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Warren Miller Feature Films

Why ‘Born to Ski’ is Obviously the Best Warren Miller Movie Ever

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If you’re an Outside+ member, you get free access to our new archive of Warren Miller movies, dating back to 1961. If you’re not an Outside+ member, why aren’t you an Active Pass member?

There are those who think that just because they “wrote 11 Warren Miller film scripts” they can make the outrageous claim that Ski Time is obviously the best Warren Miller movie ever. (It’s not even one he wrote!)

While the 1983 film is an old-timey classic with much to love, everyone who’s anyone will know that it wasn’t until 1991 that Warren came out with what is obviously the best Warren Miller movie ever: Born to Ski.

It opens with a montage of self-deprecating tomahawks, double-ejection yard sales, and slapstick wipeouts that let you know you’re about to be entertained by the absolute absurdity that is skiing. Narrated with classic Warren sarcasm, it’s a reminder to The Rad (then and now) not to take any of this too seriously. It’s just skiing.

Now 30 years old, Born to Ski is full of nostalgic goodness from a time before helmets, when all a skier needed to score copious face shots was a set of 210s, a headband, and a pair of Vuarnets. And yet, the film is timeless—or even timely?

“I wasn’t born to ski. I was born to work, but I got laid off,” says Mike Hattrup at one point. Was this filmed in ’91 or ’21? Hattrup makes his Warren Miller debut in Born to Ski. That alone is reason to name this the best Warren Miller movie ever, although Hattrup recently admitted to me that he skipped the shoot day for the rollerblading segment to go powder skiing.

That said, let’s absolutely not overlook that rollerblading action, which is so choice. Skate to ski, baby. You know you want to.

Still not convinced? I give you: The Snowbird tram scene featuring Patty Sherman, Jennifer Wilson, Barb Scheidegger absolutely destroying 3,200 vertical feet of Wasatch bumps in fluorescent one-pieces. It’s already Whitney-Houston-level inspirational, and then 10-time gold medalist Diana Golden—who lost her right leg above the knee to childhood cancer–arrives on the scene to join the lady shred. Lift me up on wings of eagles, people, this is mic-drop skiing.

I won’t give away the family-friendly ending—you’ll have to travel to places like Canada, Oregon, Chile, France, Japan, even Yugoslavia first—and if you’re not on your feet staking your birthright as a skier by the end of the film, my guess is you stopped reading this already.

Active members have full access to the Warren Miller film archives so you can see for yourself that Born to Ski is obviously the best Warren Miller movie ever. To quote the very film in question, “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be one year older when you did.”