Cap-gun fight on Lost Boy |

Cap-gun fight on Lost Boy

Compiled by Allen R. Smith

By the end of the ski season, it was fairly typical for the instructors in our ski school to get a little rambunctious. Practical jokes were often the order of the day – played on each other as well as clients.It all started when one of my fellow instructors, Richard, pulled out a toy cap gun at the morning split and informed me that he was going to have some fun.Two of us were assigned level 5 classes. Late in the afternoon, we found ourselves close to each other on Lost Boy.Cap-gun toting Richard happened to ski by the other instructor and pointed the gun at him. He pulled the hammer back and squeezed the trigger. Boom!Playing along with the act, the instructor hit the ground, and lay motionless in the snow.At that, Richard announced, “Good afternoon, everyone. Your previous instructor will be unable to ski with you for the rest of the day, so I’ll be your instructor. Please follow me and do exactly what I say.”Bewildered and not really sure what to do, the class shrugged their shoulders and followed Richard without question, leaving the other instructor behind on the snow.A good instructor always knows how to control their class.- Tom Henderson, VailThose early days of ski cinemaLong before alpine skiing took off for the masses, I used to film my friends’ rudimentary attempts at skiing.In the evenings over beer, we would gather around the projector and kibitz each other’s futile attempts at staying upright. Soon, another unknown ski photographer named Warren Miller starting making his own 8-mm films with more commercial aspirations.Some of Warren’s early attempts at filmmaking were primitive, at best. It was not uncommon for his films to have overexposed frames and scenes where the camera moved around with a large thumb in the corner of the screen.So, before he went out on the road to present his films to paying customers, he would show them to his friends. This gave him the opportunity to get feedback and allowed him to practice his narration.Film also was expensive in the 1940s, so Warren tried to use as much of the raw footage as possible, discarding little. Instead of tossing unused footage in the trash, he would work it into his presentation and gloss it over with witty dialogue.Aware that I had made some early ski films of my own, Warren came up to me after one of his screenings and asked, “Wolfgang, what did you think about the film? I only had to discard 35 feet of footage.”I looked at him and said, “Yes. That’s the problem.”- Wolfgang Lert, San FranciscoVail, Colorado

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