Warren Miller, and his films, changed life trajectory of Vail Ski School instructor | VailDaily.com

Warren Miller, and his films, changed life trajectory of Vail Ski School instructor

Robert Hay
Special to the Daily

Warren Miller Day

Saturday, April 7

3 p.m. — Commemorative ski down Vail Mountain from the top of Mountain Top Express (Chair No. 4) to Mid-Vail.

4 to 6 p.m. — Legacy Celebration at Sarge’s Mid-Vail, with live music and guest speakers and cash bar and appetizers for sale. All guests must download Gondola One to Vail Village at 6 p.m.

3 p.m. to close — Legacy After Party Celebrations at Bridge Street Bar, Pepi’s and Vendetta’s in Vail Village; Tavern on the Square and the Vail Chophouse in Lionshead Village; and Coyote Cafe in Beaver Creek.

Editor’s note: Robert Hay is the winner of the Vail Daily’s Warren Miller Day contest, which asked readers to share their stories about what the iconic filmmaker meant to them. He received two tickets to the Warren Miller Day VIP reception at the Colorado Snowsports Museum on Friday, April 6.

I am a Southern boy from the hills of Kentucky. I do not remember even being aware of skiing as a teenager.

The Vietnam War brought me to the West Coast and left me with a job in Seattle with the Department of Defense.

That first autumn in Seattle, my new friends were headed to the Fifth Avenue Theater for the annual Warren Miller film — “you are coming, right?”

That film, “Ski People,” was the invitation to skiing that changed my life. I had to join the people getting out and experiencing the White Magic. In Seattle, being a skier made the difference between being trapped in the endless, wet, depressing gray drizzle and escaping to the white winter heat to join the Children of Winter.

It is safe to say that without that change, brought on by that first magical night listening to Warren narrate his own film in his unique humor, I would have abandoned Seattle and gone back to my former flat-land existence, never realizing the winter wonder I had missed.

I was fortunate to meet Warren personally a few times and be present for his in-house film narrations for years to come. I do believe that I have seen and been inspired by every Warren Miller film since then.

I am now honored to call myself a Vail Ski School instructor and resident of Vail. Vail is like no place else, and there’s no place else I’d rather be.

The legacy of Warren Miller lives on.

Thank you, Warren, for changing my life for the better.

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