Sunday, January 28, 2018
Warren Miller, a trailblazer in skiing films who died Wednesday at age 93, was famous for his mountain footage, but he really built his business on the road. The World War II vet turned ski bum made his first film in 1950, screening it for West Coast ski clubs that asked him to come back the next year with a new one. Soon he was barnstorming theaters around the country, creating an annual ritual that many ski communities anticipated like the first snowfall. Mr. Miller took a new powder-packed documentary on tour every fall. Local ski clubs, shops and resorts sold tickets. And snow-starved audiences gathered in theaters to watch elite skiers on screen and get psyched to hit the slopes themselves. Mr. Miller sold the film business in 1989 and later abandoned his role in producing and narrating the films. But his roadshow model never stopped. This season, the company that still bears his name did 152 screenings in 88 cities with its latest film, “Warren Miller’s Line of Descent.” It sold 305,000 seats, up 6% from last year.