Warren Miller Entertainment sends its film crews to all ends of the earth to capture jaw-dropping footage for its annual iconic film. This year’s flick features Chamonix, the Swiss Alps, and heli-skiing in British Columbia’s Bella Coola. It also features unassuming Front Range favorite, Eldora Mountain.
When it comes time to brainstorm its annual globe-trotting itinerary, the team at Warren Miller, which is based in Boulder, Colorado, heads up to Eldora for inspiration. “They come up here and use Eldora as their remote office, talking about what they’re going to do in, say, Chamonix,” says Eldora’s marketing director Sam Bass. This year, Eldora will be featured prominently in the film, the first time this local mountain has seen time on the big screen in some 30 years. “It’s so cool to have our hometown hill be showcased in Warren Miller’s 70th film,” says Bass. “It’s a milestone film for them, and we’re so excited they’ve included us.”
The film tour of Timeless is about to hit Colorado, with screenings kicking off November 1, 2019. In addition to Eldora, this year’s movie features a Colorado specific segment on Silverton in Southern Colorado. See the blog post on Silverton here.
Eldora has had great local stories to tell, Bass says. Filmmakers tapped Satellite Boardshop owner Raul Pinto; Protect Our Winters executive director Mario Molina, who lives in nearby Rollinsville; Karina Luscher, roaster and owner of Salto Coffee in Nederland; Ski Hall of Famers Barbara Henderson, who was on the 1964 U.S. Olympic team, and her husband, Scott Henderson, who competed in the Olympics for Canada in the 1960s.
Look for footage of Norwegian Christian Løvenskiold, head of U.S. Operations for Amundsen Sports and a 2017 CU grad skiing in the Eldora’s Salto Glade. No local movie segment would be complete without featuring the talent of the local race team. Arguably the most engaging scene: Young ski racers from the Eldora Mountain Ski Club (EMSC) hang up their speeds suits and shin-guards in favor of short shorts and tank tops to compete in...pond skimming. Audiences will love the classic Warren Miller slow-mo footage of the carnage.
“Eldora is a community-focused ski area with lots of dedicated loyal skiers and riders,” says Bass. “The people in the film are emblematic of the kind of people you see here, from CU students to ex Olympians to artisan coffee makers to international transplants. These are people who could live and ski anywhere,” says Bass, “and they choose to live in Nederland—and ski Eldora.”
Also featured in the Eldora segment is a newcomer to the silver screen and former CU snowboarder Cooper Branham, 22, who honed his skills riding steeps and dropping cliffs at Crystal Mountain and White Pass in Washington. “I grew up watching these movies every year with my dad,” says Branham. “Sure [the movies] had the crazy steep stuff, but I always remember the segments with the young talent at the local hills,” he says. “Getting the opportunity to be in a Warren Miller movie, it’s awesome. My younger self would have gone crazy knowing my future self would be in the movie.”
While at CU, Branham competed for four years in Freeride World qualifier events and competed on CU’s snowboard team in slopestyle. “I rode 100 days a season with a full class load,” says Branham, who graduated last spring with a degree in business management. For Timeless, the Warren Miller film crew followed Branham as he tooled around CU’s campus on his skateboard carrying his snowboard. “They painted my life,” he says. That included getting on the RTD bus up to Eldora, where Branham spent four days a week training each season. “The drone footage of RTD coming up the canyon is awesome,” adds Bass.
“I spent five full days filming, including an after-hours sunset shoot on the jump, with park crew running us up and down on snowmobiles,” says Branham. “That shoot was awesome: Sun, perfect weather...it all came together.”
Making a ski movie isn’t always a seamless operation. One dicey moment in filming at Eldora came during the pond-skimming segment. The resort had invited the community to be part of the shoot—and a chance to be in a Warren Miller movie. “We had a few thousand people show up,” says Bass. The morning started out sunny and warm. “It was the perfect day for pond skimming in shorts, Speedos, and bikinis,” he says. Then at 9:30 a.m., a big dark cloud bank rolled in from the east, and temps dropped 20 degrees. And it starts snowing. “We had all these cameras here,” says Bass. “We were gritting our teeth.” But then, 15 minutes before the event was supposed to start, the skies parted, the sun came out, and temps warmed up. “Everyone was just stoked,” Bass says. “It was some of the best footage we got.”
From November 1 through December 28, the Warren Miller tour of Timeless will criss-cross Colorado with screenings in Boulder (Nov. 7-10), Denver (Nov. 14-16), Durango near Purgatory Resort (Nov. 6), Leadville near Ski Cooper (Nov. 9), Steamboat (Nov. 14-16), Telluride (Nov. 29), Aspen (Dec. 4-5),and more.