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A 'Timeless' Tradition

SKI's Editorial Interns look into the legacy of Warren Miller Films.

Written by Callie Rhoades and Emy Reznik

When we walked into the Boulder, Colo., premiere of Warren Miller Entertainment’s latest film, “Timeless,” we could feel the energy radiating from the crowd. Generations of skiers and boarders packed the Boulder Theater to watch the film, meet their favorite athletes, and share in the collective stoke. 

Once a year, crowds gather across the country to watch some of the best athletes in skiing and snowboarding show off their skills on snow. No one captures the spirit of skiing quite like Warren Miller Entertainment, the production company Warren Miller built from the ground up when skiing was in its infancy.

Athletes on stage at the Boulder Colorado,
Some of the film’s featured athletes take the stage at the Boulder Theater showing of “Timeless”Photo courtesy of Callie Rhoades

“Timeless” marks 70 years of Warren Miller’s annual ski films, which have inspired generations of skiers since the first film in 1950. We have come to look forward to our favorite athletes ripping across the screen in the flicks, and we get a kick out of seeing segments and locations we identify with. The magic of Warren Miller films is how they capture the essence of the sport in a way that connects all skiers and boarders to the film, regardless of ability or location.

“I think that Warren Miller movies tie the whole skiing community together,” says Ginny Iverson, who attended this year’s film in Boulder. “They don’t only feature competitors. When they show locals and children having fun, it makes it seem personal.” Iverson has been attending every Warren Miller premiere with her husband, Dr. Ron Iverson, since the ’50s (when her brother, still in high school, would help schlep Warren’s camera gear). When the Iversons had children, they started taking them to the annual movies. The family has since created a tradition centered around the films that spans generations.

“Even though the kids have all grown up and moved to other cities, all our children and grandchildren still go annually, so when we all get together, we always talk about the latest Warren Miller film—the new gear, where our children plan to go skiing. It sort of perpetuates the tradition,” says Dr. Iverson.

Silhouette of woman watching Warren Miller's
An audience member captivated by WME’s 70th film, “Timeless.”Photo courtesy of Emy Reznik

These traditions are not exclusive to the Iverson family. The ritual of attending these premieres with friends and family extends across the ski community. Most of the athletes featured in the films remember attending the showings as children with their families.

“I grew up sitting in that chair, watching the films and getting just as excited as all these kids are about the kickoff of the winter. So being in these films is really awesome,” says Cooper Branham, a Boulder-based snowboarder featured in “Timeless.”

One of the film’s most prominent pro skiers, Amie Engerbretson, who has been featured in the last four Warren Miller flicks, can attest to the tradition of growing up with these iconic films.

“I think what’s really cool about the Warren Miller movies is that it’s such a tradition and it’s something that’s been tried and true for a really long time,” she says. “So to be part of that is such an honor. Warren Miller films are one of the fundamental pillars of our ski culture, so to be part of that is awesome and it never gets old.”

Warren Miller Entertainment’s annual film tour always kicks off in October, building stoke among the community for the season to come. “It’s a feeling. Watching Warren Miller is so much about being in the theater with everyone,” says professional skier and WME athlete Jim Ryan. “The community experience of seeing my friends do my favorite thing, and everyone gets to experience it together.” 

Jim Ryan signing posters at the Warren Miller
Athletes sign posters for fans before the start of the showPhoto courtesy of Callie Rhoades

Connery Lundin, another “Timeless” athlete, adds, “I think it is cool that everyone gets together. Everyone gets stoked, the crowds are wild, and it is just a fun positive, environment. That’s what it’s all about.”

Warren Miller Entertainment’s annual movie, and films like it, bring out something special in the ski community. Athletes and attendees seem to share the same sentiment: Warren Miller is synonymous with the start of the ski season.

“Warren Miller is the god of skiing,” says Chad Christin, who attended the sold-out “Timeless” premiere with his son in Boulder. “Every year he descends upon us to deliver this movie so that we can enjoy it and get our stoke high and go ski and ride for the rest of winter. He is the harbinger of winter. He’s mythical.”

With this year’s film tour wrapping up, resorts are starting to open and snow is beginning to fall, signaling that it’s time to dust off your gear and get stoked for the season.