Winter sports: Warren Miller's newest film packs a message with its thrills
Within Warren Miller's latest ski film, Ticket to Ride, is a message to anyone whose adrenaline levels explode at the sight of skiers and boarders slicing through deep powder in steep and exotic locales.
If more is not done to slow global warning, dreams of carving turns in places or conditions such as this could be short-lived, warns Miller's 64th annual ski movie, which makes its world debut at 8 p.m. Friday at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City.
Nowhere is this message more evident than in a segment on Greenland featuring Park City's Olympic champion racer Ted Ligety.
As he and his skiing buddies skinned up a mountain rising 6,000 feet out of the Labrador Sea, a voiceover cites the exhilaration of knowing "any hike you make may be a first ascent," coupled with the dread of fearing it "may be the last ascent" because global warming is causing Arctic glaciers to melt five times faster than 20 years ago.
The impacts of steadily rising temperatures are being felt most on the top of the planet. Miller Entertainment's cameras focused extensively on that area of the world this year, one of the rare renditions when Utah's "Greatest Snow on Earth" is not profiled.
But the state is represented in some of the ski talent whose plunges and flips undoubtedly will elicit oohs and ahhs from the crowds that perennially pack this rite of winter-is-almost-here.
Park City resident Kaylin Richardson, Ligety's former teammate on the U.S. Ski Team, traveled to her ancestral home of Norway to ski slopes overlooking frigid fjords and making "turns you'll remember 40 to 50 years from now ... [while reminiscing], 'That was something.' "
Sierra Quitiquit, who calls Alta home, ventured to the Troll Peninsula in Iceland, which is a land of magic to her.
"I can't even believe how big this is," Quitiquit marveled as she contemplated a 4,000-foot line of unbroken powder stretching from the peak under her feet to her final destination near the sea.
In classic Miller fashion, Ticket to Ride takes viewers to mountain destinations far from the crowds of commercial ski resorts. There's a trip to Kazakhstan, for instance, and a boys trip to the Tordrillo Mountains of Alaska, which included Salt Lake City skier Pep Fujas.
"This was not just out there, but really out there," Andy Mahre said about the pilgrimage with Fujas and others to slopes championed by skiing legend Tommy Moe.
Or as Ligety characterized Greenland: "This is definitely not the place you come for a ski race."
Many of the athletes will be coming to Salt Lake City for the movie's premier, said Miller Entertainment spokeswoman Nancy Richter. Ligety will be getting ready for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but the rest of the skiers named above are expected to attend, along with Tyler Ceccanti, Keely Kelleher, Elyse Saugstad, Michelle Parker, Colter Hinchcliffe and Crystal White.
A meet-and-greet for all fans will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at Abravanel Hall. Discrete Headwear is sponsoring an official after party at The Depot.
Tickets cost $20 per seat and may be purchased at http://bit.ly/1bGMvNp.. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more by calling 800-523-7117.
Miller time in Utah
Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride will spend a week in Utah before embarking on a 76-city U.S. tour that continues through mid-December. Its Utah dates are:
• Salt Lake City, Friday and Saturday, Abravanel Hall
• Orem, Tuesday through Thursday, SCERA Center for the Arts
• Ogden, Tuesday through Thursday, Peery's Egyptian Theater
• Park City, Oct. 18-19, George and Delores Dore Eccles Theatre
Skiers Kaylin Richardson, Tommy Moe and Doug Stoop will discuss their adventures while filming Warren Miller's latest ski movie, Ticket to Ride, at 7 p.m. Thursday at REI, 3285 E. 3300 South, in Millcreek.