Remembering Warren Miller and his impact on all those who love to ski (letter)
Warren Miller, America’s first major ski film producer, passed away last week at the age of 93. Mr. Miller did more to introduce Americans to skiing than any man in the history of the sport. How many of us spending time in the beautiful Vail Valley first heard of Vail’s Back Bowls in a Warren Miller movie? I count myself among this group.
I remember seeing my first Warren Miller film: The year was 1966, and I was in eighth grade. A neighboring family invited me to join them when they drove the 40 miles to Portland, Maine, to see a Warren Miller film in a high school gym.
Warren narrated the film, complete with jokes and ad-libs. There in front of me were graceful skiers in colorful sweaters skiing Vail’s Back Bowls in waist-deep powder under bluebird skies — did this place really exist? I was used to clunky rope tows, howling winds and icy slopes.
My first Warren Miller film changed my life. I was hooked on skiing. I chose college based on skiing, the University of Vermont. Dates with my wife of 38 years were ski dates, and now our dream retirement is spent in the Vail Valley — all because of a movie I saw more than 40 years ago. When Warren and his traveling road show arrived in your town, it was a signal winter was just around the corner.
Warren’s wit and aphorisms were as memorable as his films. Here are a few of my favorite Miller quips:
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• “If you don’t do it this year, you will be a year older when you do.”
• “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.”
• The best place to ski in the world is the place where you are skiing that day.”
• “Adventure is the an invitation for common people to become uncommon.”
As Warren ended every show I would say: Warren, thank you and good night.