Former professional snowboarder Celia Miller of Frisco wins Ski.com Dream Job for Big Sky, Montana
FRISCO — When Celia Miller takes to Big Sky Resort in Montana next month for her weeklong Ski.com Dream Job, the Frisco resident says she will have the ultimate opportunity to do the two things she loves: snowboard and produce content.
“I feel like I’m pulling from both of my worlds,” Miller said. “This is kind of the perfect job for that.”
Miller is a former professional snowboarder who in recent years has parlayed her success in the backcountry and on the competition scene to create opportunities for herself to learn more about photography, filmmaking and producing. Like many members of Summit County’s community, Miller goes from one job to the next, in her case creating and producing action sports content and working jobs on the hill.
But it was about as far away from Rocky Mountain snow as she could be, while on vacation in Costa Rica, when Miller found out about the Ski.com Dream Job. Submitting her application last-minute from the warm Costa Rican sunshine in October, Miller explained why she was the ideal candidate to document her exploration of the terrain at Big Sky in Montana for the site’s videos intended to showcase how come vacations at spots such as Big Sky are worth the trip.
Miller has extensive experience creating and producing action sports content, from working with pro skateboarders and BMX bikers in California to executing branded content for Colorado companies such as the Aspen-based winter apparel company Obermeyer. On the heels of her competitive snowboarding career, Miller has gone out of her way to soak up as much as she can about her new passion, learning details specific to lighting, lenses and cameras to take her skills to the next level.
When she teams with professional videographer and photographer Ben Saheb of Steamboat Springs in Big Sky, Miller will look to create content that speaks to the resort’s unique thrills, such as riding the Big Couloir off Lone Peak and riding under the stars with guided headlamp night skiing.
Miller and Saheb are two of 12 content creators out of 1,500 applicants Ski.com hired for its second annual Dream Job. With the selection, Miller will have an all-expense paid VIP experience as well as receive $2,000, flights on United Airlines and gear from Stio, Black Crows, Giro and GoPro.
Along with Big Sky, Ski.com is sending teams of two to Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta, Chamonix, France and Niseko, Japan. In Big Sky, Miller said she will document her experience throughout the week via live Instagram posts and a Ski.com video to cap it all off.
“The reason I’m psyched to go to Big Sky is I think it’s going to be more of a raw organic experience versus going to a resort that’s more cookie cutter,” Miller said. “I feel like Big Sky is still an unexplored territory, from what I’ve heard. I’m stoked to not go to a town that is so overly developed. It’ll be more of a raw, expansive cowboy town, and I’ve heard the terrain is unbelievable.
“In my mind, I’m picturing a wild Jackson Hole or something like that. I think this will be fun because I’m kind of in charge of exploring for myself and having an opinion on where I am. I’m not tied into Ski.com or Big Sky aside from going there. They want a real experience.”
Once Miller is done with her adventure in Big Sky, she’ll turn her attention to Winter X Games in Aspen, where she’ll be a judge for her third time. In 2017, Miller became the first woman to judge an X Games competition. She remains the only female judge at the annual winter event. Miller said she was encouraged to explore the idea of snowboard competition judging from former French Canadian pro snowboarder-turned-judge Giom Morissette.
Miller also credits Breckenridge local and former pro snowboarder Chad Otterstrom with teaching her everything she knows in the backcountry and helping her learn the ropes of snowboard contest judging, as Otterstrom is regarded as one of the best judges for the sport in the world.
Miller said she soon learned the requisite trick analysis and stenography skills to accurately judge the highest-levels of snowboarding within the fast-paced, pressure-packed deadline of scoring X Games and Dew Tour level competitions — everything from halfpipe to slopestyle to big air. This winter, she’s also in line to judge the X Games’ second annual Knuckle Huck competition and the event’s new rail jam comp.
“At a lot of the contests I was always curious about what they were seeing, how they view the runs,” Miller said. “It’s like solving a math problem. It takes a lot of concentration. You are literally writing as you watch the tricks, translating it from your head to the paper. It’s very hard for some people to do, but it makes sense for me. I feel like I’ve been immersed in this world so long it comes naturally.”
For downvalley humans, it’s pretty cool when elk decide to hunker down around Eagle for the winter. For the elk, it’s more of a lesser-of-two-evils situation.