After 30 years, cross country skiing makes “fabulously cool” return to Warren Miller with Aspen native

This year’s celebration of winter experience from Warren Miller Entertainment works up the standard spectacle of skiing and snowboarding in exotic locales that always makes viewers ache to hit the slopes and envy the power of those who make extreme look simple.

There’s also a surprise in this year’s movie: a section that portrays cross country skiing as you’t never seen it prominently features Aspen native Simi Hamilton.

The “Face of Winter,” the 69th setup of this iconic Warren Miller series that marks the beginning of winter for more than 300,000 viewers per year, is the earliest since Miller’s death in January in age 93. The movie, now traveling through Colorado, ends with a sweet tribute to the man who made the genre and attracted millions to winter experience in the high places.

The cross country section stands out not just because Nordic skiing is seldom observed in Warren Miller films — this is just the eighth time in seven decades, and the first since 1986 —  but also because it makes cross country seem really cool.

Local lineup for Warren Miller’s & “Face of Winter”

Thursday: Lakewood Cultural Center, 7:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Center, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 7: Parker, Pace Center, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 8-11: Boulder Theater, numerous showings
Nov. 9: Evergreen, The Wild Game, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 13: Loveland, the Rialto Theater, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 14: Northglenn, DL Parsons Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 15-17: Denver, the Paramount Theatre, multiple showings
Nov. 19-21: Lone Tree Arts Center, 7:30 p.m.

In August, a Warren Miller team went down to New Zealand to picture U.S. Ski Team cross country racers — such as Hamilton, a three-time Olympian — they trained for their upcoming season. That which we get to see isn’t languid ski across the lake and through the woods. Here is the manners of skate skiing and gliding and kicking over timberline, against the background of majestic panoramas full of steep, massive mountains.

The section was shot in a location named Snow Farm on New Zealand’s South Island, in which the ski group goes for summer coaching since August there is comparable to February in the Northern Hemisphere. Timberline there is much lesser than in Colorado because of its latitude.

“It’s such a cool place,” Hamilton said from Aspen in a phone interview last week. “You& & rsquo;re up over treeline the entire moment. It’s still at reasonably low altitude; it’s just about 5,000 ft, that is really great for training. However, the peaks down there are just incredible, like 9,000 to 10,000 feet perpendicular relief from the valley floors to the top of the peaks. ”

The section also has footage of the women’s group sprint in the PyeongChang Olympics past February when Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won the first Olympic cross country gold trophy in U.S. history, set by half of a ski span over a set from Sweden having a desperate lunge at the end line. That historic achievement helped sell the concept for the section using the Warren Miller people.

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“It’s such an honor,” Hamilton explained. “They have historically just been around alpine skiing and snowboarding, backcountry things, therefore it’therefore super cool they made a decision to showcase our staff and our staff ’therefore character. They are so great at what they’re doing. They have been so accommodating. We were basically just doing exactly what we have been supposed to be doing for training every day and they worked around our schedule. ”

Hamilton’s mum, D.R.C. Brown, was one of the leaders of the Aspen Skiing Company, serving as president and general manager for 22 decades. Ruthie’s Run on Aspen Mountain is called after Hamilton’s grandmother, Ruth Humphreys Brown, and Baby Ruth in Snowmass is named for Hamilton’s mum, also called Ruth. She could not have dreamed of that her cross country-skiing son would star in a Warren Miller movie.

“Bravo, Warren Miller, for including the cross county group and the magnificent footage which captures the soul and spirit of an extremely demanding sport,” said Hamilton’s mother, who educated in the Aspen Valley Ski Club for several decades. “And also to possess Simi be highlighted front and center, very electrifying. ”

At one stage in the movie, Hamilton says cross country racing is ldquo;a little bit like NASCAR using Spandex. ”

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“Face of Winter” includes sections of heli-skiing in Alaska, Iceland, Chile and British Columbia — typical Warren Miller fare — along with ski mountaineering segments shot in Denali National Park and Chamonix, France, the cradle of alpinism where extreme skiing is nearly regular.

But cross state was overdue for a little love in the Warren Miller lineup. Through time, preceding cross country sections showcased Hayward/Telemark, Wis. (1986 and 1979), Putney, Vt. (1971), Minneapolis (1973), Squaw Valley, Calif. (1983) and Frisco, Colo. (1976).

Modern cross country racing is no longer only a run of lengthy races extending from six to 30 miles which can appear tedious to those who don’t know that the grueling demands of the sport. In recent decades, the sport has added sprint races, composed of a collection of head-to-head duels under a mile in length on multi-lap courses. That’therefore that race Diggins and Randall won in PyeongChang. It’s Hamilton’s specialty, therefore his NASCAR analogy.

“It’s quite cool the high-profile mainstream setting of Warren Miller is exposing a whole lot more visitors to that which cross country skiing is from the 21st century,”” Hamilton explained. “It’s fast, enjoyable, spectator-friendly sport. It strikes down a lot of the misconceptions of this older-school eyesight of cross country skiing. ”

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