine, how to go to France…New Zealand, a lot of tourist films, made one for Micronesia Airlines, the French government, made one on sailboats.
A lot of that started out so that I could use my sailboat as a tax deduction, the J 24 took us all the way to the world championships in Australia. Going into the finals with 96 racers, my kid driving, we three-way tied for first and ended up third.
The first summer we [Warren and wife Laurie] came up here, she was going on a bicycle trip. We got on the Anacortes ferry; sailboats in the background, stunning views of Mt. Baker and I thought: We cruised up here for three weeks in the San Juan Islands. In our third year we were in that boat for six weeks, four-hundred miles north.
That winter, I tore my rotator cuff in Aspen — we were living in Vail at the time. One thing led to another. We had looked at almost everything that was on the island for sale and we were staying with a lot of friends. Someone said there is an old burn-out foundation that you guys should look at. The house had burnt down in and no one had been there since then. We hung out and walked down to the point decided that we wanted to buy the place.
We were only there for 30 minutes. I think a lot of the Northwestern influence on the early films had to do with the cooperation of the guys at Snoqualmie, Alpental and Crystal Mountain …they were very nice to me and they have great terrain.
I would sell a page of advertising in my giveaway program. Since they were advertising in the program they might as well send me half-dozen parkas to put on the skiers. I think the biggest commitment I ever got was a round-the-world ticket with Pan America one year.
We went to Japan that was the dumbest thing I ever did and to India, and to Switzerland. Laurie and I were in Maui for the summer and I came back for a production meeting and one of the guys [from the Hollywood company who had purchased half of Warren Miller Entertainment at that time] said, we want you to save the first week of September because we have a surprise for you.
Soon thereafter our five year contract was up and based on their lack of knowledge on what the success of the company was really founded on — which was my storytelling — if I thought after five years, that this was all they really understood? That is when I sold my half to [son] Kurt and he bought their half.
I had a friend that was an Academy Award animator and he tried for years to get me into the motion picture academy. I was never allowed. You know the whole time I was making movies, only once was there a union issue with a skier. I believe in charging a fair market price for the time and talent at that point in my career.
I treat the people that work for me the same way I would treat a plumber. If I pay a plumber to fix my toilet for me, I am not going to pay him every time I flush it. I spent two-and-a-half years writing a book about aging. The working title is: My favorite movie is the next one I make…there were so many high points while I was making them. A lot of that stuff will get be in my biography.
They are just all in my brain. Pfeiffer, a Canadian, moved to Squaw Valley in to apprentice as a ski instructor and served as the head of the ski school at Snow Summit, Calif. He is now a member of both the U.
Icons Hannes Schnieder Hannes was a wonderful person and incredible skier. He would have been in his sixties at that time. Gary Nate was filming at Squaw Valley and sent all his footage back. One shot really tweaked my imagination; Scot Schmidt was skiing and made a left hand turn, dropped off about a foot cliff and kept on skiing through the powder.
So we featured him that year and for the next four or five years. He came from Bridger Bowl and had come to Squaw Valley to become a ski racer. The steeps and freedom at Squaw Valley were much more attractive to him than running slalom gates while everyone else was skiing in the powder. We took him to Australia and Europe.
We sent him to a lot of places. He appeared in the films for three or four, five years in a row. Dick Barrymore I had the longest running film career, and Dick had the next. Dick made feature films for years, which is really quite long. Bill Janss InI met Bill Janss in Yosemite National Park, where he was the winter sports director; he had already done his tour of duty and he gave me my first ski lesson.
We became really good friends and then he went through that tragedy where he almost lost both of his kids and his wife in that fire in Sherwood, he kind of disappeared for eight or nine years. When he bought Sun Valley we became reacquainted.
A Place for all Seasons. He ended up selling me 11 acres for a really good price. I subdivided it and did really well. He was an all-time giving human being; the only person that was better than him, was his wife and unfortunately she was killed in an avalanche. She almost lost her life previously in a fire, jumped out of the second floor window, found a ladder to go back and get her kids, she was pregnant at the time.
The family is still very well regarded in that valley. When Ted Johnson was rounding up mining claims in Little Cottonwood, he came to Southern California and we talked about it. Anyway, Barrymore shot an awful lot of footage for him Ted at Snowbird and that summer when he wanted to make a dog-and-pony show out of it he was too busy doing something else and he asked me if I would edit it.
Somebody said that there is somebody down in Texas that really likes to ski and you should show it to him down there. So he drove down, met Dick Bass and showed him the movie.
Dick was in the middle of a seven summit [summiting the highest peak on each continent, Dick Bass later published a book on the experience: We skied together a lot at Vail; I skied with him every time he came to Vail. He always skied top-to-bottom without stopping. One spring he called me on a Monday and said he had a helicopter arranged and wanted me to come down for the weekend. I told him I would really like to, but Laurie and I were moving to Orcas that weekend and we already had it all planned.
You have to come and ski with us. Otto Lang Otto became a very dear friend when I met Laurie. He was living in Southern CA at the time and we became very close the last 20 years of his life. When he was something he wrote his autobiography; he said he did it for his children. He has been in the back of my mind the whole time I have been writing mine.
