Showing gratitude to a legendary ski filmmaker

Bridget Higdon, Arts Editor

I was 6 years old when I took my first ski lesson, and since then, you can always find me doing the snow dance.

I was heartily saddened two weeks ago when I read about the death of prolific ski filmmaker Warren Miller.  I grew up watching many of his films with my family every winter.

Miller died in his home Jan. 24. He was 93. During his career, Miller created more than 500 films.

Without any cinematic training, Miller released his first film “Deep and Light” in 1949, according to his Jan. 25 New York Times obituary. His subsequent films can be credited for bringing the sport of skiing to the forefront of the American mind.

For the first 14 years of his career, Miller was involved in all aspects of the filmmaking process. He traveled eight months a year, chasing winter across the globe with a camera and a pair of skis, according to his autobiography.

His deep-voiced, often humorous narrations were a trademark of all his films.

Miller’s films were works of art. Stunning panoramas and breathtaking aerials filled the canvas of the screen. He was a graceful storyteller, with each film capturing viewers with the engrossing narratives of people who made careers out of adventure.

It was from his films that my brother and I learned the words “rad,” “dope,” “sick” and “stoked.” We tried these new words out on our tongues, only to find we didn’t sound as cool as the athletes who had snowflakes frozen to their beards.

Despite being curled up on the couch in my New Jersey home, Miller’s films transported me to the world of snow and mountains.

Through his films I was made to marvel at the serenity of the Alaskan backcountry, the­­­­ enormity of Chamonix and the beauty of Nepal.  My brother and I begged our parents to take us there someday.

Although I am now 20 years old and haven’t been to any of those destinations, I did make a new home in Vermont, a move I can credit almost completely to my love of skiing.

As I completed my first Dawn Patrol this week—hiking up a mountain and skiing down before the sunrise­—I thought of Miller, and the dream his films inspired me to fulfill.

In a world that often puts pressure on kids to find a serious, well-paying job, Miller’s films taught me that it is more important to pursue what you love.