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Warren Miller Feature Films

Once a James Bond Stunt Double, Now He’s a Warren Miller Star (Again)

John Falkiner’s skiing resume is unparalleled. The UIAGM International Mountain Guide was at the vanguard of the extreme skiing movement in the '80s.

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John Falkiner’s skiing resume is unparalleled. The son of an Australian sheep farmer, the UIAGM International Mountain Guide was at the vanguard of the extreme skiing movement in the 80s. He’s been involved in more than 80 film projects, including The Blizzard of Aahhhs and three Bond films. His greatest influence may have been as a member of the storied “Team Clambin” — the Verbier-based group including legendary skiers and photographers Ace Kvale and Marko Shapiro who were the cultural and visual vanguard of skiing in the 80s. 

He starred in his first Warren Miller film, Beyond the Edge, in 1986. Thirty-six years later, he’s still cruising powder in the 2022 release Daymaker. In the film, he guides Michelle Parker and McKenna Peterson through Greece’s Olympus Range. The segment is a reminder that, despite skiing all over the world, what sets Falkiner apart is his desire to explore unheralded ski cultures in strange places. 

Don’t miss your chance to see “Daymaker” at a showing near year. Tickets are available now.

Why is ski travel important? 

For some, skiing at their resort is the perfect answer —  the camaraderie of friends that you meet and ski with each year and share good times with. The familiarity of the area and having your secret stashes is more than enough. I learned to ski like that and still love Mount Buller in Australia where I learned to ski and taught skiing for many years. But when I turned 18, I began to travel and the nomadic part of me took over. Apart from amazing skiing, I learned about the cultures where I traveled and, as time went on, I realized there were mountainous regions with far bigger mountains with virtually no ski culture. Being in the Himalaya, or countries like Iran, Lebanon, or Greece, is a fascinating cultural journey. Some question my destinations as dangerous. My reply is that it’s better to arrive in a country with skis over your shoulders instead of a gun in your hand, and the hospitality and the beautiful mountains are a reward in themselves. 

Most of us are too intimidated to bring a ski bag across the world, to a foreign place. What are your tips for ski travel? 

It is definitely a hassle to travel with all your gear from country to country. I try to keep it light, so ski touring gear in one ski bag plus one other bag, and a traveling guitar that goes in the cabin with me. You need to be able to carry everything in one go with no help. 

You’ve skied all over the world. What do you look for in a ski trip? What are your favorite types of places to ski? 

I like mountainous areas with little or no commercial ski culture, where there is interaction with the locals who do not ski. Skiing is only a part of the journey — the cultural aspects make it complete. If I ski resorts, I prefer a place with three lifts or fewer, where after a day you know pretty much every working person on the mountain. 

What are your least favorite? 

Crowded ski areas where people have transferred their daily stress, rushing about the slopes, and the resort management that has lost their soul to the bottom line. 

What’s skiing in Greece like? What are the highlights? 

Beautiful mountains, stunning wilderness terrain, and a traditional culture that is not always based around tourism but caters to you as a visitor with warmth and interest. The resorts are friendly and intimate and have access to some great terrain. The Greek food and wine are fantastic.

A ski trip like this must really be a bonding experience. What was it like traveling and skiing with Michelle and McKenna? 

Both Michelle and Mckenna are such impressive ladies — amazing skiers and travel companions on and off the mountain. Both their knowledge and respect of the mountains immediately put me at ease, and their obvious enjoyment and appreciation of the cultural aspects and willingness to take it how it came, and make the best of the situation, was great fun to be around. 

In the film, you practice Qi Gong. How’d you get into Qi Gong? How does it help you? 

When I was competing, doing stunt work, and in the early waves of professional skiing, I was not into traditional training. After cracking a vertebra in 1980, I was introduced to a form of martial arts called White Crane Silat as a way to recuperate. I was totally uninterested in the fighting aspect but fascinated by the movements and the resulting body control and mobility, clarity, and focus that came with practice. I rediscovered another form of medical Qi Gong before covid called White Tiger Qi Gong, and it was a major influence on getting me through this time. The benefits to my well-used and overused body have been great. I feel that it is extending the quality of my mountain life. 

You’ve spent so many days of your life skiing. What’s the secret to maintaining a life in the mountains? 

My Friend Ace Kvale once said to me, you need to see if you can be amazed by something every day of your life. That and realizing there is always something more to learn.

Don’t miss your chance to see “Daymaker” at a showing near year. Tickets are available now.