Legendary ski filmmaker Warren Miller has died. He passed away Wednesday at his home on Orcas Island, Washington, USA, at the age of 93.
Miller was perhaps the single most influential figure in the sport of skiing in the past century. After serving in the U.S. Navy in World War 2, he began filming skiing while living as a ski bum in a trailer in the parking lot at the resort of Sun Valley, Idaho. Miller released his first film, Deep and Light, in 1950, and continued producing and directing yearly ski films for the next 37 years. Miller quit directing in 1987, but continued to produce films until selling his company, Warren Miller Entertainment, in 2004.
The news of Miller's passing has released a tidal wave of commemoration and tribute from across the ski world. Here are what a few of today's leading figures in skiing have to say about Miller's influence and impact on the sport and their lives.
Professional skier, filmmaker and "The Godfather of Freeskiing" Mike Douglas:
I can’t think of anyone who’s had a bigger influence on my life path than Warren Miller. I’ll never forget taking the bus solo at 15 years old to see his new movie play in a town 2 hours away. Walking out of the theatre after the show I felt energy and inspiration like never before. It was almost uncontrollable. From that point on I knew I wanted spend my life chasing snow. For the next few years, Warren Miller and Greg Stump fueled my daydreams. The photo above is me in 1987 trying recreate a Scot Schmidt cliff jump I’d seen in one of Warren’s films. I was lucky enough to meet Warren a handful of times over the years. Most recently, 3 years ago at the Yellowstone Club. On my second night there I had dinner with Warren, Scot Schmidt, and Mike Weigele. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Warren sat next to me on my left. In his one-of-a-kind voice, he rattled off stories and advise from years gone by like they happened yesterday. It was like being told the history of skiing by god himself. I’ll never forget that. Thank you Warren Miller.
Ski photographer and The Ski Journal founder Grant Gunderson:
No man did more for the sport and culture of skiing then @thewarrenmiller did. One of my most memorable experiences was spending time with Warren at his home on Orcas Island. When asked what the highlight of his career was, he mentioned seeing kids in Kashmir making skis out of trash in order to experience the freedom of skiing. However nothing compared to the smile on his face when he picked up his old Bolex camera. Instead of resting in peace I hope he enjoys an eternity of bottomless bluebird powder days. Thanks for the inspiration and what a life well lived.
Professional skier Karl Fostvedt:
Production company Teton Gravity Research:
Warren A. Miller, iconic and beloved filmmaker who introduced generations to the thrills and joys of skiing and adventure, passed away at the age of 93 on Wednesday evening, January 24th. The entire team at TGR owes Miller a tremendous debt of gratitude. Our industry will not be the same without this man. Warren, we hope you’re finding endless fresh turns on the other side. // Photo courtesy of Warren Miller Co.
Professional skier Noah Wallace:
I remember when I was young (I must of been 8 or 9), I was hanging out with my brother Steve, and we were at our friends the Wilken’s house in Spokane. All of my brother’s friends were really into this thing called Skiing, and they started asking around the room if we had seen the newest Warren Miller movie, “Fifty”. Once confirmed that we hadn’t, they popped the movie into the VHS, and my life took a turn. That was my first introduction to Freeskiing and Snowboarding, and ever sense then I’ve been turning that inspiration into an ever-growing passion. Thank you Warren for all the inspiration you’ve given to so many generations of Skiers and Boarders! Ski in Peace #rip #legend
Warren Miller Entertainment:
The Warren Miller Entertainment family – and the snowsports world at large – has lost one of its original patriarchs at the age of 93. Warren's humor and adventure-seeking spirit forged the legacy of a genre and a passion for freedom. The insurmountable loss of the pioneer of the Warren Miller brand, father of ski filmmaking, and one of skiing’s greatest ambassadors is a loss to the snowsports community and beyond. It’s with heavy hearts that we will continue to celebrate the life of Warren Miller each fall. His legacy will live on. PC: Sun Valley