Warren Miller's 61st annual nationwide ski and snowboard film tour is currently underway in cinemas across the UK. The tour offers fans the chance of seeing the latest film in HD a full season before it hits the shops, and if you're a fan of ski and snowboard films this year's tour is a must see.
Warren Miller's Wintervention is another of this winter's offerings that push the boundaries of snowsports, with incredible locations, skiing and stories making up this year's film. The film starts with some pretty funny adverts from the Ski Club and Columbia, though I'm pretty sure only the latter is intentional! With the so-called skier-snowboarder divide almost non-existent these days the film combines both sports, with skiing making up about 70% of the film, but the snowboarding sections were more than a mere a gap filler including big names like Torstein Horgmo & Haldor Helgasson. Throughout the film the crowd in Shepherd's Bush Vue ooh'd, ah'd and ouch'd to big lines, stylish tricks and inevitable stacks and crashes.
This year's film is pretty high-octane from the start. The standout sections of the film are the trip to the Antarctic, heli-skiing in interior British Columbia, the trip to Georgia and the Arctic circle skiing in Spitzbergen. There is also a great section where Sun Peaks' locals Reggie & Zach Crist drive out to Utah's back country with big-mountain newbie Lexi Dupont to fuel their skiing addiction. The section includes some particularly amusing moments, from Lexi's comment "These guys... they’ve got a problem. Wife and kid at home, and they are out here in their airstream skiing", to the cheeky comments from Crist's wife back in the family home.
The trips to Antarctica & Spitzbergen, though opposite ends of the planet, offered some truly awe-inspiring moments. Some of the steepest lines I've seen, bar maybe the Arctic section in Deeper, and set in an immense backdrop. The Antarctica section includes some good natured fun with a sketch including a screen full of penguins and finishing off with skiing off an iceberg. The section in Spitzbergen shows our threesome of ski addicts from the earlier Utah section hiking incredible lines, camping and of course watching the locals (Polar bears) from a safe distance.
Wintervention also has a short tribute to back country legend Arne Backstom, who passed away in a skiing accident in Peru during the summer. The section shows him skiing some of his favourite lines in Heavenly and showed us why he will be missed by the skiing community as a whole.
My favourite section of Wintervention was the trip to Columbia Mountains, interior British Columbia. The section starts with an introduction to the heli-skiing area in the Bugaboo Mountains that had been discovered by Austrian skier Hans Gromer back in the '60s, the guide also enjoys pointing out that the ski area they use is 60 times larger than every ski resort in North America combined! There is steep, deep powder, high speed tree-lined runs and the amazing scenery, the Bugaboos are skiing heaven and the film portrays this superbly. By the end of this section half the crowd was salivating at the thought of being there.
The evening as a whole was good fun, and half way through the film there was a short, but fun interval. Jim from Black Diamond turned up with some prizes from the sponsors including some skis from Rossignol and a couple of jackets from Columbia.
All in all it was a great evening and another great must see film. For those not lucky enough to have seen Warren Miller's 'Wintervention' yet, the tour runs until the 14th Jan so get yourself to your local viewing or get the 2011 release on pre-order as soon as possible!