There are 7 ingredients to a Warren Miller movie. And for better or for worse, Chasing Shadows has them all.
Since 1950 Warren Miller has been making or lending his name to ski movies. The good news? Warren Miller movies have hardly changed. The bad news? Warren Miller movies have hardly changed.
I went to see the latest Chasing Shadows last night. Here’s the rundown of expected Warren Miller ingredients:
Cultural explorations: Chamonix, Nepal, Japan, Chile….It’s cool to see what skiing is like in all these places but when you get a clip of a snowboarder standing in his LL Bean jacket (LL Bean, coincidentally, sponsored this) talking about how soulful Nepal is, as an American you have to cringe. Ditto for the pseudo arty French and Japanese voiceovers of women talking about how brave “The Boys” (Chris Benchetler, Pep Fujas, Eric Pollard) are for “surfing” the mountains (English subtitles.)
Chicks: And speaking of women, Warren Miller remains in the Pleistocene era. Sure, the movies have moved on from “those cute ski bunnies in tight clothes” scenes But not too far. Instead you see a chick trip of three blondes (granted Lexi duPont, Amie Engerbretson and McKenna Peterson can ski) in an RV gasping (I paraphrase) “OMG, Alaska is soooo awesome” about 50 times between discussions of farts and dirty socks. And did I mention they wear bunny ears and dance on top the RV? Please ladies, don’t do that.
Extreme star: All through the movie you get glimpses of Sage Cattabriga-Alosa. You know you are going to see Sage ski. That’s what keeps you there through intermission. But when you finally do, half of his air time is spent talking about how there was so much snow on the road to Portillo they were only allowed up because they had reservations at the hotel. The other half has some nice powder shots, a few airs, but nothing truly Sage-worthy. Ian McIntosh gets some nice lines and Ingrid Backstrom has cameo appearances. We never really get to see her ski.
The falls: Steamboat’s Cowboy Downhill is as old as the hills but the footage of 50 pizza-wedge level cowboys stampeding over a jump is actually pretty funny.
Freestyle: Vermont’s own Hannah Kearney gets a bit part in the freestyle mogul scenes from Deer Valley. This bump ‘n air segment gave the discipline the respect it deserves.
Weirdness: Monopalooza—an all-mono-ski day, is just what you would expect. It’s so full-on geeky/awkward you can’t look away.
The best ski footage (even though the edits showed some repeat segments) was from Japan with The Boys (Chris Benchetler, Pep Fujas, Eric Pollard) taking hits off pow covered trees.
Now that, that I could have watched for 60 minutes.