Every year, skiers and riders nationwide get pumped up by those signature slow-motion over-the-helmet powder shots in the annual Warren Miller ski movie. It’s hard not to get extra amped when we see our hometown hills on the silver screen.
For this year’s movie, Line of Descent, presented by Volkswagen, the filmmakers traveled to Steamboat to shoot footage of Olympic snowboarders and siblings Arielle and Taylor Gold riding the halfpipe under the stars.
To get the skinny on the Steamboat segment, we caught up with the resort folks who worked with the film crew and with Taylor Gold, who’s in Summit County at the moment, eagerly waiting to get on snow.
(Click here for a listing of Line of Descent screenings in Colorado this season.)
Steamboat: Going for Gold
The theme of this year’s Warren Miller flick, Line of Descent, celebrates the notion that skiers are a tribe with rites passed down through the generations. Steamboat was a natural backdrop for the film. When it comes to raising Olympians, it seems as if there’s something in Steamboat’s water: It’s home to the most Winter Olympians of any town in the U.S.
The Golds grew up in Steamboat, practicing at Howelsen Hill at night, so filming after hours was nostalgic. “I miss those nights!” says Taylor. “I loved growing up in Steamboat because there's a great outdoor community there. The mountain has all these hidden gems, where I've enjoyed the best powder days I've ever had, and the town just has this cool old west vibe.”
The Golds both competed at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and are now training for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea. Arielle took bronze in the superpipe competition at the 2013 Winter X Games and at 17, she was the youngest American on the Olympic halfpipe team in Sochi. Moments before her Olympic run, she separated her shoulder, sidelining her for the Games. But she’s getting back at it for 2018. The Golds have just returned to Colorado after a training session in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Arielle, Taylor reports, is in Mexico working on her tan before winter really hits.
“It’s always great to have a high-caliber video team to come to town, says Steamboat’s senior communications manager, Loryn Kasten. The crew flooded the halfpipe with light to capture the after-dark halfpipe session. “We’ve never had so many people on the mountain so late at night,” says Kasten. “It was so festive. The lighting on the halfpipe was super cool.”
The Warren Miller crew brought a grill, and everyone had hotdogs and bratwursts at midnight. “I think it was one of the best brats I've ever had,” says Taylor, who along with Arielle had packed snacks thinking there wouldn’t be anything to eat at the shoot. “They really have the system down after all these years.”
This isn’t Taylor’s first Warren Miller appearance. When he was 13, Taylor was featured in the 2007 film Playground. He was part of the Burton Smalls Team, which was showcased during a jib session at Mammoth in California. During the segment, a young Taylor says he’d like to be a professional guitarist when he grows up. “I still play the guitar,” says Taylor today, “I think at that age, you could have asked me that once a week, and I’d say something different.”
“Both times it’s been an awesome experience shooting with [Warren Miller],” says Gold.
This year’s Steamboat segment will also feature citizen racers gunning for gold of their own at the NASTAR national championships.
Steamboat has served as a backdrop for several Warren Miller movies, including last year’s Here, There & Everywhere, which headlined Daron Rahlves as well as scenes from the resort’s pond skimming event. And in 2015’s Chasing Shadows, pro skier and Colorado legend Chris Anthony donned chaps and roped goats for a segment on Steamboat’s Cowboy Downhill.