Skier Brent Abrams
Photo Credit: Court Leve
The day I saw Higher Ground, I had just bought a pair of Obermeyer ski pants. Three hours later, those same pants were in the Warren Miller movie. Too bad I wasn't in them. However, the man behind the name was. Eighty-five year-old Klaus Obermeyer takes us down Aspen Colorado's finest slopes.
Miller Entertainment's 56th film also features five-year-old phenom Bridger Gile.
You've heard of Burning Man. Well, how about ArcticMan? At the time of filming, the event was in its twentieth year. 13,000 people hang out high on a mountaintop and watch ski racers pulled behind a snowmobile at 89 mph. Talk about insane!
That is, until you see flying man mountaineer Dave Barlia in action.
Superman Dave Barlia
Barlia, who hails from Mammoth Lakes, California, calls his descent flying down a ski resort in Chamonix, France in a wingsuit "relaxing". 10 feet off the ground, at 130 miles per hour? Ya, right!
I wonder what his wife calls it.
The police in France call it illegal. But that doesn't stop Barlia.
This year's film was shot in the following locations starring the following athletes:
Chugach Powder Guides (Girdwood, Alaska) starring Mark Abma from Atascadero, California and Kaj Zakrisson from Werlimastergatan, Sweden
Aspen, Colorado starring Peter and Michael Olenick from Carbondale, Colorado, Klaus Obermeyer, Bridger Gile, Mike, Steve and Roger Marolt from Aspen, and Max Mancini from Boulder, Colorado
Snowboard Montage starring Frederik Kalbermatten from Saas Fee, Switzerland, Mads Johnson from Hemsedal, Norway and Dave Downing from Encinitas, California
FDNY (Hunter Mountain, New York) starring Eric Knutsen, Paul Barbara, Joseph Cavarretta, Jason Conelli, Victor J. Fiorella, Robert Gibson, Joseph LaPointe, Daniel McGowan, Michael Molloy and Dan Sini from Staten Island, New York
Mike Wiegele's (Blue River, British Columbia) starring Ingrid Backstrom from Olympic Valley, California and Sarah Burke from Midland, Ontario
Courcheval, France starring Marja Persson from Sweden, Chris Eby from Pemberton B.C., and Chelone Miller from Franconia, New Hampshire
Vail, Colorado starring Rob Bak from Vail, Jeff Nelson and JJ Johnson from Breckenridge, Colorado, Curtis Sorenson from Denver, Colorado, Jake Black from Keystone, Colorado, Jesse Dempsey from Snowmass Village, Colorado, Will Tuddenham, Ryan Debenham and Andrew Butler from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Noah Brooks from Boulder, Colorado
Points North (Cordova, Alaska) starring Kevin Quinn from Cordova, Hugo Harrisson from Pemberton, British Columbia, and Dan Treadway from Longbow Lak, Ontario
Heavenly, California starring Glan Plake from Lake Tahoe, California, Jessica Sobolowski from Tahoe City, Chris Hernandez, Brent Abrams and Ty Dayberry from South Lake Tahoe, and Wayne Wong and Lindsey Dyer from Reno, Nevada
USS Nimitz (Pacific Ocean) and ArcticMan (Summit Lake, Alaska) starring Chris Anthony from Edwards, Colorado
The Canyons, Utah starring Josh Madsen and Jamey Parks from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Sean Smith and Jeremy Nobis from Park City, Utah
Engelberg, Switzerland starring Shane McConkey from Olympic Valley, California and Seth Morrison from Frisco, Colorado
Copper Mountain, Colorado starring Frank Walter from Copper Mountain, Greg Tuffelmire from Frisco, Colorado, Matt Peterson, Nick Mercon, CJ Marsh, Jason Legge and Mike Casanova from Breckenridge, Colorado, Ben Dolenc from Longmont, Colorado, Forrest Cole from Avon, Colorado, Clair Bidez from Minturn, Colorado, Jon Cyrulik from Gaylord, Michigan, and Erich Dummer from Chicago City, Minnesota
Wingsuit (Chamonix, France) starring Dave Barlia from Mammoth Lakes, California
Mike Wiegele's redux (Blue River, British Columbia) starring Jeremy Bloom from Boulder, Colorado
Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger
On Friday, December 30th, Bloom was in Steamboat Springs preparing himself for the February 15th Olympic Games in Torino, Italy.
