POWDER ADDICTS : ‘Wintervention’ marks Warren Miller’s 61st ski film

JJ Thomas

If you’re into winter sports of any kind, the annual screening of a Warren Miller film is to you what the September issue of Vogue is to fashionistas.

“The real Warren Miller experience is that people show up this time of year at the theater, not watch it on a DVD,” professional skier Jonny Moseley says. “You’re tired of summer, fall’s getting old, you see the movie on the big screen, the photography’s amazing and you hang out with a bunch of buddies and get fired up for the season.”

Moseley Ilja Herb
Ilja Herb
Warren Miller’s 61st film, the punningly named “Wintervention,” carries on the tradition that Miller started back in Squaw Valley with his self-shot, live-narrated skiing films. This film, which shows Wednesday at the Lobero Theatre, reveals how far Miller’s idea has come. Numerous skiers — including Moseley — travel to 12 locations and bring back films that are part sports doc, part travelogue and part music video, because let’s face it, these collective shorts are tasty eye candy.

Moseley, a gold medal winner at the ’88 Nagano Olympics, host of MTV’s “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” and media star, is the current face and voice behind the Miller films, after the filmmaker eased out from what had become a franchise. (Miller has had no involvement in the films since 2004.)

“They called me for a ski segment in the mid-’90s, but I guess if you get high enough in the ski world, then you get hired for a Miller film,” Moseley says.

The Miller team took him up to Alaska for a segment in one of the films, but after that, Moseley went back to school, raised a family and got involved in “corporate stuff.” Much later, the Miller team asked him to narrate.

“Ah man, I didn’t want to ruin their film,” he says. “But they insisted. They put me in the booth, gave me a couple of beers and I banged it out.”

It’s of course a bit more complicated than that. In “Wintervention,” Moseley appears as himself, hosting a radio show and taking calls about skiing addiction. The host makes no claims for his “terrible acting,” but the segments are cute and provide a little breather between the breathtaking segments.

Skiers drop out of helicopters to ski otherwise inaccessible regions. They travel by boat to Antarctica to ski icebergs. They speak in loving terms about the chain of Colorado resorts — Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek and Vail. Moseley himself turns up in a segment where he skis the Columbia Mountain Range in British Columbia.

For those tired of the nu-metal and “extreme” soundtracks of generic sports docs, “Wintervention” also offers a change. This soundtrack is packed with music from Gorillaz, UNKLE, Mr. Scruff, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Devo, Blitzen Trapper, Yeasayer and more.

And if the title sounds silly, that’s OK, but to adrenalin addicts, nothing about it is silly.

“It’s no joke,” Moseley says. “If you look at the higher level of skiing, where guys are pushing the limit, people are dying. It gets pretty serious out there. From a scientific standpoint, I think there is a chemical tendency to want to get out on the hill. You miss it a lot when you don’t do it. It’s scary!”

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido St.
Cost: $18
Information: (805) 963-0761, www.lobero.com

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