During this election season, we can easily get bogged down in issues, poll results, party affiliations, debate performance critiques. But at least one person has kept his mind where it belongs — on the slopes! Warren Miller’s new autobiography, Freedom Found, chronicles his globetrotting 55-year journey, parylaying a simple love for skiing and surfing into a career as the world’s foremost ski filmmaker. While today fans clamor for tickets to the annual high-energy, entertaining event that gets us salivating for the launch of ski season, when Warren first started making ski films, he struggled to find an audience. Freedom Found details how at least eight California ski clubs declined his offer to screen his new film, but finally he was able to find an audience with the the Ski Club Alpine, a group of Southern California ski racers who constituted the leading ski club in that part of the world at the time. The showing of Deep and Light on a Friday night in a Pasadena theater in the fall of 1950, thus began Warren’s 55-year-long journey. When he went back to work the next day to support his surfing habit, he realized he would have to make a second ski film to continue finding joy in life (and support his lifestyle).
Miller eventually created more than 500 films, highlighted by the annual feature film, which at its height toured more than 250 cities, and is now in its 67th year. It was never easy, and there were frequent obstacles along the way. Freedom Found details the personal, financial, and emotional obstacles Miller faced during his career, as well as the metamorphosis of the focus of the films from extreme skiing to more commercially palatable films incorporating product placement. In 1986, Miller brought on acclaimed rock promoter Terry Bassett as his partner, and began to think about toning down his 16-hour days and hectic travel schedule. In 1990, he sold the film company to his son Kurt Miller and his partner Peter Speek. The new arrangement strained the father-son relationship, somewhat due product placement that proliferated under his son’s tenure. Kurt Miller and Speek sold the film company in 2001 to Time Inc., which had recently acquired SKI and Skiing magazines. Miller’s involvement in the film company ended in 2004. In celebration of the launch of his autobiography, Warren Miller is returning to appear in this fall’s Warren Miller Entertainment film, “Here, There and Everywhere.” Attendees will get a $7 off coupon for the book if they buy it direct from WarrenMiller.net.
In short, Freedom Found is a must-read tale of the O.G. ski bum who turned his passion into profit. While not exactly a how-to book, readers will benefit from insight into Miller’s creative ideas for starting a successful career on a shoestring budget, as well as learning what NOT to do by absorbing stories of missteps along the way.