Ask Warren (From SnoWorld 1989)

10 Questions you've always wanted to ask Warren Miller.

Ok, admit it. It's a Sunday morning and it's quiet. You're not quite ready to go skiing and you're enjoying that second cup of coffee in the ski lodge.

Across the table sits a face so recognizable that you'd know him anywhere, anytime. Her orders coffee too. You recognize that voice.

Yeah. It's Warren Miller. In Person. Not up there on the silver screen.

He's yours long enough for both of you to finish your coffee. What would you ask him?

Sure, you may see him somewhere in "SnoWorld" as you "Escape to Ski" this winter, but in case you don't, we asked a random number of previous film-goers to send us the one question they'd ask Warren if they had a chance.

"But think of the 35 dollars we're savin'!"

Q: "When are you going to retire to your own resort and ski your brains out?"
- A.G. Solo

WM: I usually ski 75 to 120 days a year at ski resorts all over the world. I won't retire until I get tired of sharing my experiences with people who look forward to doing the same thing. Plus, I don't want to own a ski resort.

Q: "When you film footage of virgin snow, how does the cameraman get down first without making tracks?"
- Gary Yamashita

WM: The cameraman will ski down one side of the slope and leave the rest of the hill untracked for the skiers - in many cases, he will have to make his way through rocks and trees and always with 30 to 45 pounds of equipment on his back. They are, in my opinion, some the world's greatest "artist athletes."

Q: "Are the skiers in your film 'naturals' or do you audition lots of them and only keep the good footage?"
- Eric Prima

WM: We audition a lot of skiers and those that appear in our films are world-class athletes. Being seen by millions on the big screen can open the doors of opportunity for anyone that skis for us.

Q: "How many miles to you and your camera crews travel each year to get such great movies?"
- Steve McClintock

WM: We used 6 cameramen to produce Escape to Ski, and collectively we traveled between 300,000 and 500,000 miles. I gave up keeping track of mileage the year I slept in 157 different hotels.

Q: "Most of the mountains in your movies are so steep, I've always wondered where the cameraman is to get those kinds of shots. Can you explain it?"
- Tami Coleman

WM: Usually he skis right with the skiers. Except in the cliff jumps; he skis down the steep gullies alongside the cliffs to get below them. Our cameramen are "hot, talented skiers" or they couldn't get there with all the gear in the rucksacks.

"I understand there's deep powder up top."

Q: "Much of your film is show in very remote areas on treacherous terrain. What was the most dangerous situation you or your cameramen have even been in?"
- Jon Grebliunas

WM: It is almost dark. At 11,000 above the Tasman Glacier. We had a 3-place helicopter and there were 5 of us. No time for the almost 30-mile round trip to safety with 2 passengers at a time. So we tied the two skiers on the outside like dead animals and it took us ten minutes to get the 5 of us airborne. We finally got airborne by a series of helicopter hops of 5 vertical and 10 horizontal until we got to a cliff and the helicopter fell off to get air speed - fortunately, the cliff was high enough.

Q: "Did you ever see the Abominable Snowman when you were filming?"
- Rory Pierce, Age 7

WM: Yes, and we filmed him too. But it was overcast so the color didn't match the other sequences in the movie, so the editors refused to include the snowman and his family in the finished film.

Q: "What was your most embarrassing moment, personally, as a skier?"
- Pete Se Vestern

WM: In almost 40 years I've had hundreds. Arriving at a French governor's mansion in a tweed suit for dinner and everyone else was in a tuxedo. Phoning a sponsor to see how ticket sales were going for tonight's show only to be asked why I wasn't there a couple of nights earlier when all the customers were. Hiring and meeting a new young cameraman and driving until 2:00 am only to wake up the next morning at the wrong ski resort. 

"You didn't say 'tux or tails' on the invitation, so I thought..."

Q: "What has been your single most thrilling ski experience?"
- Marilyn Jensen

WM: Filming Jean Clocke on a snow-covered volcano in New Zealand that was blowing up every day between 3:30 and 4:30. The helicopter pilot found us at 4:45. Fortunately that day the volcano was late for its daily blow up.

Q: "Have you been affected spiritually by your travels and has the vast beauty of the mountains changed the way you view life?"
- Nicole Sodaro

WM: I was lucky in learning to ride a surfboard and ski in 1938/39. Thus, I have always been able on a daily basis to "worship in the Cathedral of the Gods," as the mountains and the oceans have been called. To fit into the total ebb and flow of all life forms is simply to appreciate being tuned into the environment and, as the younger generation says, "go with the flow."

Ok - time's up. Now, let the man finish his coffee, he's got to go skiing. And, so do you.