The place was packed and the energy electric. I love how ski movies are part of our pre-season ski conditioning. They get you drooling for the white stuff the way a cupcake makes a five-year-old's chin drop. You shut your eyes and imagine the same cold smoke wash over you. But I have a problem with this year's Miller entry.
The skiers are getting farther and farther away from being relate-able. I'm never going to ski Antarctica or Georgia and there's no resort (ie Telluride) that's going to send me out with a guide to ski deep untracked before allowing public access to it.
WM producers would have you think the only people who ski inbounds are jibbers who use the lift shacks and towers as terrain park features.
In Utah, we have some pretty mind-blowing turns but to send the Crists over to ski Cedar Breaks National Monument where NO ONE that's not with a film crew is ever going to ski because 1) it's not a true ski area and 2) everything is mandatory air, is pushing it. To be fair, the filmmakers did say that this 61st annual installment was meant to be exotic.
I just would have liked the exotic to also be realistic as a destination.
Anyone who anxiously watches the fall weather patterns for those first signs of snow knows what it's like to Jones for winter.
The segments of the late Arne Backstrom floating in Heavenly's untracked (shot at 7 .m. before the mountain opened to the public) were right on the money. And those crazy Kiwis ripping at the Freeskiing Championships and bungee jumping in the New Zealand segment were sick.
No Warren Miller production would be complete without a narrator and Jonny Moseley has finally gotten a handle on his voice overs. They're more friendly and casual, much more like he's talking than reading us something someone else wrote.
However, the movie sound in Abravanel Hall was so loud that most of what was said by the athletes was distorted and difficult to understand. Wish I could say that the music was better but it seemed a bit 'off' as well. The songs themselves were great but they didn't complement the moments. Take Mr. Scruff "Music Takes Me Up", for example. It's a very cool song... about music not skiing. And not life. And how about the punkish Grinderman? Something about sucking her dry and biting him on the 29th floor?
Still, you can't get too technical about a Warren Miller film. They call it ski porn for a reason. It's not 'real'. The athletes and photographers bust their butts to bring you some stunning imagery and inspiration so even if you will never spend a night in a tent on a Norwegian island surrounded by polar bears, you can appreciate the effort. Besides, at the end of the night it gets the job done. Wintervention reminds you that it's time for a fix.
Wintervention plays at 8 p.m. in Park City, Oct. 29/30 at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.