It Ain’t Warren Miller If There’s No Warren Miller

The evening at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah, was all the hype and hipness you’d expect to kick off the upcoming ski season. To honor the 62nd annual Warren Miller flick, Like There’s No Tomorrow, there was a red carpet for the featured athletes, a panel table on stage for the filmmakers’ press conference, an upper level soirée for VIP mingling (along with Corona’s, a shot ski and sliders), giveaway booths- I earned a pair of Smartwool socks by competing in a who-can-layer- their-body-with-Smartwool-clothes-the-fastest game, athlete poster signing and general hugs and welcome backs for old friends in the ski industry. You almost didn’t need to see the film. But really, who can avoid an excuse to roar for the winter. Not to mention that with your ticket you also get a free Canyons lift pass. That’s well worth the price of admission. I coveted mine like a kid winning the golden ticket in a Wonka Bar.

The lights deadened. A hush fell and the images rolled to the sound of Jonny Mosely doing his best to narrate segments from some ski movie that wasn’t Warren Miller. Yes, it has WM’s name. WM Entertainment made sure of that. But Like There’s No Tomorrow is not Warren Miller. Every year, the program gets further away from the warmth, humor and accessibility that used to define Miller Flicks. The writing echoed the passion we all feel about snowsports and the mountains. Now, it’s just filler. You could easily flatline the audio and still be watching the same movie. This is not to say LTNT is bad. It’s fine. It’s just time to change the Warren Miller name. These annual WME movies would do a lot better if they just called themselves something else instead of having to continually compete with the true Warren Miller legacy.

 

The footage balances powder with the prerequisite hucks and park tricks, there are ripping chicks and a decent segment featuring Big Cottonwood faceshots and local Utah athletes. Ski Salt Lake invested a sizeable sum to promote Salt Lake skiing so you won’t see a call out to any particular resort in the Utah scenes. But one thing you will notice is that the Utah athletes actually get a credit during their respective runs whereas you’re left guessing who’s who in every other segment. Same goes for the location too. Instead of moving from one place to the next, this WM installment jumps back and forth from the locations so much you give up wondering where you are. The jogging back and forth is no accident according to one of the film’s crew. It has to do with budgets and who’s not paying to be in a Warren Miller ski movie.

Lastly, what’s with the yeti? The costumed wildebeest debuts in the Canadian section and is just plain stupid. Athletes shouldn’t be forced to act (Scared of the yeti? Where is the yeti?); it’s not a pretty sight.

Matchstick Productions “Attack of La Niña: the bitch is back” doesn’t ask their athletes to do more than clown around. There are some seriously funny moments with Colby West as he tumbles with an inflatable doll and dives into a hottub of Betties. And while the movie seems to forget that their theme is La Nina, you still get to see a lot of powder stashes blowing up. MSP lists several places in the U.S. for filming locations but Attack is really all about Canada. The time flies as you watch run after run of people skiing pillows in Chatter Creek, B.C., and those who care little for gap jumps can take a short siesta during the Alyeska, Alaska segment.

For the most part, you get exactly what you pay for when you buy a ticket to Like There’s No Tomorrow or Attack of La Nina: a group of current ski and board athletes, reminding you of what it’s like to share the mountains in winter. That’s really what all of these ski porn flicks do- get you randy for the upcoming season. Would it be better to wait for the DVD? NO. Unlike real porn which is best viewed in the privacy of your own home, the beauty of ski movies is in the camaraderie and collective appreciation for the white stuff.

For film tour dates go to Attack of La Nina and Like There’s No Tomorrow.

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