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Feeding the addiction

special to the Vail TrailMiller's "Off the Grid" takes viewers on ski adventures in Alaska, Colorado and Kashmir, India.
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I’m sitting in Avon’s Cuisine Cafe on a rainy Friday morning eating one of Mike’s famous breakfast burritos while preparing myself to write an article about the upcoming ski film tour. Procrastinating, I grab a copy of the Vail Daily and on the front cover is a quote from the “Tipsline” that sticks out as bright as the sun. It says “I’m looking at the mountain, getting ready for snow, watching a little Warren Miller and ready to go. This is the best place in the world to be.”

And there it is, my article, summed up in a quote from an anonymous call-in.

First the leaves start changing, the snow line begins to move slowly down the elevation and then finally “BAMM!, the annual Warren Miller ski film comes to town, signifying that winter is officially here. The Warren Miller tour highlights the reason we live here. For those of you that take half a day off each time it snows over 8 inches, I pray that you have more half days than you can handle this season.

Personally, this is a very special time of year. This is when the work of the previous year and summer comes together and is celebrated. During this two-month period leading right up to and a little past the opening of the first ski run I will emcee more than 70 shows, 20 schools events and a few charity events. My job is to spread “Millerism” like a virus and get people addicted to our wonderful sport. It’s a blast.

The reward of this work is that it is presented in a nice package, a film. When the light hits the screen, Warren Miller Entertainment takes us on a trip around the world with pro skiers and boarders. Showing the audience what they should be doing, rather than what they are doing now, changes lives. Yes, some, including me, have taken the message a little too literally, while others keep it in perspective and just enjoy it for what it is – a distraction from everyday life and perhaps an incentive to book a ski vacation to get away from that humdrum.

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of almost every aspect of the film itself. Let’s see, I have been a member of the audience, an athlete in the film, a promoter of the film and I have even swept the mailroom at the offices just so they won’t forget me. It’s distracted me from what I think society wanted me to do. Yes, I blame the film for my dysfunctional life, as well as my parents.

It’s just as addicting to watch these movies as it is to go to them. I mean why else would I have spent hours on top of mountains, anchored onto a 40-degree slope in full body armor, waiting for one cloud to move from in front of the sun while freezing my butt off, as I get ready to drop into a rocky chute the moment the cameraman says “ACTION, WE HAVE LIGHT!”

See ya at the film this year. VT


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