WIntervention: The Quest of the Weekend Warrior
October 27, 2010
When I was in college on the Front Range I had a good friend who was just as avid about skiing as myself. We’d plan our class schedules so that we could have entire days free to ski together.
After we graduated, however, we diverged in our methods of pursuing our passion for the outdoors. While I got the first job I could find in a mountain town, he stayed on the Front Range and got one of those better-paying desk jobs for a big software firm. While I walked out my back door after work to hike and ski, he itched around at his desk from Monday to Friday, staring at the big snow storm out the window, waiting for five o’clock Friday.
“Weekend Warriors,” we mountain folk called his type. They’d come prepared to ski all day, all weekend. They’d sit in hours of traffic to get there. And they’d do it all again next week.
The new Warren Miller film is dedicated to folks like this and it tells the tale of people who’ve taken their obsession for skiing to the next level, making it their career.
“Wintervention,” narrated by ski icon Jonny Moseley, takes us from the South Pole to the North Pole with more than a dozen stops between.
In his interludes, Moseley plays a mock radio talk show host, providing therapy for addicted snow riders. Moseley’s advice never fails – keep on getting out there. The only cure for powder addiction, is more powder.
Starring more than 10 Colorado athletes, including Chris Anthony, Lindsey Vonn, Steve Fisher, Zach Black, Chris Davenport and Matt Walker among others, the film features Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone and Telluride resorts.
I was pleased to see these resorts actually named this year. In last year’s film, Colorado’s resorts were all lumped together as if the whole state is just one large ski area. As we all know, Colorado’s resorts have their own distinct personalities, and I was pleased to see these recognized in this year’s film.
The fast-paced start of the movie builds enthusiasm as the movie plunges us into the Antarctic Ocean for a mountaineering ski trip into new terrain – places that can only be reached the hard way – on foot.
There are moments that look less than fun – climbing up a snowy ridge in driving winds – and then there are moments that whet the appetite for winter in a way so quintessentially Warren Miller that I’ve added Austria’s Arlberg region to the list of places I want to ski before I die.
Georgia, (as in the former USSR rather than peaches) fulfills the Warren Miller criteria for featuring at least one place that makes you go ‘huh?’ They ski THERE? The Georgia group’s attempt to heli-ski in the Caucasus Mountains is classic. (Think retro-fitted army supply helicopter).
My favorite scene of the whole film was shot in Southern Utah where El Nino dumped an unusual amount of snow last winter, giving a trio from Sun Valley, Idaho, the unique opportunity to carve turns down steep red rock cliff bands eerily similar to those I’ve hiked in previous winters when they were dry.
British Columbia, New Zealand and Alaska get their moment in the snow as well, and the sound track was so catchy I found myself looking up many of the songs.
“Wintervention” tends to lean more on the ski mountaineering side of things (poor snowboarders) – and features journeys most of us can neither fathom nor afford – but it’s inspirational enough to make anyone feel like a Weekend Warrior, just itching to get out there – particularly as the snow flies this week and we start to pull out our snow gear and wait, just wait, for winter to finally settle into the landscape.
In the meantime, if you are in search of a fix, the Warren Miller movie tour will make a stop at the Silver Screen Cinema Thursday, Oct. 28, with showings at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.