He wrote it on yellow-lined paper with a ball-point pen. Wrote it when he was 90, it is a great read: His mother showed up one day and said they were going to Europe, put him on a boat, and went to Germany and Austria.
On the boat they found a brochure for Garmisch, so they went to Garmisch. He was so much better a skier than anyone else in America at that time. He really was the Jean Claude Killy of his day. He was the first person in the Aspen Ski Corporation. He made movies for Boeing during the war and made a lot of prize-winning short films.
He was a great filmer, he made the first ski film in Sun Valley. He came to Boyne Mountain and was paid more than anyone had ever been paid as ski school director. He skied in front of my camera that first year and about three years later I showed my film in Detroit and he got really angry. Every picture you see of Stein he is turning left like this.
So, I got a projector and put it in the hotel room. He told me that all the years he skied, no coach had ever told him that. We went to Southern California for a ski race, one of those big celebrity things. About this tall, eleven years old, she was in a wheelchair, her legs were in casts. After everyone had their picture taken with her, I picked her up in my arms and found her mother.
I asked her mother if I could take her up on the chairlift. We got on the chairlift and this girl gave me the best hug I have ever had in my life. I skied down with her in my arms; by the time I made my third, turn she was giving high fives to everybody.
Got back on the lift and next time I skied down with her between my legs. Then we went through the race course and she was sticking her hands out to hit the poles. I called her a week later and told her mom I was making arrangements for her and her family to be flown to Winterpark to teach Tracy how to ski. When I called back her mother said that she was outside with her brothers running their Olympic luge course in her wheelchair. This gal has spirit. A camera man and sound man went along with Tracy to Winterpark.
The sound man did a great job. There was a guy there named Mike May, who blew his eyes out when he was three years old. He was completely blind and trying to break the world speed record on skis for a blind man. The insurance companies found out and told Snowmass that if Mike went through the start gate that their insurance would be cancelled. We had just driven so far to film Mike.
He set the world record at 73 mph for a blind guy. He comes and ski with us, we were skiing on a run called Family Tree, then we went and had lunch, then in the afternoon we went back to Family Tree and he asked if he could go first. We skied top to bottom. At the bottom of every ski run you ever make, you are a different person than you when you got off at the top. At the Yellowstone Club one time, we shut the place down, and Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife, and his bodyguard showed up.
For a few days at the club, we were the only ones skiing. One bodyguard was on a snowboard and the others were on skis. None of them were very good, but they all had years of army training and were very strong. Level 1, Lawyers and Insanity JG: With the whole Level 1 thing, what happened…? I narrated five little stories for their film, answered five questions, and the next thing I know the film company [WME] took offense to that… JG: They went after the kids at Level 1 right?
It was an interview. It was not different than what we are doing right now. You put the exact word on that: I have been doing a lot of Don Quixote things my whole life, I just believe in this freedom thing. I always tell young people moving to the mountain to get an electric blanket, go to a and give the guy working a five dollar bill to plug in. If you have seven different places that you can plug in one night a week, well there you go. When I talk to people about their first day on skis — and I could ramble on about this — if you learned to ski or snowboard after the age of five you can remember everything about that day.
What time you got up, the clothes you wore, the socks you wore, where you went, what you had for lunch, who you met, what you did, everything about it.
Can you remember anything else in that time frame that exactly? Once a person completes a turn, the adrenaline really comes rushing out. You know when you went skiing it changed your life forever. Did it change you for the worst? If you had been destined to become a criminal, you would have become one whether you skied or not. I use a term that is not very polite, but it is a real psychological enema every time you ski down the hill.
Because earning enough money to enjoy that freedom is getting more and more difficult.
If you sit down with a pencil and paper and add it up, it is a shocking figure. At the same time there are a lot of people that live a two-day drive away, and four, five, or six people stay up all night driving in a van.
Ogden: Volkswagen Presents Warren Miller's "Face of Winter"
That is the other side of the equation that I encourage. I was really fortunate because I grew up with almost zero supervision and I had freedom my whole life.
I was just really lucky. Board with the World I raised my kids on the beach of Hermosa. When the kids started skateboarding, it was on bun boards, which were burnt-out pieces of wood on which the baker would cool buns.
They were spray painted red, with metal wheels. The police would harass them, so they invented a whole generation of kids who were waving the finger at the police. Later, I realized how much that freedom meant on a skateboard.
The superintendent of the school gave a piece of land. We started interviewing skate park contractors. I hired a contractor, Mark Hubbard, that was building a skate park in Eugene, but lived out of the back of his car — so I knew he was perfect for the job. Within some time we raised a quarter-million dollars from people on the island for the remainder of the construction. People were coming from Bellingham, getting on the ferry at five in the morning to lay concrete.
This reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, from Tom Watson his father invented IBMwhich I found on his refrigerator one time I stayed with him: The Kiwanis Club donated bleachers and put up a plaque saying they had donated them, so we took that plaque down. Nobody was getting any credit for the park. It was a place for kids on the island to go and be free; the only stipulation is that they have to wear a helmet.
Warren Miller | Australia | Home
Shaped Skis It changed things very dramatically. If they still made skis the way they did in the fifties, less than one fourth of the people doing it today would do it. Go to the Salvation Army, get some of that old equipment, go up to Mt.