Maybe that’s a wee bit of a stretch. Let me come clean: This weekend I attended a dinner celebrating Boyne Mountain’s 60th anniversary, and Warren Miller was there. Not at my table, but I swear he looked at me once while he was giving a speech. So of course I used my pushy reporter skills to corral him to a quiet corner for a quick interview. More on that later.
Who’s Warren Miller, you say? Well, if you’re one of the estimated, um … two Americans who don’t know, he is, quite simply, the man. The dude. The guy who, in 1946 and newly discharged from the Navy, plunked down $100 for a 8mm camera, then moved into a teardrop trailer in the Sun Valley (Utah) parking lot and started filming his passion: skiing.
Since then, Miller has made more than 750 sport films and inspired legions of snow junkies to buck the career path for the fall line. As the Miller admitted that night at dinner, “I’ve ruined a lot of lives.”
Maybe. But my guess is he inspired a lot more. Me for one. Get this: Dude is 84 years old and still skis every day! Come on. I can barely drag my sagging behind to the gym every OTHER day. But after seeing Warren, a barrel-chested, strong-as-an-ox, witty-as-a-comic guy, I’m thinking I better amp it up as I age. Says Miller: “It’s a lot better than the other option.”
I would have to agree.
Anyway, Miller’s connection to Boyne is pretty cool and goes way back. Word is, he met Everett Kircher, the gutsy guy who started Boyne Mountain 60 years ago, out in Sun Valley. Everett was hard to miss; he was the guy dismantling a Sun Valley chairlift in order to haul it back to Northern Michigan and put it on his ski hill in Boyne Falls. That ski lift became the first ski lift in Michigan, by the way.
The pair became pals, Miller shot parts of several movies at Boyne, and their friendship endured throughout the decades. Miller volunteered to fly in from his home in Montana to be at Boyne’s 60th Anniversary dinner to honor his old pal. “He was a great innovator,” Miller said of Kircher. “He was an inventor. He listened.”
Do you want to listen to Miller? Check out the video of my interview with the grand man.
P.S. The pic below? That’s Warren, his son, Kurt, who has taken over directorial duties for Warren Miller Company films, and in the middle, Everett’s son Steven Kircher. They’re on the Hemlock run at Boyne Mountain, heading to the Eagle’s Nest to visit with skiers and see Warren’s drawings that he put on the wall in 1955.