The ski movie wars

Precipitous cliff + skilled skier + healthy dose of insanity + camera = awesome ski movie.

This formula may seem obvious today, when anyone with a GoPro and a lift ticket can make a ski movie. But when it was first conceived, it was revolutionary.

A pair of skis, after all, are the only thing that separates jumping off a cliff from being a good idea and a very, very bad one. And when you add a camera to the mix — “There’s really something about a camera that lowers a skiers’ IQ,” observed the late documentary filmmaker Warren Miller — things get really nuts. The result is just so compellingly watchable.

Skiing is believed to be 10,000 years old. But it was not a true spectator sport for a very long time. It took the advent of ski movies to show people just how watchable skiing is.

This is the story of how it all changed.

Today, snow sports are a multi-billion dollar industry. It hasn’t always been that way: When Warren Miller got his start in 1949, he estimates there were fewer than 15 chairlifts in all of America. Although he was far from the first to make a ski movie, Miller broke into the industry at the opportune time, when returning military service members found themselves with the money to afford ski vacations. Miller was among their number: He bought his first movie camera with his $100 Navy bonus.

Miller, who died last month at the age of 93, once described himself as having a “unique, mean-spirited sense of humor,” one that was often aimed at klutzes in lift lines or those who were unfortunate enough to be caught at the rope tow by his crew. But between Miller’s slapstick humor and rhapsodic philosophizing, …read more

Source:: The Week – Sports


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