Warren Miller was snow sports institution. He documented ski bums, bunnies and novelty acts alike in his 70 odd years of making movies. Of course, by the time he skied his last run, the guy had spent decades behaving like a crotchety old man (as was his right, as a crotchety old man).
As you probably saw on some blog or other, last week we said goodbye to the godfather of the ski movie. So in honour of the man himself, what are the best Warren Miller films of all time?
In this case, ‘all time’ only includes films made before Miller sold his company in 1998. You know, the ones he had a hand in creating. As awesome as some of the films that came later are, we’ve excluded them from the running here.
One of the best openings to a ski movie, with some very retro skills on show. If you ignore the impossibly 80s soundtrack, segments of this film still look pretty fresh. The synchronised skiing section is pretty cool, and watching the precursor to park skiing is always interesting.
The opening ten minutes of this film includes the sort of powder skiing you’d see today, and the sort of bindings you definitely wouldn’t. If there’s any film that’ll show you simultaneously how much has changed in the sport, and how much hasn’t, it’s this one. Also, tandem skiing is the strangest idea anyone has ever had, and I can’t believe it was a thing.
Gaper day starts here ladies and gentlemen; this film focuses on the skiing’s original party towns. Essentially, it’s all ridiculous clothing and late nights in Swiss towns like Gstaad. It’s also got a nice demonstration of ‘stunting’, aka the forefather of freeskiing.
Steep and Deep was the first ski film to be properly cool, rather than just a little bit silly. It’s the film that introduced cliff hucking, and gave a whole new generation of skiers the idea that they could make an actual living from skiing. We’re talking about the evolution of ski films in action.
What else could come in first place, but the original Miller ski film? An hour and a half of skiing as it was in 1950, narrated by the man himself and set to church music. It doesn’t exactly look or sound like the sort of picture that Miller’s production company were putting out half a century later, but honestly that’s half the fun.