Warren Miller’s ‘Chasing Shadows’ screens at Beaver Creek on Friday, Saturday | VailDaily.com

Warren Miller’s ‘Chasing Shadows’ screens at Beaver Creek on Friday, Saturday

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Athletes Lexi duPont, Amie Engerbretson, and McKenna Peterson spent two weeks in Valdez skiing big mountain lines with Valdez Heli-Ski Guides.
Mike Bachman | Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: Showing of Warren Miller’s “Chasing Shadows.”

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.

When: Friday at 3 and 8 p.m., and Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m.

Cost: $19.

More information: Visit www.vilarpac.org.

You know when work calls and asks you to come up with come chaps real quick for an important project?

Yeah, that’s what happened to big-mountain skier Chris Anthony in January when producer Josh Haskins, of Warren Miller Entertainment, called and asked if Anthony could make an impromptu trip to Steamboat Springs for some footage in “Chasing Shadows.”

“He said, ‘They have a Cowboy Downhill there, and we’re going to try and shoot something there,’” remembered Anthony.

He did just that, aiming to join 50-some cowboys and cowgirls for the annual stock show tradition. Here’s how it works — they leave their horses for the day and tear down the slopes in Steamboat in an all-out mass race. Nevermind that some of them are on skis for the first time. Then again, Anthony is in his 26th Warren Miller film this year, so that kind of thing doesn’t really faze him.

“They dressed me up as a cowboy, but they didn’t have any chaps for me. So I posted on Facebook that I was in need of some chaps, and 15 minutes later, a cowgirl showed up with some chaps from their ranch,” Anthony said. “I got to be in the race chaos with two GoPros to capture the action. It was classic Warren Miller stuff — the chaos of skiing.”

Around the world with Warren Miller

The Cowboy Downhill is just one segment and one location in “Chasing Shadows,” which has been screening all over the country. It comes to Beaver Creek later this week to get audiences psyched for the ski season. The annual screening of the latest Warren Miller flick has become tradition for some, an official launch to the winter.

“Chasing Shadows” takes viewers to the French Alps, Alaska’s Chugach, Utah’s Wasatch, the Chilean Andes and the Himalayas, with the likes of J.T. Holmes, Seth Wescott, Caroline Gleich, Steven Nyman, Marcus Caston, Ingrid Backstrom and more as they pursue turns on the biggest mountains they can find.

Lexi duPont, a K2 skier who spent her college years in Colorado, was among a team of three women who filmed a heliski segment in Alaska. In fact, they were the first female K2-sponsored trip, and the adventure included skiing the classic Pyramid Peak.

“I got to watch the (other two girls) absolutely shred this mountain — not just to get down it, but to see them completely confidently rip it — that was amazing,” she said, adding that viewers will feel the energy of the group in the film. “When you’re with a group of girls, it’s really fun, and it’s just different compared to filming with a bunch of guys. We’re more of a team and cheer each other on.”

The film invites viewers to get a glimpse into the world of the U.S. freestyle team and the snowsports that live on the fringe, such as monoskiing, powsurfing and speedriding. The film explores what it is about culturally rich locations and snow-covered summits that motivate big-mountain skiers and snowboarders to keep searching and chasing after a feeling, a memory, a storm or a turn.

Anthony said he feels “Chasing Shadows” goes back to the roots of Warren Miller films.

“There’s a lot more soul in it. It’s back to the core of what Warren envisioned for these films. It’s very much a celebration of the art of filmmaking,” he said.

Warren Miller then and now

After 26 years with Warren Miller films, Anthony said he’s impressed by how much the films have changed. He points to segments like duPont’s, featuring badass women athletes.

“It’s interesting watching women portrayed in ski films go from ski bunnies to full-on athletes,” he said.

The technology has pushed the envelope along with the athletes, too, he said. The films went from film to digital a few years ago, and audiences at “Chasing Shadows” will get to see drone footage.

“Getting shots with these aerial drones is amazing. It’s like skiing with a UFO following you,” he said. “Also, GoPros are so light and small now. Years ago I’d do a point-of-view shot carrying a 15- to 20-pound camera duct taped to my hand, doing some pretty crazy maneuvers. They were heavy, bulky, and they had three minutes of film. The batteries ran out all the time on it.”

Assistant Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and mwong@vaildaily.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.