Warren A. Miller, the iconic and beloved filmmaker who introduced generations to the thrills and freedom of skiing and outdoor adventures, passed away at the age of 93 on Wednesday evening, Jan. 24, his family announced. He died peacefully of natural causes at his home on Orcas.
Miller earned global acclaim and a passionate, multi-generational following for his annual ski feature films, which kicked off the ski season for more than 60 years, showing in hundreds of cities across the U.S. and around the world. Packed with adventure and exotic travel, Miller’s distinct, droll narration and humorous hijinks on the slopes highlighted his films.
While he is known as the original ski bum, Miller’s talents went well beyond ski filmmaking. He produced more than 500 films, primarily covering outdoor pursuits, including surfing, sailing, and other water sports. As an artist, cartoonist, and author, he wrote some 1,200 columns and 11 books.
He also was a World War II veteran, a ski instructor and ski racer, an accomplished surfer, and a champion sailor. He took up windsurfing in his 60s, and then turned to destination motor boating in his 70s and 80s, exploring the Northwest and Alaska from his home on Orcas Island. During his 80s and 90s, Miller’s philanthropic efforts provided entrepreneurial training to thousands of youth nationwide, emphasizing hard work, ingenuity, and creativity.
Perhaps one of his most cited quotes provides some insight as to how Miller packed so much into one lifetime:
“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.”
A detailed look at Warren’s life is available at www.warrenmiller.org.
San Juan County Councilman Rick Hughes called Miller a “dear friend, mentor and second father.”
“Warren and Laurie (his wife), thank you for being there for me over the last 28 years, for the advice, the lectures, the support and friendship,” he said. “I wished I’d listened more; every idea you had has come to play. Thank you both for inspiring millions of people to explore and enjoy the snow and sea. Warren, you will be missed.”
“This is a sad day during which we draw some comfort from the fact that Warren’s legacy of adventure, freedom and humor carries on in the countless lives he touched,” said Laurie Miller, his wife of 30 years. “Warren loved nothing more than sharing his life’s adventures and hearing literally every day from friends old and new about how his stories inspired others to enrich and enjoy their own lives. All of us are better for knowing and loving Warren.”
“Warren Miller was a globally loved ambassador for skiing and adventure sports, pioneering an entire genre of filmmaking,” said Andy Clurman, CEO of Active Interest Media, the parent company of Warren Miller Entertainment. “We join generations of Warren’s fans in both mourning his loss and celebrating a life well lived.”
Warren is survived by his wife of 30 years, Laurie; by his sons Scott (Melissa) and Kurt (Ali); by his daughter, Chris (David Lucero); his stepson, Colin Kaufmann; three granddaughters (Valeska, Kasimira, and Jenna) and two grandsons (Alexander and Ryan). Plus, thousands of wonderful friends and countless loyal fans as well as his three black dogs. He was extremely grateful for his tireless caregiver, Ginger Moore.
The family asks for privacy during this difficult time and encourages those who are able to ski a favorite run or enjoy another activity they love in Warren’s memory. In lieu of memorial gifts, the family also invites those inclined to benefit the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana http://warrenmillerpac.org/.
As Warren might say: “I’ll see you same time, same place next year, only I’ll be watching from a different mountaintop.”