Reflecting on Warren Miller: Ski Filmmaker Icon

Screengrab of Warren Miller from film “Freedom Found: My Life Story by Warren Miller”

On Wednesday, January 24, Warren Miller, renowned ski filmmaker and outdoor industry icon, passed away of natural causes. He was 93. A California native, Miller purchased his first camera for 39 cents at the age of 12. In college at the University of Southern California, Miller pursued both academics and his passion for adrenaline-fueled sports like skiing, surfing and speed skating until he enrolled in USC’s officer training program at the beginning of WWII. From there, he joined the Navy, and at the end of his service in 1946, he jumped on an opportunity to pick up the camera once again and film his ski explorations in his home state.

His ski partner at the time, Ward Barker, joined Miller on a ski-town road trip that ultimately brought the duo to Sun Valley, where Miller began skiing and filming in earnest. Over the course of five decades, he produced a film every year while building the Warren Miller Entertainment brand and a ski bum legacy that’s inspired generations of videographers, dirtbags and, of course, skiers and riders both in bounds and out.

“Warren Miller was clearly touched by the joy of schussing on snow and the ski-bum lifestyle. That love couldn’t help but overflow and be shared,” says Noah Howell, who, with brother Jonah, created a decade’s worth of Powderwhore Production ski films. “He became a prophet, in a way, of this hedonistic religion. His annual films became the pulpit from which he toured the country proselytizing the good word. I was lucky enough to be completely converted at a young age and became a true believer.”

And while Miller created an ethos founded in not taking things to seriously—he’s known for declaring he’s enjoyed “a lifetime of never having to work for a living”—his works and impact on ski culture speak for themselves. Howell reflects, “Ski films were around before Warren Miller and will continue on without him, but not with the humanity, fun and passion that Warren had.”

Official Trailer – Freedom Found: My Life Story, by Warren Miller from Warren Miller Co. on Vimeo.

Related posts:


  1. […] the post Reflecting on Warren Miller: Ski Filmmaker Icon at Backcountry […]

Speak Your Mind