73rd Warren Miller Film Inspires New Generation of Athletes


Image courtesy of Cam McLeod

For the last 73 years, the Warren Miller film festival has been the kick-off for the coming snow sports season, and this year the film “Daymaker” made its big-screen debut. Though Warren Miller, the founder of Warren Miller Entertainment, passed away in 2018 and took a step back from filming in the late 80s, the film festival tradition lives on through skiers and boarders who grew up watching his films. They inspired multiple generations of athletes and an entire industry of action sports media.

“Daymaker” has several different segments including free skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho, and a segment at Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado where the National Brotherhood of Skiers annual summit takes place. The film also showcases professional skiers shredding the Olympus mountain range in Greece and British Columbia’s Monashees mountain range. The film consistently displays the joy and excitement of snow sports.

Getting new and returning viewers enthusiastic for the coming winter season is a primary focus of the Warren Miller film festival, and is the main reason films like “Daymaker” are presented in film festivals as opposed to a standard theater release. The films show everything from skiing at a groomed resort, all the way to heli-skiing down some of the most extreme mountains on the globe. The filmmakers want the movies to be relatable, accessible and exciting.  

Warren Miller films are broken down into segments. The different sections are filmed in different areas around the world, each with a unique focus. This year’s movie “Daymaker” features professional skier Connrey Lundin in a segment where he travels to Switzerland to grass ski,  adding “extreme grass skier” to his title. The segment was inspired by a portion of Warren Miller’s 1984 film “Ski Country” that shows three skiers grass skiing down a lush, green mountainside.  

“Every little bump, pebble and rock could easily take you down,” Lundin said. “It’s intense, it’s bumpy, it’s loud, but we had an awesome time filming and it came out great.” 

This year “Daymaker” will be shown in 30 states and Washington D.C., four Canadian provinces, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The film features over 30 professional skiers showcasing multiple styles and techniques. 

Many of the athletes in the film grew up watching Warren Miller movies. Lundin recalls contacting Warren Miller Entertainment incessantly until they finally let him be a part of their 2018 film “Timeless.” Now, he has been in three of them. For Madison Rose Ostergren, another professional skier, “Daymaker” is her second film. 

“When I was younger I grew up in a small town in northern Michigan,” Ostergren said. “My family and I would always go to the Warren Miller films, it was the ultimate kickoff to winter. I looked up at the big screen thinking I want to be in the movies.”

Ostergren eventually moved to Utah to pursue ski racing. While there, she attended a ski racing academy and raced competitively throughout college, during which time she decided to pursue film and media within the world of skiing. This includes partaking in larger films like Warren Miller’s, but also helping produce smaller, independent films with more of her personal story. 

Every stop on the film tour hosts at least one of the athletes from the new movie to participate in meet and greets and speak with those in attendance. Professional skier and inspirational ski consultant Marcus Caston has toured with Warren Miller for eight films and has run into people who have attended year after year. 

“Going to the shows, you see people bringing their kids to the movie for the first time or people who have been going for 50 or 60 years,” Caston said. “It’s really cool and meaningful.” 

Warren Miller Entertainment has been around since 1949 and is considered the pioneer of the action sports cinematography world. With a film released every year, “Daymaker” is the 73rd film to be produced under the company. There will be showings of the film all over western Washington starting in early November with the last showing on Dec. 11th in North Bend.