At the Olympic Freestyle Skiing Trials the 5-9, 170 pounds 23 year-old was victorious in the moguls event. By winning this event, Bloom earned an automatic spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
The U.S. Olympic freestyle skiing hopeful has also recently announced that he plans to woo NFL coaches on February 22nd.
In college, the NCAA forced Bloom to choose between skiing and football. The NCAA chose skiing for him.
Now, the Olympian will attempt to take his speed and agility onto the professional football field.
To follow Jeremy's success, explore his hip, happenin' and rappin' web site at:
The Man Who Brought Big Skiers to The Big Screen
This year's film does not star Warren Miller, the award-winning action sports cinematographer, but it does star his voice.
Today, the member of the Ski Hall of Fame is no longer involved in the production of the films that still bear his name.
His first feature film "Deep and Light" was created on a $500 budget.
During his fifty-year career making ski movies, Miller produced nearly five hundred sports films.
Miller was once described by an L.A. Times columnist as a "combination of Jean-Claude Killy, Robert Redford, Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen."
Warren Miller in Red
The last film he was minimally involved with was Impact.
In Higher Ground Miller did not even narrate the film. To keep with tradition, however, old narration from previous films was used.
Today, his three adult children are all professionally involved in film and/or visual media.
At 81 years of age, Miller is busy teaching skiing on Pioneer Mountain near Big Sky, Montana and Yellowstone National Park.
The Honorary Director of Skiing at Yellowstone Club said, "They invited me to come here and be director of skiing. It's the best job; I have no boss, no job description. Once and awhile they ask me to ski with someone."
Miller is also writing a new book called "What Are You Doing With The Rest Of Your Life?"
Previously, he authored:
Warren's World: America's Best-Loved Ski Humorist (July 2002)
Lurching From One Near-Disaster to the Next (published October 15th, 1998)
Wine, Women, Warren, & Skis (1998)
On Film, In Print (published October 15th, 1994)
For more on the man behind the signature movies, please explore:
Skier Kevin Quinn said about this year's movie:
We were able to land on these huge peaks of that magic carpet.
It takes you to a higher place.
Jeremy Nobis said:
How to achieve higher ground?
Swedish Skier Kaj Zackrisson
Photo Credit: Chris Patterson
That's not something you can force.
It kind of just happens.
Swedish skier Kaj Zackrisson said:
My dream to come to Alaska and ski and now we're here, and it's just great. All these new experiences are just overwhelming.
The thing we wanted to know was, "What were skiers like Kevin Quinn listening to on their iPod when the helicopter left them alone to tackle the mountain?" Perhaps artists from the soundtrack such as:
One Self's "Be Your Own"
Amon Tobin's "Ruthless"
Lost Prophets' "We Still Kill The Old Way"
Damien Rice's "Eskimo" - the last track on O
Switchfoot's "Dare You To Move" from The Beautiful Letdown
Xavier Rudd's "G.B.A" from his June 7th, 2005 release of Solace
Dirty Halo's "Check It (Then Bring It)" from their May 10th, 2005 release of Damn Good Day
John Butler Trio's "What You Want"
Audioslave's "Your Time Has Come"
Stringcheese Incident's "Tinder Box"
Claude Mclin's "Jambo"
Hush's "Loves Asleep"
Har mar Superstar's "As (Seasons)" from his 2004 CD The Handler
Brazilian Girls' "Sirenes de le Fete" from their February 2005 CD Brazilian Girls
Audioslave's "Be Yourself" from their May 2005 release of Out of Exile
The Crest's "L-Ascorbic Acid" from their June 2005 release of Skeptik
The Zutons "Don't Ever Think Too Much", their last track on Who Killed the Zutons
Jack Johnson's "Staple It Together", the seventh track on his album In Between Dreams
Incubus' "Warning" from Morning View
Blue Collar Special's "I Want" and "8-22-03"
Slang's "When The Blood Burns" from The Bellwether Project
Pearl Jam's "Even Flow" from their rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003) album
