Warren Miller, the pioneering snow-sports filmmaker, died Wednesday at his home on Orcas Island. He was 93. (Warren Miller Entertainment, 1989)

Legendary skiing filmmaker Warren Miller dies at age 93

Warren Miller, the pioneering snow-sports filmmaker, died Wednesday at his home on Orcas Island.

Warren Miller, the legendary outdoor filmmaker who for decades made homages to downhill skiing that he narrated with his own humorous style, has died. He was 93.

His family said in a statement that Miller died of natural causes Wednesday evening at his home on Orcas Island in Washington state.

A World War II veteran, ski racer, surfer and sailor, Miller produced more than 500 action films about a variety of outdoor activities including surfing and sailing. But he was best known for his thrill-seeking films featuring daredevil skiers barrelling down breathtakingly steep slopes.

His annual ski movies served as informal kickoffs to ski season and became a rite of passage for the legions of ski bums and snowboarders who flocked to see them at movie theatres and played them on video while relaxing with drinks after tough ski days.

“Warren’s legacy of adventure, freedom and humour carries on in the countless lives he touched,” his wife of 30 years, Laurie Miller, said in a statement Thursday. “Warren loved nothing more than sharing his life’s adventures and hearing literally every day from friends old and new about how his stories inspired others to enrich and enjoy their own lives.”

Miller was born in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, in 1924. He grew up during the Depression and said his family struggled to put food on the table.

According to a biography on his website, Miller bought his first camera for 39 cents when he was 12 years old. He used earnings from his newspaper route to buy his first skis and bamboo ski poles when he was 15 and took his first run at Mount Waterman near Los Angeles with his Boy Scout troop.

“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,” he told The Seattle Times in a 2010 interview.

Miller played varsity basketball at the University of Southern California and served in the Navy.

In 1946, he bought a camera for $77 and set off with his friend Ward Baker in a 1936 Buick Phaeton towing a teardrop trailer to ski destinations across the U.S., including Yosemite, Jackson Hole and Mammoth Mountain. They camped in parking lots of ski resorts, perfecting the ski bum life.

He once recalled loving the smell of rabbit frying in the silent evening while parked in Sun Valley’s parking lot.

Miller launched his film career in 1950 with his first skiing film, “Deep and Light.”

He headed Warren Miller Entertainment until the late 1980s when he sold it to his son, Kurt Miller. Time Inc. bought it in 2000 and later sold it. Warren Miller Entertainment It is now owned by Active Interest Media.

Miller was inducted into the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1978.

Aside from his wife, Miller is survived by sons Scott and Kurt, daughter Chris and a stepson, Colin Kaufman.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nanaimo Astronomy Society to host Vancouver Island’s first AstroFest

AstroFest will showcase Island’s amateur and professional astronomical groups and activities

Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards announce winners

VIU women’s volleyball is Team of the Year, Presidents Cup lacrosse is Sports Story of the Year

Vehicle smashes through front of furniture store in Nanaimo

No injuries reported in Friday afternoon incident on Mostar Road

Island Health dealing with ‘surge’ of measles vaccination requests in Nanaimo

No measles cases on Vancouver Island says Island Health

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

High school students converge on Nanaimo for Skills Canada competition

Winners will head to provincial event in Abbotsford later this year

Beefs & Bouquets, Feb. 21

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Junior Team Canada brings home gold to B.C., again

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Most Read