Alaskans remember extreme ski filmmaker Warren Miller
Pioneering ski film director Warren Miller died Wednesday in his Washington state home. He was 93 years old.
For 60 years, Miller made movies of people doing spectacular things on skis and, in the process, inspired several generations.
At Alyeska Ski Resort on Thursday, ski-patroller Michael Smith said he grew up watching Miller's films in New England. He said the movies inspired him to hit the slopes.
"[They] just showed skiers going in places we couldn’t even have imagined," said Smith. "Watching him filming John Egan going ballistic down who knows what, and thinking, 'I want to go there, I want to do that!' I kind of made my life around skiing."
Snowboarder Bix Bixler also grew up watching Miller films. On Thursday, he was sitting in the Sitzmark Bar and Grill with friends. Bixler said in the '80s, no one was doing what Miller did.
"You didn't have too many programs of people making winter sports films," said Bixler. "And the X Games didn't start 'til years later. So, it was very iconic for me and it changed my life."
Alyeska ski patrol physician Nate Hemmer didn't have a life-changing experience, but he did meet Miller in person eight years ago at the premiere of one of his films.
"It was in Telluride, I was working in Telluride at the time. The guy next to us introduces himself and he says 'I'm Warren Miller!'" Hemmer said
Warren Miller may no longer be a household name, but his influence is hard to deny. Smith says he can see it even in the youngest generation of extreme skiers.
"How we've gotten to the point where young people are pushing the boundaries every year a little bit more and a little bit more, that all goes back to us watching Warren Miller films in the beginning and going, 'Wow!'" Smith said.
Miller started his company in 1949. He sold it about a dozen years ago, but the films are still being produced under his name.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.