Warren Miller makes IMPACT in Breckenridge this weekend
A few minutes after Warren Miller’s IMPACT begins, you’ll meet Bridger Gile. Gile is one of the featured athletes in Miller’s 55th outing into the wild white yonder. He is four years old. Throughout a sequence on Snowmass Mountain in Aspen, the toddler arcs beautiful giant slalom turns and hits powdery steeps with Snowmass local Chris Davenport. Then Miller himself puts it all into perspective: “When he tucks, he’s only 14 inches tall, but when he free skis, he’s a giant.” It’s classic Warren Miller – finding great skiing in the most unexpected of places, this time in the heart and spirit of a preschooler.
If there’s one thing Warren Miller does well in his movies, it’s capturing the spirit and culture of skiing and snowboarding. IMPACT is no different. It has its share of 20- and 30-something extreme skiers hucking cliffs and skiing you-fall-you-die lines, but it has more than that too.It has an entire segment devoted to the NASTAR Championships held every year in Park City, Utah. Only in a Warren Miller movie will you see a 4-year-old win a national championship ski race and a 90-year-old take skiing advice from A.J. Kitt in the same sequence. It has not only alpine skiing, but snowboarding, telemark skiing, ski joring, a brief stint on water skiing, and a lot of people falling down. At one point, Steamboat local Dan Gilchrist employs a snorkel to get down his hometown hill. Local pinhead Ben Dolenc is once again in the Warren Miller spotlight. The Copper Mountain freerider can be found near the end of the moving making freeheel turns in Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park in Alaska.
Then there is the dialogue. Miller’s movies are always a little chit-chatty, and the ski movie icon has yet to run out of things to say. But to go with all the observations by the octogenarian producer are the thoughts and ramblings of the athletes themselves. This is one of the film’s strengths.The movie also has the standard fare of globe-trotting, as it bounces from Mammoth to British Columbia to Bulgaria to Mexico and beyond. Summit County makes a quick appearance when Burton pro snowboarders Kjersti Buass, Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter and Natasha Zurek ride the Copper Mountain superpipe during a campy spoof on Charlie’s Angel’s. Of course, you can’t have a Warren Miller movie without Vail’s Chris Anthony scaring himself silly in some exotic backcountry – this time it’s Montana. And you must have an obligatory laugh from Glen Plake, which you get during the water skiing segment. The most inspiring part of the movie was filmed right over the pass from Summit County, when Miller does a long feature on the Vail ski school.
At the heart of the segment is Sarah Will, who teaches disabled skiers how to sit-ski. At one point, Will launches 15-feet through the air on a sit-ski, showing that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.And there it was again: the spirit and culture of winter sports, coming through in a way that only Warren Miller can capture. Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at email@example.com.
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