Ski filmmaker Warren A. Miller dies
January 29, 2018
Warren A. Miller, who became one of the world's foremost ski filmmakers and spokespeople for the sport, died Wednesday at his home on Orcas Island, Washington, according to a statement from Warren Miller Entertainment. He was 93 years old.
Miller, who was raised in the Depression era, earned global acclaim and a multigenerational fanbase for his annual ski films, which have kicked off the ski season for more than 60 years.
The films screen across the world, including in Park City, and feature Warren's acute humor and vision as skiers descend, and sometimes ascend, the various international slopes that appear in his work.
Jim Gaddis, a multi-medal-winning national champion alpine skier, ski coach and founder of Gaddis Training Organization, which evolved into the Park City Racing Team, said Miller started the snowball that turned into the ski-movie genre.
"He made people aware of what skiing was, and showed a multitude of places, even weird places, where you could ski," Gaddis said. "He also added a lot of humor to the sport, which I don't think other moviemakers did prior to that."
Gaddis worked with Miller on fundraisers in the late 1960s, before Miller became a ski-film mogul.
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"We sponsored his movie to raise funds for the (GTO) kids, before he got really expensive," Gaddis said, laughing. "I did that for two or three years, and we raised pretty good money for the programs."
Gaddis remembers seeing Miller before he became a filmmaker.
"I knew he was a ski bum and lived in a car and a tiny trailer in a sleeping bag because he couldn't afford to stay in those nice lodges in the ski resorts," he said. "I know he camped out at least two winters in Alta."
Warren's talents cut a wide swath beyond ski filmmaking. He produced more than 500 films in all, primarily covering outdoor pursuits, including surfing, sailing, and other water sports. As an artist, cartoonist and author, he wrote some 1,200 columns and 11 books, the most recent publication a memoir called "Freedom Found."
Miller was a World War II veteran, a ski instructor and racer. He was also an accomplished surfer who took up windsurfing in his 60s.
He was also a champion sailor, and turned to destination motorboating when he was in his 70s and 80s, and exploring the Northwest and Alaska from his home on Orcas Island.
Miller is survived by his wife of 30 years, Laurie, his sons Scott (Melissa) and Kurt (Ali), his daughter, Chris (David Lucero), his stepson, Colin Kaufmann, three granddaughters (Valeska, Kasimira, and Jenna) and two grandsons (Alexander and Ryan).