If Jess McMillan weren’t a professional skier, she really has no clue what else she would be. So it’s a good thing the whole professional ski bum thing worked out.

Jess McMillan: This was my first time skiing Denali. We’ve all heard of Denali, and we think about it as a place to test your mountaineering skills, test your limits and summit one of the highest peaks in the world. So to go there and ski tour is just  so special. There’s no trace of people. It’s just mother nature, huge peaks, and raw beauty. There’s a true sense of wild.

When you’re in a place like Denali, you can look at photos, but you never know what peak or snow conditions are going to be like. At night we would gather and say, ‘OK, let’s do this tomorrow.’ We would plan and try to estimate our time, thinking a skin might take four hours. When we started skinning it just felt like the closer we got, the bigger the mountain got. We had to take a step back and realize that instead of four hours, this was going to take us eight hours. 

That’s one of the biggest things I didn’t realize when I first started skiing for the camera: how long the days are. It’s not like you’re out there for two hours and then hop in for a cocoa break. When you leave and move into the field, you’re going to be there for 8 to 10 hours.

One year when I was competing on the Freeride World Tour, I didn’t have anything set up as far as lodging between stops. This is kind of standard for me, just the way I roll. And this time I had my mom and husband with me. But I thought, no problem, we’ll find a hostel or something along the way. When we stopped, it was late at night, everyone was tired, and the locals at the bar we stopped at told us there was no lodging anywhere nearby. We ended up taking the skis out of our ski bags and sleeping in the bags on the side of the road. My mom was not impressed. She booked us a very nice hotel for the next night.

Read more: The Show Must Go On - Kim Schneider

Originally published in the November 2018 issue of SKI Magazine.


Jonny Moseley for Face of Winter

The Show Must Go On: Jonny Moseley

For the past decade, Jonny Moseley has been the voice of WME’s annual ski movies.

Mike Wiegele

The Show Must Go On: Mike Wiegele

Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing has been featured in countless WME films over the years, and Mike himself also skied for Warren’s camera back in the day.

Johan Jonsson

The Show Must Go On: Johan Jonsson

Warren Miller Entertainment and Blizzard athlete Johan Jonsson is Swedish by summer, Swiss by winter.

Kim Schneider

The Show Must Go On: Kim Schneider

For 10 years Schneider and Warren worked side by side during long, grueling editing days to deliver the next WME film to the masses.

Anna Segal for Face of Winter

The Show Must Go On: Anna Segal

When the Aussie native and former slopestyle Olympian was invited to join the WME crew in Iceland to shoot for this year’s film, she ditched her day job and hopped on a plane.

Marcus Caston and Johan Jonsson in Switzerland for Face of Winter

The Show Must Go On

With "Face of Winter," Warren Miller Entertainment keeps a beloved tradition alive and continues to spread Warren's Gospel of Skiing.


"Face of Winter" Athlete Profile | Jess McMillan

The former Freeride World Tour champ has been in Warren Miller movies since 2011.

Warren Miller's Face of Winter in Alaska

The Making of "Face of Winter" | Denali National Park & The Tordrillo Mountains

Jess McMillan and Forrest Jillson explore the empty, massive slopes of Alaska for the upcoming Warren Miller Entertainment film.