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Warren Miller ski movie to make global rounds

Published: Thursday, Oct. 19 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

Soon, in a theater near you, view some of the world's finest skiers in some of the world's finest ski country. But first, a word from a sponsor — Utah.

It's never happened before, not in the previous 56 years that Warren Miller has been on the road showing his latest ski productions, but this year Utah, i.e. skiing in Utah, is a sponsor of the 400-plus screenings held across the country of his latest ski movie — "Off the Grid."

The preview showing of the movie will be in Park City tonight. The premiere showing will be at Abravanel Hall Friday. Subsequent showings will be Saturday in Ogden and Nov. 9 and 10 in Logan.

It will be, said Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, albeit only a premovie promotion and skiing segments cut into the movie, a huge step forward in promoting Utah's Greatest Snow on Earth, which the movie prominently shows.

"We came into the game late in the season," recalled Rafferty. "It turned out we had to shoot our ski segments in March and April. Only in Utah. Other resorts are starting to close, but we got some of the most incredible powder skiing shots imaginable. They were great, as those who attend the movie will see. Like I said, only in Utah."

Miller is without question the czar of the ski-movie industry, and his movies have become the pre-season catalyst to winter skiing American viewers have come to expect over the years.

Involvement in the Miller production was made possible through the increased travel/tourism budget pushed and approved by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and overseen by Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism.

The sponsorship was made possible, said von der Esch, because of "an increase in our advertising budget due to the generous support of the Utah Legislature, (which) has allowed us to partner with Warren Miller for the first time."

"The benefits of this to the Utah ski industry and the economy of the state go far beyond the movie itself," said Rafferty. "Aside from the 400-plus showings around the country, the movie is picked up and shown in countries around the world. It's shown over and over in restaurants and bars, DVDs are made of this movie, and it will be shown years down the road on cable and satellite stations.

"A year ago, it seemed it would be impossible for us to reach this level, but we're here, and people all over the world will learn more about Utah skiing."

Miller's cameras are taken to ski areas all over the world, from the most remote and obscure, such as Kashmir, India and Kicking Horse, Canada, to resorts in Colorado and Utah.

The movie will feature some of Utah's most talented skiers, among them Jeremy Nobis, Jamey Parks, Jamie Pierre, Julien Carr and Jenn Berg.

Carr is recognized as one of the best freeskiers in the world and noted for his extreme air drops. Last year, for example, he recorded more than 2,100 vertical feet of air off some of Utah's biggest cliffs.

Nobis is a Utah skier who learned his skills working through the junior ranks, then went on to ski for the U.S. Ski Team in both Olympics and World Cup events. He is now recognized as one of the best freeriders in the world, appearing on several magazine covers and is a favorite of ski-film makers.

Pierre is another of the freeskiers noted for his air drops. He set the record for the largest cliff drop at 145 feet, then came back to up the record to 255 feet.

Within the next two months, the movie will play in more than 180 different cities in 35 states, accounting for 400-plus screenings. Markets include those in California, Arizona, Colorado, New York, Chicago, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington.

The pre-movie introduction presented by Utah will highlight the convenient access to all 13 Utah resorts and the incredible snow. Utah has received more than 600 inches of total snowfall the past two seasons. It will also highlight the magnificent scenery Utah offers. The movie segment will support all of those qualities.

Tickets are available at REI and theater box offices. For Park City tickets call 435-655-3114 or online at www.ecclescenter.org. For tickets to Abravanel Hall call 801-355-2787 or toll free at 1-888-451-2787. And for Ogden call 801-395-3227.

Screenings

Tonight — George S. and Delores Dore Eccles Center in Park City at 8 p.m.

Friday — Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Saturday — Peery's Egyptian Theater in Ogden at 3, 6 and 9 p.m.

Nov. 9 and 10 — Kent Concert Hall at Utah State University in Logan at 8 p.m.


E-mail: grass@desnews.com

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