New Warren Miller film ripping into Eccles
,Of the Record staff
Life-long and longtime residents might think it’s normal for a ski movie to film in their hometown, but any kid who grew up skiing in the Midwest will tell you, it’s pretty sweet. The Canyons will enjoy its big-screen moment on Thursday at the Eccles Center when ski-movie-legend Warren Miller’s newest film, "Higher Ground," comes to town for its Park City premier. Katie Eldridge, spokeswoman for The Canyons, noted that with Warren Miller Entertainment’s 56-year history, the ski movies have become fall fixtures.
"It’s a rite of passage for the ski season," she said, "a Warren Miller film."
Shot along Fantasy Ridge, off Ninety-Nine Ninety, among other places, Eldridge noted that last year’s snow allowed for some great scenes. "It’s phenomenal when it comes together," Eldridge said. "It’s some of the best footage I’ve ever seen at the resort& We have our A-list athletes arcing turns in the powder on the big screen."
Among the area skiers showcased in the segment is Parkite Jeremy Nobis and Salt Lake City residents Josh Madsen and Jamie Parks. "We skied a lot of pow," Madsen said. In the segment, the group takes its turn ripping in and out of bounds, sliding through shin-deep powder on some of The Canyons’ wide-open aspens, hucking off cliffs higher up on the hill, and carving big turns on the mountains open slopes. Also in the piece, Nobis talks about growing up living the skiing life near Kimball Junction, while, at the same time, Parks and Madsen hit some kickers in the terrain park. Madsen, a telemark skier, said it was a great opportunity to show off some free-heel tricks. He said he’s excited to show a newer side of the discipline. Telemark in the park is finally starting to grow, he noted.
"I’m really stoked about it," he said, "It’s been a long time coming."
Madsen said he is doing his best to promote the sport and its nascent evolution. Last year was Madsen’s first as a full-time pro, and the Warren Miller film, he noted, is one of his first significant ski-movie roles. "This is kind of really my break-out year," he noted. Madsen said that without many free-heel predecessors, breaking into the pro-skier ranks was tough.
"It definitely took some time to figure out especially being a telemarker to find out how to do the whole professional thing," he said. Now, after taking some tips from Nobis during their time at The Canyons last season, Madsen will be appearing at the movie screenings. "After the Utah shows [of the Warren Miller film] I leave to go out on tour for the next two months," he said, "and after that, I have some trips planned."
But before all of that, he will be at "Higher Ground’s" Park City premier, he said. Speaking about the film, Kim Schneider, who edited the work for Warren Miller Entertainment, said the ski movie is worth watching. "Higher Ground" will be the one of first ski films presented in high-definition. Schneider said the high-definition part of the film could be explained pretty easily.
"It means, like, you’re hanging out of the helicopter yourself," he said. "It’s like you’re seeing it just like the cameraman saw it& You can pretty much feel the cold coming off the screen."
So those who see the film in the theaters, he said, should have a new experience. A 27-year veteran at Warren Miller Entertainment, Schneider talked about a few subtle changes viewers might notice when they watch "Higher Ground."
"We leaned it a little more heavily on the athletes to tell the story," he said. Indeed, the film contains more stories and experiences from its skiers and boarders. The traditional narrative of the film remains, now voiced primarily by pro-mogul skier Jeremy Bloom, although occasionally, Warren Miller himself adds a few words.
"We have too many people who live their winters by the sound of Warren’s voice to totally get rid of him," Schneider said. Ever since his first film, in 1949, Miller’s work has been winter’s harbinger for many, Schneider said, echoing Eldridge. "If you want to go skiing, it just gets you jacked about it," Schneider said. "I don’t care how long ago winter was, when I see the first footage each year, I get excited for winter."
For her part, Eldridge said working with the filmmakers was a worthwhile experience.
"It’s one of my favorite parts of my job here, coordinating the photo shoots," she said. And the payoff, which might be a payoff for all of a resort’s locals, is sweet, she added.
"With all of the planning and shooting, to see it all come to fruition," she said, "is awesome."
Warren Miller Entertainment’s "Higher Ground" will screen at the Eccles Center on Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 and are available from ArtTix at (801) 355-ARTS. For more information, visit http://www.warrenmiller.com.
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The Park City Ice Arena is expected to temporarily close later in 2021 to allow crews to replace the ice surface and perform other maintenance work, one of a series of projects City Hall plans to outline at an upcoming open house. It will be an in-person event.