Things You Didn’t Know About Warren Miller

Warren Miller (October 15, 1924 – January 24, 2018) was an American ski and snowboarding filmmaker. He was the founder of Warren Miller Entertainment and produced, directed and narrated his films until 1988. His credits included over 750 sports films, several books and hundreds of published non-fiction stories. His annual films on skiing and other outdoor sports are known for their photography, narrative humor, and broad appeal. He was noted for the promotion of skiing through his films spanning over 60 years and is an iconic figure in ski-movie filmmaking.[1]



Early years

Warren Anthony Miller was born in Hollywood, Los Angeles, to parents Helena Humphrey Miller and Albert Lincoln Miller. He was the youngest of three children and had two sisters, Mary Helen Miller and Betty Jane “BJ” Miller.[2]

As a young man he took up the hobbies of skiing, surfing, and photography. At the age of 18, with the U.S. ten months into World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the South Pacific. On Christmas vacation in 1944 he first filmed skiing with a borrowed camera in Yosemite.[3] Upon his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he bought his first 8mm movie camera. He and a friend, Ward Baker, moved to Sun Valley, Idaho where they camped in the parking lot of the Sun Valley ski resort, lived in a teardrop trailer and earned money as ski instructors. In their free time, they filmed each other skiing to critique and improve their ski techniques. During the summers they shifted to the California coast where they filmed each other surfing.[4]

Warren Miller Entertainment

Warren Miller would often show his skiing and surfing films to friends, making jokes about their exploits throughout the showing of the film. When he began to receive invitations to show and narrate his films at parties, it occurred to him that he could turn this hobby into a business. In 1949, Miller founded Warren Miller Entertainment [WME] and began a long-standing tradition of producing one feature-length ski film per year. He rented out halls and theaters, usually with borrowed money, and charged admission to his shows. He booked show halls near ski resorts so that he could film the next year’s footage during the day, and show the current film in the evening. Before long he was showing his films in 130 cities a year.[5]

Current work

Miller continued to head WME both creatively and managerially until the late 1980s when he sold the company to his son, Kurt Miller. Kurt later sold the company to Time, Inc., which sold it in 2007 to Bonnier Corporation, which was itself acquired by Active Interest Media in 2013.[6] The company still produces a new film every year, but Miller himself has not been actively involved since 2004.

While transitioning out of his executive role, Miller still maintained his creative role as director and narrator for the films into the 1990s, but Miller has distanced himself from production in recent years. The makers of recent films such as, Warren Miller’s Higher Ground (2005) and Warren Miller’s Off the Grid (2006), opted to use Miller’s narration from previous films rather than recording new narration.[7][8][9]

Recent films have been criticized as a departure from the traditional Warren Miller films. Miller himself has indicated that he is not content with recent productions, and has been actively discouraged from involvement in the films bearing his name.[10] “I have not been involved with my old company’s films in any capacity for many years now, and I will not work with WME again.”[11]

In late 2010, Miller announced the re-launch of the Warren Miller Company, an organization representing his professional and philanthropic interests established nearly two decades ago. He made a return to stage, presenting ‘An Evening with Warren Miller’ to two sold-out audiences at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall.

Personal life

Warren Miller and his wife of 30 years, Laurie, lived on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands north of Seattle, Washington, and enjoyed cruising on his 47′ Bayliner Yacht.[citation needed] He was an active writer. He announced plans to publish a book about life in retirement called What Are You Doing with the Rest of Your Life?

In September 2016, Warren published his autobiography, Freedom Found: My Life Story. The book was published by the Warren Miller Company. Author Andy Bigford, former editor-in-chief and publisher of Ski Magazine, co-authored the book, and Warren’s wife Laurie contributed as well. After a sold out first printing, a second printing is due for fall 2017.[12]

Miller died on January 24, 2018, in Orcas Island.[13]


# Year Title
1 1950 Deep And Light
2 1951 California Skis
3 1952 Wandering Skis
4 1953 Ski Fantasy
5 1954 Symphony On Skis
6 1955 Invitation To Skiing
7 1956 Have Skis, Will Travel
8 1957 Anyone For Skiing?
9 1958 Are Your Skis On Straight?
10 1959 Let’s Go Skiing
11 1960 Swinging Skis
12 1961 Many Moods Of Skiing
13 1962 Around The World On Skis
14 1963 The Sound Of Skiing
15 1964 The Skiers
16 1965 The Big Ski Show
17 1966 Ski On The Wild Side
18 1967 The Ski Scene
19 1968 No Boundaries
20 1969 This Is Skiing
21 1970 Sound Of Winter
22 1971 Any Snow, Any Mountain
23 1972 Winter People
24 1973 Skiing’s Great
25 1974 The Color Of Skiing
26 1975 There Comes A Time
27 1976 Skiing On My Mind
28 1977 In Search Of Skiing
29 1978 Ski A La Carte
30 1979 Winter Fever
31 1980 Ski People
32 1981 Ski In The Sun
33 1982 Snowonder
34 1983 Ski Time
35 1984 Ski Country
36 1985 Steep And Deep
37 1986 Beyond The Edge
38 1987 White Winter Heat
39 1988 Escape To Ski
40 1989 White Magic
41 1990 Extreme Winter
42 1991 Born To Ski
43 1992 Steeper And Deeper
44 1993 Black Diamond Rush
45 1994 Vertical Reality
46 1995 Endless Winter
47 1996 Snowriders
48 1997 Snowriders 2
49 1998 Freeriders
50 1999 Fifty
51 2000 Ride
52 2001 Cold Fusion
53 2002 Storm
54 2003 Journey
55 2004 Impact

Movies released since 2004, while bearing Warren Miller’s name, were not directed by Warren Miller, nor was he involved in their production in any way. See the complete list for all films bearing Warren Miller’s name.