“Let’s get freaky.”
Those were the words uttered by the 78-year-old Warren Miller as
his 54th annual ski film officially brought winter to Fort Collins
This year’s film “Journey” took the sold-out Lincoln Center
audience all over the globe. The night started in Portillo, Chile,
and ended in Verbier, Switzerland, with stops in places like
Norway, Alaska and Colorado’s own Copper Mountain.
A soundtrack including music by The Allman Brothers Band, Grits,
Afro Celt Sound System and Pearl Jam accompanied the film, but
could barely be heard over the cheers of the enthused crowd.
“I thought it was great,” said senior education major Scott
DesBois. “I wish there was more snowboarding, but besides that it
was just sick.”
This year’s installment of the legendary film series did contain
mostly skiing, but not the kind you can find by driving three hours
to Summit County. We’re talking about pros descending the kinds of
mountains that the Jackass himself, Johnny Knoxville, would shudder
to even look at.
One such segment was filmed in Chamonix, France, the homeland of
big-mountain skiing. During the film, two-time world extreme ski
champion Doug Coombs described the legendary skiers haven as
having, “the steepest lift-accessible terrain in all the
In Chamonix, once you step off of the Aiguille du Midi lift,
chutes and trails that lead 9,000 vertical feet to the valley floor
are the only way down, and you have to repel to get to some of
them. In one of “Journey’s” highlights, Coombs descends a chute no
more that 20 yards wide that would be hard to walk down, let alone
The film, however, wasn’t without its lighter side. During the
segment filmed in Portillo, Chile, U.S. Freestyle Ski Team members
Dave Babic and Toby Dawson decided they liked the place so much
that they flipped over it, literally. The two wild boys built a
kicker on the roof of the resort lodge and did back flips over the
unsuspecting diners on the patio. Seeing people spill coffee all
over themselves has never been so hilarious.
Also, Mohawk-adorning ski legend Glen Plake had an entire part
of “Journey” dedicated to him and his home resort of Heavenly in
Lake Tahoe, Calif. Whoever says that skiing is for old lame guys
doesn’t know what they’re talking about, because Plake is the
hippest old guy in the world.
To end the film, Miller composed a highlight reel of snowboard
pioneer Craig Kelly and his greatest moments with the Warren Miller
film crew. Kelly lost his life last year in an avalanche in British
Colombia. The tribute perfectly portrayed Kelly’s smooth and
influential riding style as Pearl Jam’s “I Am Mine” played over the
At the end of the tribute, the house was silent, except for
Warren Miller’s voice, assuring the crowd, “That’s all for now.
I’ll see you next year, same time, same place.”