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Ski action through the ages on screen in Vail Valley

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail Daily/Peter MathisVail ski film: Chris Davenport, Lorraine Huber and Karine Falck-Perderson in Norway.
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – For snow seekers in Colorado’s Vail Valley, the sound of Warren Miller’s deep voice is immediately recognizable. And it wasn’t officially ski season until you heard his iconic voice and witty humor. Thre’s no question – Miller was on to something when he strapped boards to his feet and used a hand-held 8-millimeter movie camera to film the first ski movie in the late ’40s, nearly 10 years before Vail Mountain was even a passing thought in Pete Seibert’s or Earl Eaton’s head.

“Sixty is pretty much an unprecendeted number,” said Max Bervy, the managing director and executive producer of “Dynasty,” the lastest Warren Miller film, which celebrates 60 years of filmmaking. “We wouldn’t be here today certainly without Warren starting the whole thing. … He truly pioneered the whole genre of action-sports films.”

The film makes its Eagle County premiere Friday night at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. There are also two showings set for Saturday night – 6 and 9 p.m.

For Bervy and the rest of the Warren Miller crew, the word “dynasty” refers to a group of people, a family, that has influenced many generations.

“And Warren Miller Entertainment has done that – influenced skiers and snowboarders for 60 years,” Bervy said. “Skiing is one of those sports that is passed down from one generation to the next. If you’re a skier, chances are you were introduced to it by your parents. All of us that work here, we love the sport. We love the mountains, and that’s something we want to share with your family. It’s the audience, our fans, that fires us up to work hard, to raise the bar each year. And it certainly inspires us to get out there every opportunity we can.”

Warren Miller fans run the gamut in age, Bervy said.

“If you go to the film, there is 6- to 90-year-olds and everyone in between, so you try to include something that connects with each one of those people,” he said. “‘Dynasty’ is a film that gathers the generations under one roof, from the Crist family patriarch to Daron Rahlves and the explosion of young terrain-park talent they’ve inspired. It’s like a family reunion, held in neck-deep pow, with mandatory air required for entry.”

Filmmakers went to the archives this year to resurrect vintage footage, Bervy said. Those moments are combined with shots from around the globe – Alaska, British Columbia and more. There’s local athlete Chris Anthony’s trek into China’s interior to find the birthplace of skiing and Aspenite Chris Davenport bagging some of Norway’s highest peaks. Eagle County native and pro skier Matt Luczkow and Crested Butte telemark skier Max Mancini took part in the two Colorado segments of the film. The boys spent two weeks filming with Warren Miller filmmakers back in March. They went heli skiing in Silverton, used snowmobiles to access untracked powder near Aspen and even made a stop in Keystone.

“It was a dream come true,” Lucskow said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’m heli skiing for free with Warren Miller. This is so awesome.'”

Warren Miller himself, now 85, sold the company 20 years ago and doesn’t narrate the films anymore.

Instead, Olympic gold medalist skier Jonny Moseley narrates the film for the third year in a row. And really, there’s less narration and more of a focus on individual stories in the more recent Warren Miller films, Bervy said.

“We’ve enabled the athletes to do a better job telling their own story,” he said. “They tell the essence of what’s going on versus having to have our narration do that.”

Despite a few tweaks, there’s a fundamental formula that Bervy strives to maintain, he said.

“As equipment changes, guys and girls find ways to go bigger, and we want to be there to capture it and document it in the best way possible.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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