Warren Miller was a legend in the skiing and filmmaking industries, with a career that lasted 60 years. He is known for his iconic films and ski documentaries, with more than 500 films to his name. Sadly, Miller passed away at home on Wednesday at the age of 93.
Starting his filmmaking career in the 1940s after leaving the Navy, Miller taught himself the craft, and as he progressed, his films — which were mostly about skiing and snow sports — helped shape downhill skiing into what it is today.
Miller said in many interviews that it was the sense of freedom that always drove him to the outdoors.
“While this is a time of profound loss, we are comforted that Warren’s life touched so many. Warren made the extraordinary seem accessible, and his legacy of freedom, humor, and adventure endures through all of you,” a statement on his Facebook page said. “Whether you saw his movies, read his books or met him on the slopes, he considered you to be part of his family. Your love meant the world to him. For those who are able, ski your favorite run or do something else you love in Warren’s memory.”
Besides being a filmmaker, Miller was also a veteran. He served in the United States Navy during World War II.
“The Navy service let me move away from being around a completely dysfunctional family and opened my eyes to travel from Los Angeles to Chicago, Florida, New Jersey and Guadalcanal to help supervise the rescue of 27 people on our Sub-chaser that was sunk in a hurricane,” Miller said in an interview for Powder Magazine. “They had dropped the bombs in Japan, and a week later the war was over. I suppose I grew up a lot in those years, as I’d never had a good role model to follow and the Navy established some discipline.”
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The annual ski films that Miller produced for more than 60 years were seen as the informal start of the ski season for many. His films, which he narrated, showed the beauty of the outdoors, the people who enjoyed it, and the fun of the activity. His own style incorporated both humor and a genuine love of the outdoors.
He will be greatly missed.
Miller is survived by his wife, Laurie, sons Scott and Kurt, daughter Chris and a stepson, Colin Kaufman.
Watch this interview with Warren Miller as he talks about his life and work in the video below.
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.