Warren Miller

Thanks to all that have posted on this topic.  I love to see the passion here at Crystal about skiing powder.  Yet I am chagrined to see some of the vitriole (here as well as towards others on the hill).  Let me tell you a story.  Several decades ago, Warren Miller came to Boyne Mountain, Michigan and asked Everett Kircher if it would be okay for him to film at the ski area.  Apparently Warren had been turned down elsewhere and was looking for a soft place to film.  Everett said, "Sure."  And Warren promised not to "get in the way" or "interfere with the skiing on the hill."  As it turns out, Warren got some good footage and still thanks Boyne for being one of the opportunities to get his start in the ski film industry.  Contrary to what some have said here, Warren Miller’s crew is still doing the same today. 

What is the ski world if not a group a ski bums trying to make a life out of what our parents always told us was "never going to amount to anything"?  On Friday, I had the privilege of escorting the "Warren Miller" crew into the Southback country.  I always look forward to the opening of the season’s ski films in the Fall.  For most of us, the soundtrack and the ski shots create the fantasy of what our perfect ski day might be in the upcoming season.  What I learned from observing the filming on Friday was how it takes countless hours and ski shots to make up that "one perfect day" as seen in the film.  The pro skiers weren’t tracking up the great runs in the Southback.  In fact, they were lapping some of the flutes and launches that no one skis anyway.  A group of locals posted up on the top of the Throne to watch the skiers launch off of Little AK and other areas in A-Basin.  They were hooting and hollering and loving the action, even though it was much slower than it will be in the film.   The skiers and the photographers spent more time boot packing and hiking and stomping in the launches than actually skiing.  In the four hours I spent with them, they probably produced only minutes of film.   

Next Fall, when the ski movies come out I certainly hope that all of you will be pleased to see your local area featured in the Warren Miller movie.  This is the stoke that we all look for to keep the fires burning.  For those of you that can’t see this, I am glad that this forum is here for you to voice your complaints.  Or please, come and talk to me about it personally.  I would love to tell you more about how great the film crew is for the ski industry in general and Crystal Mountain in particular. 

As skiers, we all need to see the good for the whole, not just for ourselves.  Sure, we all love to get that fresh line all alone.  Yet we also need to understand that we all stand together. If the ski industry declines, we all lose.  Warren Miller started something when he first began filming movies at places like Boyne Mountain, Michigan.  Every year, his movies still inspire us to ski harder and put in more days.  After all as Warren Miller says, if we don’t ski it this year, next  year we will be another year older.   

When Crystal Mountain invited the Warren Miller crew to ski our area, our goal was not to anger anyone. Instead the idea is to showcase our killer terrain as well as our great local skiers.  One of the pro skiers here  this week is Ingrid Backstrom, who grew up skiing here and now plays with the big boys.   We are proud to have her back.  We have a great ski area here and so often it is underappreciated.  Warren Miller has been here before.  This year, we invited them here based on a forecast that has turned out to be even better than expected.  Let’s all enjoy the skiing together.  Based on what I skied today, there is certainly plenty for everyone.

11 thoughts on “Warren Miller

  1. Troy Langley

    I really have enjoyed this blog. I like how the ski patrol is concerned w/ safety and telling everyone to take it easy and chill out and have fun. However, complaints about a film crew shutting down areas that we all pay to ski are COMPLETELY justified. Ingrid is amazing, but let the film crews head off to heli-land to get their footage. Most of us can’t afford to pay big money for powder. Please look out for us, the loyal fans of Crystal. I love Crystal and am headed up tomorrow. I hope terrain is open. Prices for lift tickets should be reduced if not. See you tomorrow! Keep up the good work regards to safety. Cheers.


  2. Kyle

    Super glad you brought back Ingrid for the shoot! She’s the only non-racer from Crystal to really make an impact on the broader skiing scene.
    I wish I was in a position to compain about not getting the goods, but unfortunatly I had to work this week. However, I can identify with the feeling from the complainers as its not what Crystal does…but how it does it.
    I’d love to see Crystal featured in more ski films, but instead of inviting (paying) the crew from a $350 Million media company (Bonnier) why not support the Warren Millers of today…MSP, TGR, PBP, Nimbus…


  3. Dave

    I think that Kyle’s post makes a good point. What Crystal is doing with Warren Miller is nothing more than big money marketing. Warren Miller (the media company) is not a group of “ski bums” trying to make good on a dream. It is rather a profitable marketing services company that makes money selling advertising services for ski area’s and guiding services as well as profiting from ticket sales at the movie releases. Don’t try and turn this thing into something that it is not. It is big business advertising; not some underground stoke building exercise brought to the masses by a bunch of stoked riders. I hope the area’s profits reflect its marketing investment in this film shoot. But it is tough to see that stuff on a bluebird day, and not have a fair shake at getting a bit of it.


  4. Bill

    Been skiing for 40 years at CM. Friday 3/6 was a fantastic weather day. Hmn, Southback closed for Wareen Miller. Northback opens at the crack of 11:00 to the sounds of AC/DC and Billy Idol at the top of Hike to Morning Glory Bowl. What a joke! Place is trashed in no time because CM folks would rather placate to a few yee haw teenagers and Warren Miller than the folks dropping 60.00 for lift tickets and 10.00 for linch etc… Get real. Open all the mountain on time and spread people out or charge less. Remember who is paying your bills and manage accordingly. The customer is right every time. I don’t have an issue with Warren Miller folks or contests per se but they do not trump local folks who have been supporting your game since day one.


  5. Nudibranch

    I met Kurt and Warren in ’98 at Big Sky while testin some twinners. As a Crystal local they have my permission to film. I was however unable to see who was actually filming, but Boyne and Warren are like white on rice.


  6. jp

    Dave wrote…But it is tough to see that stuff on a bluebird day, and not have a fair shake at getting a bit of it.
    Seems like mommy and daddy didn’t teach you the life isn’t fair….


  7. JP

    Bill wrote – March 7, 2009 10:13 AM
    Get real. Open all the mountain on time and spread people out or charge less…
    The customer is right every time….
    Bill, please leave your ‘entitlement’ attitude in the city OR take it elsewhere.


  8. Steve

    I’ve been skiing Crystal since the sixties. It had always been about skiing first and money to operate as a second concern. Operating money was a big problem! Times have changed. Snow boarding saved the industry, without question.
    About ten years ago, we all experienced the change in the length of the lift lines.. More snowboards brought more money and people to Crystal Mountain, which in turn has financed many improvements on the mountain. The new lifts have been great, but the lift lines are still to long on the weekends. The ski area can not get any bigger due to existing restraints. It hard for me to believe that the Warren Miller film will do anything but make the lift lines so big that the only solution might be to install all new twelve person, high speed chairs and make helmets and body armor manditory.
    Now days it seems to be more about money first and the skiing second. Longer lift lines are on the way!


  9. jim phillips

    Blue bird day:
    First run Carolyn and I broke trail to Right Angle and skied Right Angle/Left Angle top to bottom totally untracked. Later headed to O Meadows. Made a few turns and then cut a hard left and found an open area with out a track in site. We took care of that. We found a nice untracked run in Northback from Morning glory to the chair line. That was just part of our day!
    We are 68 and 69 years old and can still have fun on a great day while others are complaining.


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