Is it Winter Yet?
When I was a kid here in Southern California, August wasn’t the end of Summer. In the north east and in the Rockies, September turns leaves pretty colors and brings them to the ground. Kids would awake to cool mornings and warm jackets and October brings flurries. Here in SoCal, we’re still hovering in the 80s and temps into the 100s are not out of the norm.
What always felt like the arrival of winter was hearing my dad mention the name Warren Miller. If this name is unfamiliar to you, Winter means something different to you than I. To me it’s about finding a way down a mountain with skis strapped to my feet and yelling at dad, to “watch this”! Warren Miller took “Watch This” to an art form and has continued to do it for more than fifty years.
Dad would throw us into our lifted black GMC Jimmy (it was sweet) and we’d make the trek down to Santa Monica, to the civic auditorium. There, we and other like minded souls were grinning ear to ear as we made our way across the gigantic parking lot, half floating. We’d file into the massive space, sit in our seats, and were treated to otherworldly sights and sounds. On the screen were foreign languages and foreign lands, with foreign names like Zermatt, Verbier, and of course, Chamonix.
Warren Miller invented a genre, the modern ski film. He brought you along on his adventures and his affectation for skiing and travel were contagious. His willingness to embrace new technologies, new sports, and the next big thing has endeared him to adrenalin junkies for six decades. There was no prerecorded track with a canned announcer describing the action on that big silver screen, Warren himself was there with microphone in hand calling the play by play. I’m sure there was a script, but it never felt scripted. Even with his intentionally corny jokes. This wasn’t your typical corner theater movie experience, this was an event!
I was one of the lucky ones, my father moved from LA to Aspen, Colorado, when I was a kid. Even living in one of the best ski destinations in the world (Go Skiers!), the new Warren Miller movie was seen by the locals as something special. Sitting in the dark in the Isis Theater, with actual cold weather outside, full of like minded souls, is something I’ll never forget.
Yesterday, I got an email alerting me to the newest WM film coming soon. It brought me straight back to that feeling from when I was a kid, hurrying across the parking lot in 80 degree weather, so that I wouldn’t miss a single moment even though I knew the movie hadn’t started. I’ll be taking my 9 year old this year. She loves to ski.
I hope it’s a scorcher.