Warren Miller’s Playground hits Vancouver

Warren Miller’s Playground hits Vancouver

WHISTLER, BC, October 25, 2007 – “The ski season doesn’t start until the Warren Miller film is in town,” according to renowned ski film maker, Warren Miller, who has brought his films to Vancouver, BC for 58 years. He’s come in person for 50 of those years, narrating most of the films live for the audience.

Just as Whistler Blackcomb is gearing up for its much-anticipated 2007.2008 winter season, Warren Miller Entertainment’s newest ski film, Playground, is set for its Vancouver debut at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on November 2nd and 3rd.

Warren Miller, 83, is an institution in the ski industry, and many of his fans go back as far as three generations. He unsuspectingly launched a hugely successful film career in 1946 when he went to live in the Sun Valley parking lot in a trailor, along with a buddy and an 8mm camera, having been freshly discharged from the US Navy. More than half a century and one ski film legacy later, Miller has since retired from the film business, but still keeps ties with Warren Miller Entertainment.

“I’ve had and still am having a lot of good times working with Warren,” says Willi Vogl, who has been bringing Warren Miller films to Vancouver for 22 years. “Warren is an amazing man and he changed a lot of peoples lives for the better.”

“The Warren Miller film premier is not just a film, but it’s a show and an event,” he adds. “Skiers, snowboarders, families and their kids lose touch with their friends over the summer. But, when the Warren Miller film comes to town, they start calling each other, meeting up and getting stoked about the show and the winter season.”

Vogl says there is a buzz in the air before the show starts. Then, when the Warren Miller crew hits the stage, the crowd goes wild.

“When the MC opens the show, he always asks the audience how many skiers and snowboarders are in the house, and the response is ear shattering,” says Vogl, adding that the competition between skiers and snowboarders always ends in a tie.

Playground features Whistler Blackcomb in a major way this year because of the mountain’s epic 2006.2007 winter, which was the second snowiest season on record. On average, Whistler Blackcomb receives 10.22 metres (33.5 feet) of snow. However, last season, winter storms dumped 14.16 m (46.5 ft) of the fluffy white stuff. And that translated into epic filming conditions for the Warren Miller film crew.

Four Whistler athletes participated in Warren Miller’s winter shoot, which took place from January 19 to 23, 2007. And what a month to visit – January was marked by heavy snowfall, perfect for epic powder shots. There were four 20cm (eight-inches) snow days, and one 70cm (27.5-inch) day. The Warren Miller crew descended upon Whistler Blackcomb and the surrounding Callahan and Brandywine areas to carve out untracked lines.

“Filming with Warren Miller was a childhood dream of mine that finally came true this year,” says pro skier Ian McIntosh, a member of Whistler Blackcomb’s pro athlete team who is featured in Playground. “It was a lot of fun working with such a professional crew that knows how to get the job done. It made my job as a skier very easy.”

Meanwhile, Whistler Blackcomb skier, Jen Ashton, described in the movie as the “daughter of Whistler”, says it doesn’t get much better than the snow conditions she experienced last season. To top it all off, skiing in a Warren Miller movie wasn’t such a bad gig either.

“The most memorable moment from working on Playground was the heli-skiing that we did,” says Ashton. “With all of the early season snowfall and the first blue sky we’d seen in a couple of months, those heli-days were the highlight of my winter.”

Now Whistler Blackcomb looks towards the 2007/2008 winter season. Weather experts are expecting a La Nina weather phenomenon to roll through the Pacific Northwest, which means colder and wetter than normal conditions, resulting in snow.

Whistler Blackcomb’s opening day is scheduled for November 22, and perhaps Warren Miller himself said it best: “If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do.”

Playground hits the big screen at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Nov. 2 and 3 at 7:30pm. Attendees will receive a 2-for-1 lift ticket for Whistler Blackcomb and will be entered to win prizes. Tickets are available Through Ticketmaster (604.280.4444) and Swiss Sports Haus (604.922.9107).

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