Phantom Planet's "The Happy Ending"
One Self's "Be Your Own"
The Crystal Method's "Badass"
Rumblebees' "Hey You"
The Zutons' "Pressure Point"
Mofro's "Six Ways From Sunday"
The Soundtrack Of Our Lives' "Transcendental Suicide"
Robbie Wood's "Friends Of The Cold"
Critical Brass' "Sustain The Chain(Buck It)"
Kyle Hollingsworth's "Prevolution/The Crusade"
The Soundtrack Of Our Lives' "Bigtime"
Dirty Halo's "Zilch"
Your Enemies Friends' "Back Of A Taxi"
The Crest's "Heart Shaped Box"
Dirty Halo's "Flow"
Amon Tobin's "Ruthless"
Sland's "Third Ear"
VAST's "Thrown Away" from their February 2004 album Nude
Agent Sparks' "Last Chance, Last Take"
Kill Radio's "Freedom" from their Fall 2004 album Raised On Whipped Cream
Skier Jeremy Nobls
Photo Credit: Scott Markewitz
Director Max Bervy, said of this year's movie:
With Higher Ground we set out to capture those limit-breaking moments and get a glimpse behind the curtain on what higher ground means to each athlete.
For some it means jumping off a 280-foot cliff wearing skis and a parachute, for others itís the triumph of a powder day at the resort in their backyard.
Freeskiers Shane McConkey and Seth Morrison took extreme skiing to new heights in Engelberg, Switzerland.
In skiing, the skier is kind of the artist and the mountain is pretty much the canvas.
I like the clean canvas of powder.
It just gives me the opportunity to show what my kind of art is.
McConkey introduced our kids to off-canvas skiing by jumping of cliffs with a parachute. It's called BASE jumping. My kids called it "crazy".
Not even Morrison was crazy enough to get in on this act.
U.S. Tour Schedule 2006
Skier Kaj Zackrisson
Photo Credit: Tom Evans
While the last showing of "Higher Ground" took place in Sunriver on January 1st, the film can be still seen in other parts of the country and around the world in 2006.
To buy tickets for "Higher Ground" in the Pacific U.S. (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon or Washington), Mountain U.S. (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah or Wyoming), Central U.S. (Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas or Wisconsin), MidWest/East (Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont or Virginia) or Canada, the U.K., Germany, Australia or New Zealand, please go to:
Kahului, Maui was one of the few places that I could find a showing in 2006. "Higher Ground" will be shown on January 14th at 7:30pm at the MACC, Castle Theater.
The film is expected to be touring throughout Australia and New Zealand in May and June 2006.
If the film does not look like it is coming to your area and you are willing to organize and promote a showing, please contact Craig Oberlink at craigo at warrenmiller.com.
Warren Miller Shoot in Chamonix, France
Photo Credit: Tom Day
About Warren Miller Entertainment
Warren Miller Entertainment (WME) is the most respected name in action sports cinematography, capturing the best of winter sports since 1949. In addition to producing and touring a feature length snow sports film each year, Warren Miller Entertainment has a thriving television programming, development and production arm and is a leading source for snow and action sports stock footage. All films are produced and distributed from the company's Boulder, Colorado studios.
Today, Warren Miller Entertainment is a business of Time4 Media's Mountain Sports Media, based in Boulder, Colorado.
Time4 Media is a multi-media company whose enterprises include leading magazines, Websites, television and radio programming, feature films, and events and exhibitions.
Time4 Media is a subsidiary of Time Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.
The national tour of Higher Ground is presented by Jeep and co-sponsored by Nature Valley, Grand Marnier, Accutron, Warren Miller Mobile, X-Box, Pioneer and SKIING Magazine.
Thanks to all the talented people involved in the making of this year's Higher Ground.
Good luck in Torino, Jeremy! All of America will be cheering you on!
Inspire. & Be Inspired.
Here's to healthy, adventuresome, soulful, "vicarious-at-its-best" living!
~ Jennifer Carolyn King, Rugged Elegance, LLC