The true story of skiing’s original filmmaker Warren Miller

For decades Warren Miller has been the best ambassador skiing could ever ask for.

His annual ski movies as part of Warren Miller Entertainment have gotten more people on skis than any technology or resort development over the last 80 years, and his smooth-coated narration and dry humor have transported us all from movie theater seats to our best days in the mountains.

Photo courtesy of Kade Krichko.

Photo: Kade Krichko

But when the curtains closed, many of us — diehards and beginners alike — were left wondering about the man behind the lens.

Despite penning several books and having his voice in the limelight for the better part of a century, Miller has remained in the shadows. That is, until now.

This fall, Miller released his much-anticipated memoir, Freedom Found: My Life Story, finally giving the ski world a glimpse into one of the greatest minds in ski media.

Full of personal history and laugh-out-loud asides, the book is a very human portrayal of a man we have often come to consider larger than life, a reminder that before Miller was an icon, he was a free-ketchup-packet-on-cracker-lunch kid that just loved to ski.

After reading Freedom Found, here were some of the takeaways from the most anticipated piece of ski literature this year.

Why We Love It

Warren Miller is a bum, and we will always love him for that. Now the most important name in ski media, Miller survived full season sleeping in Alta’s parking lot and shot ducks from the passenger seat of his Buick to score his next meal.

Around the time that Kerouac and his Dharma Bums were rising to fame, Miller was out on the road himself, traveling from ski town to ski town to try and carve out a life on nickel and dime diet.

Try as you might, it’s hard not to respect that, and it’s even harder to not be fascinated by it.

With a full volume of stories documenting this strange and enchanting tale firsthand, Freedom Found is an honest look at the man behind the lens of skiing’s biggest movies.

For anyone looking to get their nostalgia antennae scratched, there’s very little that will do it better than Miller’s full-length memoir.

What Surprised Us

Two sections of never-before-seen photos compliment over 800 pages of stories told by the skier's original storyteller. Photo courtesy of Kade Krichko.

Two sections of never-before-seen photos compliment over 800 pages of stories told by the skier’s original storyteller. Photo: Kade Krichko

We’ve come to expect sharp, witty, and concise narration from Miller and his films, but were surprised at times to not to find the same cadence in this book.

Granted, this book is the culmination of an entire lifetime, with more information than one person could ever hope to boil down.

That being said, Miller rarely tries, giving the reader an overwhelming amount of information that occasionally distracts from his writing.

Again, anyone looking for all of the information on Miller, this is about a good a record as there is.

But for those of us looking for the smooth operator we’ve come to admire in Miller, this might not be what we were looking for. Then again, this is a ski bum, and not a literary critic, speaking.

Audience

Any soul skier, or skier that pines for the good old days, would do themselves well to pick up this book.

Additionally, for those of that (definitely) know one or two of these types, this is an excellent gift idea.

History buffs are also going to get a kick out of this book. There are very few full compilations of skiing in the 20th Century that rival what Miller has put together over his lifetime, and no one that can tell a story like Miller.

This is a serious win for anyone interested in ski history, especially over the last century.

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