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Behind the Scenes

The Land of Milk and Honey

Over the trip I've begun to form a theory surrounding the craze and obsession for Warren Miller films. It is obviously more than just a ski flick; I believe that people come to the films year after year to congregate with one another similar to a support group for ski junkies.

Although we missed the California Gold Rush of 1848 it seems we are still striking gold everywhere we go here in the “El Dorado State.” After a busy first week in the bay area, Matt Feicht (crew 1 projectionist) and I decided to spend our day off on the coast. We traveled south to the classic beach town of Santa Cruz. There we spent time with Matt’s good friend and coworker from Sequoia National Park. After walking on the beach and sharing old stories we made our way back north via Highway 1. This stretch of highway is truly one of the most beautiful drives I have ever experienced. The route hugs the California coast, providing access to windswept cypress trees, rugged cliffs and canyons, beautiful lighthouses, and the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean. We didn’t spot any marine life on our stroll up route 1, but I imagine they were enjoying the warmth of the California sun shining overhead. After a great day on the coast I didn’t deserve the treat that I was about to encounter at the Broadway Grill in Burlingame, CA. I was meeting an old college buddy who happens to live in the area for dinner when we stumbled upon a restaurant that appeared the place to be in Burlingame. We had just ordered our food when we were surprised and delighted to be joined by four members of Pure Ecstacy welcoming us to Motown Mondays. With their wireless mics they serenaded us for over an hour railing off classic Motown and Soul hits from the Temptations-My Girl to the Commodores-Brick House. With a full belly and a complete sense of satisfaction I called it a day. I remembered thinking to myself how tough life was on the road (kidding of course) and drifted into a deep sleep, dreaming of the endless amount of powder that awaits us this winter.

Did you know that California is the most geographically diverse state in the nation? Well it is, it contains the highest (Mount Whitney) and the lowest (Death Valley) points in the contiguous US. Oh and there are a few ski mountains to go along with the beaches, enough ski mountains to fill up show after show in the San Francisco area with skiers counting down the days until winter. We began our week at the historic Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco. It is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art. The Palace has played many roles throughout the years, a city park department warehouse, a telephone book distribution center, as a flag and tent storage depot, and even as temporary Fire Department headquarters. We used the Palace to show a ski film! Some would have though it was Christmas morning by the looks in the eyes of the many that filled the theater. Jonny Moseley, Kip Garre, Doug Stoup, and John Morrison all joined me on stage to get the crowd on their feet throwing high fives and chest bumps throughout the night. The guys got to share some stories about their different segments of the film including Antarctica, Svalbard, Utah, and British Columbia. The crowd responded in great fashion! It seemed that the people left the theater with more pep in their step, carrying with them excitement and hope knowing that winter is just around the corner.

The local sponsors have really been solid throughout the bay area. But when I walked into the lobby of the Palace of Fine Arts and saw a massive trampoline I was sold. Dave Schaeffer and Paul McGeehan co owners of The House of Air gladly fielded my many questions about their indoor trampoline park and even invited me to come and jump around before our next show. The following day, I walked to the historic airplane hanger with a feeling of childhood excitement, you know the feeling that you get when you know you are going to have over 70 trampolines at your disposal. I jumped until I could not any longer. This place has a full on basketball court, dodge ball court, and they host all sorts of aerial and fitness training. Let’s just say that trampolining is the new yoga ladies and gentlemen.

We finished up at the Palace and headed north thru wine country to Santa Rosa and Sacramento. Over the weekend I began to form a theory surrounding the craze and obsession for Warren Miller films. It is obviously more than just a ski flick; I believe that people come to the films year after year to congregate with one another similar to a support group for ski junkies. Outside the theater, in the parking lot, the lobby, the restrooms, people share their skiing stories with one another. We all have stories and here everyone is willing to listen. The problem is the intense desire to ski on a daily basis. The addiction is something we all have in common. Together we feel safe at home. We watch the film to convince ourselves that we are not that crazy after all. The ones not counting down the days until opening day, they are the ones with the problem. I still haven’t figured it out completely, but I know it is a beautiful thing.

Check out some photos from the journey here.