The Warren Miller film crew can go anywhere in the world in search of deep snow, big vertical and world-class terrain. With so many exotic locales to choose from, it's rare for them to return to the same place two years running. Let alone that the place is, ahem, in the heart of dairy country in Southern Wisconsin. But if you want to shoot the Schrab brothers¿and you gotta shoot the Schrab brothers¿you suck up your pride, buy a plane ticket to Milwaukee and make the pilgrimage.
The Schrabs are 20-year-old fraternal twins who are showing no signs of growing up, even as they near the drinking age in a state better know for cold beer than big air. The Schrabs are national freestyle champions who have skied against the big mountain legends of the West and taught them a thing or two. But best of all, they've remained true to their roots, eschewing the hoity-toity freeskiing scene of Squaw or Jackson in favor of staying home at tiny Devil's Head ski resort, which boasts a vertical drop of 500 feet.
Last year's Schrab segment pulled the highest rating of any scene in Warren Miller history, and the crew figured why tamper with success. So for the 51st annual Warren Miller film, Ride, the high-flying brothers return to suck water from a lake, make snow and build a larger, hairier and scarier jump at the family farm. Too much for one segment, the Schrab's aw-schucks-hospital-air project unfolds over five parts in the 90-minute film.
What else should you expect from Ride, a title that was selected from 10,000 viewer suggestions in a web contest? Look for the usual powder-perfect scenes from famous resorts such as Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C., Big Sky, Mont., Keystone, Colo. and Steamboat, Colo., plus footage from more exotic locales, including Greenland, New Zealand and Mt. Elbrus in Russia. And look for sick lines by the world's best skiers and snowboarders, including Jeremy Nobis, Eric Pehota, Justin Patnode and Craig Kelly. Also look for more dry humor from the globe's preeminent ski bum, Warren Miller, who is beginning to pass the narrative torch to his son, Kurt Miller, and to the film's ski stars, who are taking more of a role in the dialogue.
In the end, the past still rules. In a segment featuring vintage footage of the old masters, Jimmie Heuga and Stein Eriksen do things on ancient gear that seem undoable even today, all set to the best music of the movie, Lou Bega's Mambo #5. Beck, Widespread Panic, Rusted Root, Duran Duran, Los Lobos and Reverend Horton Heat also contribute to the soundtrack.
A disclosure: The Skiing Co., publishers of SKI, purchased Warren Miller Entertainment last spring. We may be biased in our review, so go see it for yourself.
For a schedule and ticket information, including a list of the freebies that come with the show, visit www.warrenmiller.com.