Los Angeles seems an unlikely spot responsible for rekindling my love of skiing, but it was in a tiny, temporary apartment a block south of Artesia Boulevard where I discovered Warren Miller’s buttery voice and found motivation in his unrestrained passion for winter.
My roommate worked for his then small Warren Miller Entertainment on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, Calif., and he floated me and our neighbor Al free tickets to the December 1987 showing of “White Winter Heat.” I was hooked. And Warren’s sign-off, “If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do” became my battle cry.
Not a winter has gone by where I haven’t sat excitedly, like a squirming kid in a crusty theater seat jones-ing for his movie and winter. And I haven’t missed a season since; I’ve even been fortunate enough to spend 100+ days sliding on snow for many of them, too.
Warren was brilliant: He made shredding down any slope – green or double black, on or off piste – cool and inclusive and relatably fun. Like that posse of 80-year-old’s skiing the powdery side-country of Washington State’s Crystal Mountain Ski Resort: Knee deep, blower conditions in one-pieces and grins all around. Or his spectacularly perfect capture of 70s ski-towns; the kitsch, the culture, and the rainbow suspenders.
Thanks to my Dad, I started skiing when I was 5 and, thanks to Warren, I plan to ski into my 90s. Rest in Peace Warren, you are already deeply missed.