Chris Anthony: Warren Miller set the stage for a way life while documenting it (column)
I received the news of Warren’s passing from an old friend and Warren Miller cameraman, Chris Patterson. Patterson and I had spent years on the road together filming amazing stories around the planet for the annual Warren Miller film and shows called Warren Miller Global Adventures. Patterson and I were part of a family that did amazing things because of what our inherited grandfather, Warren Miller, had created.
His mission didn’t just bond Patterson and I together, it brought millions of people together. This is a huge loss for the ski industry.
There will never be another Warren Miller. Our world now has far too much ADD to embrace this approach to storytelling ever again. Warren did what he did out of passion and pure love, as well as the need to do more of it. My guess is that when the first film came out 69 years ago, Warren had no clue his personal struggle to chase down the free lift ticket would lead to being a roll model for millions.
As a kid I, dreamt of one day being one of those skiers on the big screen, with Warren saying my name and the audience being astounded by both his voice and my skiing. When it happened, it proved that dreams can come true, and for 28 years, I became part of the film’s characters and hosted the show in front of hundreds of thousands of people. I saw this power firsthand for three generations from the front row.
Warren Miller created a religion that I nicknamed “Millerism.” It was a way to live and take on life. It didn’t have a manual to follow, but it had films to watch that would give his audience guidance every fall.
While on the road with the film for 28 years, I would hear the statement “Warren changed my life,” over and over from his followers. I believe that Warren has been the single most influential personality on American skiing, if not worldwide.
In the years following my first Warren Miller film appearance in 1989, it was recognized that I was good with kids. Eventually, I was asked by the state’s ski areas marketing partnership, Colorado Ski Country, if I would be the spokesperson for the fifth-grade passport program. I was honored and immediately designed a school program that would take me into the classroom armed with my international segments from the films.
Suddenly, I had the attention of every student and teacher, and in that scenario, the sky is the limit on what you can teach. This eventually led to the creation of the Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project, with a mission to improve quality of life through educational enrichment opportunities. Over 20 years I have visited with more than 70,000 students in a variety of classrooms.
I hosted sometimes as many as 80 Warren Miller shows a year, putting myself in front of hundred of thousands of people. A few years ago, when I introduced myself to a young girl named Mikaela Shiffrin, she said, “I know who you are. I grew up watching the Warren Miller movies.”
I have said the name Warren Miller a few hundred thousand times in my life, and I’m sure it will be voiced countless times more. Why? Because his impact is immeasurable. Because this man, Warren Miller, set the stage for a way life while documenting it. I will miss this passion dearly.
Longtime Vail Valley resident Chris Anthony has appeared in 28 Warren Miller films.