Warren Miller film Timeless, presented by Volkswagen, the 70th film in the long-running series, features Silverton Mountain.
US Ski Team mogul skier Jaelin Kauf used to sit on the couch with her brother watching watch old tapes of Warren MIller movies that her parents were featured in. Her mom, Patti Kauf, appears in an all-girl segment in the 1991 film "Born to Ski", back when Patti was a ski hostess at Snowbird. “It’s a really badass segment with one-legged skier Diana Golden,” says Jaelin. Patti and Jaelin’s dad, Scott Kauf, both competed on the pro mogul tour, and the husband-and-wife duo were featured in Warren Miller’s "Fifty" in 1999.
Jaelin cut her teeth skiing at Grand Targhee in Wyoming, but moved to Steamboat in high school so she could be part of the Winter Sports Club there. Now that she’s on the US Ski Team, she’s moved to Park City. But her Colorado roots run deep. She’s thrilled to make her film debut in this year’s Warren Miller film, Timeless, presented by Volkswagen, which marks the 70th full-length Warren Miller feature film.
Every year, the annual Warren Miller movie pumps up snowsports enthusiasts with back flips off cliffs, bird’s eye views of jagged snow-covered peaks, and skiers and riders spaying roostertails through untracked powder on impossibly steep terrain. And pond skimming, of course.
The annual Warren Miller movie is about to hit town, and this year’s movie features two Colorado specific segments: Silverton in Southern Colorado and, for the first time in three decades, the Front Range’s favorite local mountain, Eldora. See the blogpost on Eldora here.
The Silverton segment brought together Olympic mogul skier Jaelin Kauf —who finished both the 2018 and 2019 seasons ranked 2nd in the world in freestyle —big-mountain skier Connery Lundin, and freeride world champ Lorraine Huber. The trio spent a week heli-skiing, riding Silverton’s fixed-grip double chairlift (its only chairlift), and hiking Silverton’s notoriously steep San Juan terrain.
It was Kauf’s first time filming and what struck her was how glacially slow the filming process can be. “It’s a lot of waiting around, making sure you’ve got the shot and the light is right,” she says. “I didn’t appreciate what went into each shot.” Favorite part (no surprise): the heli-skiing. “Being able to point and say, ‘I want to go up there,’ and they just drop you up there. It’s so easy it’s crazy.”
Kauf says she always figured the talent just skis and the cameramen just film.
“For those closeup shots, I didn’t realize how specific it was. You had to turn exactly where they told you to. On the first day, we did close-ups, and we probably hiked the same section 10 times.”
The biggest behind-the-scenes blooper: Kauf had just skied her best and biggest line. “I was so stoked. I was traversing on a snowmobile track (probably a little too fast), and I hit it big whoop-de-do, and just exploded. The GoPro flew right off my head,” she says. She watched the footage later, and thankfully, she says, it won’t be in the film.
“I’ve shot with Warren MIller as a guide probably eight times,” says Silverton co-owner Aaron Brill. This year’s spring shoot was the latest we’ve ever filmed and the snow coverage was amazing. Connery Lundin had just come from Valdez, Alaska, and the stuff we skied in Silverton was higher intensity and more nerve-racking than what he’d just done.”
Lundin and Huber both showed Kauf the ropes, and she quickly got up to speed. “Jaelin didn’t have any experience with heli-skiing or big-mountain skiing, and she just thrived in that environment. It was impressive how quickly she was ripping it up,” says Brill. She is an Olympian, after all
The talent featured in the Silverton segment of the movie were all pros, of course, but things don’t always go according to plan. Toward the end of filming, Brill recalls, Huber dropped an amazing line in Silverton’s heli-accessed terrain—a big long couloir. And the camera guys missed it. “They were shooting from the air, and she dropped too early,” says Brill. “Sometimes the communication is hard.”
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.