Traveling To Ski Or Skiing to Travel? Answer: Yes!

Friday, November 12, 2010

While Matt was hobnobbing with famous actors-cum-travel writers (or vice versa), I spent my night sitting in a dark corner of a small theater. The audience’s energy was electric and the whoops erupted throughout the night. Those hollers were unleashed for the sensory assault brought on by the premier of Warren Miller’s most recent epic ski flick, “Wintervention.”

Capitalizing on anticipation brought on by the first few inches of snow resting on the Bozeman streets, the timing couldn’t have been any better to get everyone jazzed up about the possibilities awaiting everyone in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year. Personally, it’s a great time of year to break an arm (long story . . . I’ll spare you), because for the most part, it’s a transitional time between the bike and ski season.

Or what was brought to my attention last night at the movie, this time of year is more of a transition from bike travel season to ski travel season. Lately, I’ve been looking at maps not for areas to travel to with my bike, but those mountain ranges I have not yet visited with my skis. Oh, the possibilities . . .

The legendary crew at Warren Miller has assembled yet another, their 61st, film that officially jump-starts the winter sports season. Olympic champion Jonny Mosely poses as a Fraiser-esque radio psychologist dolling out advice to troubled snow junkies. They soon heed the DJ’s words in a barrage of big-mountain tracks, bass-thumping powder shots, and heli-ski adventures all over the globe.

That was what caught my attention — all over the globe. Skiing, I use this term in the broadest sense to include snowboarding and racing, has evolved from a travel-to-ski genre towards a ski-to-travel industry. The film takes place investigating skiing’s origins in Austria, heads into the Arctic North around Spitsbergen, Norway and Alaska, discovers the craziness of New Zealand, the strength of the Caucasus Mountains in the country of Georgia, even skiing lines in Antarctica that have yet to see footprints. This is the epitome of skiing as travel being glorified in one of the most influential mediums of our time.

For most of us, myself included, our lifestyles don’t mirror that of the professionals Warren has on staff (Lindsay Vonn, Chris Davenport, Andy Mahre, and Jossi Wells make appearances), nor will it anytime soon. So our ski trips will continue to be to our favorite runs on our favorite hills. We travel the roads so that we can enjoy our chosen winter recreation, rather than allowing our recreation as a compass leading us to different cultures, people, and landscapes. Either of those options I’d gladly take this afternoon.

That’s not to say that when you have a few sick days to use before the new year, the thought of jumping on a plane to the nearest ski hill in Japan or Russia won’t cross your mind. As it should . . . but that could just be the Warren Miller in me talking.

[Photo by WarrenMillerEnt/Flickr]

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