It's a sad day in the world of surfing, skating, skiing, and snowboarding as Warren Miller peacefully passed away at the age of 93 at his Orcas Island home. Miller was a pioneer in the world of action sports and practically invented surf, skate, and snow videos as we know them today. Many believe that the industries would have never been the same had it not been for Warren Miller, his camera, his quest for freedom, and his sense of humor. The filmmaker fought against the establishment until his final years, partnering with Hobie Alter to build a world class skate park on Orcas Island so that the kids had a place to hang out and grow as athletes.
The Seattle Times reports that Warren Miller first started filming skiing back in the late 40s after he had gotten out of World War II. Miller and a friend lived in a tent in Sun Valley, Idaho where they survived by giving skiing lessons, filming each other to better themselves on the slopes. Miller was soon showing his short films and narrating them live, on the spot. The videos were an instant success, which gave Miller the idea to make full-length movies.
Warren Miller's pioneering videos of skiing officially began in 1950 with the release of Deep and Light, a movie that showcased the filmmaker's passion for snow sports as well as his uncanny ability to capture the action in a way that had never been done so before. Additionally, Warren Miller would set his movies to big rock n' roll songs and splice in bits of humor from the ski lifts, which just about every surf, skate, and snow video has copied since the early 80s and onward. There would be no Jackass if it were not for Warren Miller.
Warren Miller was born in Hollywood, California to Helena and Albert Miller in 1926. It was there where he learned to surf, ski, and got into photography as well, which he did until he was 18 when he joined the Navy to fight in World War II. On a vacation from the war in 1944, Warren Miller borrowed a camera and first filmed his skiing in Yosemite. Upon his discharge from the armed services, Miller bought his first 8mm camera, starting Warren Miller Entertainment and the rest is history.
Warren Miller continued Warren Miller Entertainment until the late 1980s when he sold the company to his son Kurt. However, Miller was close to all of the releases and continued to be a major component of the company until the year 2000. The filmmaker and pioneer likened the first drop while skiing as true freedom. He had this to say at the age of 86.
"I really believe in my heart that that first turn you make on a pair of skis is your first taste of total freedom, the first time in your life that you could go anywhere that your adrenaline would let you go."
Warren Miller kept pushing the envelope for action sports well into his 90s, which has a lot to say about his attitude and passion. The world of action sports would be an entirely different place had it not been for the pioneering spirit of Warren Miller. Rest in Peace, Warren Miller. The quote from Mr. Miller was originally published by The Seattle Times.