Warren Miller’s “No Turning Back” (review)

If ski and snowboard season is just around the corner, it must be time for another film from Warren Miller Entertainment. This year’s edition, called No Turning Back, is playing in Minneapolis at the State Theater. The first showing was last night; the final showing is tonight.

If you’ve never been to the State, you owe yourself a visit. It’s a classic, old-time theater with plenty of good seats. I sat in the balcony and enjoyed the surroundings.

The evening ran from roughly 8:10 until 10:30. Not all of that was screen time. There was some pre-show banter as well as an intermission. There was an MC (“let’s thank our sponsors”), and Seth Westcott, Rob Kingwill, and Kaylin Richardson addressed the crowd as well. All three athletes appear in the film, and all helped with the drawing conducted during intermission. The presenters all played to the crowd (“a tribe of winter warriors”) and the local area (bike paths and lakes came in for special praise).

The film featured skiers and riders in a variety of countries and mountain environments. These included 65-degree slopes in the Chugach range in Alaska; freestyle parks at Mammoth Mountain, California;  a high-mountain swamp in Norway’s Arctic region;  Mt. Olympus in Greece (skiing in Greece? Yes); and foot after foot of fresh powder in Hokkaido, the northern Island of Japan. There were also several “urban” scenes in which skiers and riders used bungee cords to propel themselves up to and off of buildings, handrails and other man-made elements. For most locations, the film attempted to give a small slice of local flavor. I especially enjoyed the sight of goats carrying skis toward Mt. Olympus.

While Warren Miller hasn’t directed “his” films in a long time, I was hoping for some Milleresque quips. There were a few. I was encouraged by one scene that included four or five skiers, the youngest of which was 39. There was then a zinger: If you’re skiing as well at 40 as you were at 20, you weren’t a very good skier at 20. There was another age-related line: “50 is the new 40 is another way of saying, ‘Thank you, fat skis.'” The production team also went to the vault, mixing in a few clips from old productions.

One knock on the movie is that it seemed to drag on, with too much transitional time. I also wish that we had been introduced to a few of the urban jibbers. Among the athletes portrayed on the screen, they alone went unprofiled. What makes them tick? Why don’t they seek out a mountain, or at least a terrain park? We aren’t told.

While Warren Miller Films are predominantly ski ventures, my rough estimate is that snowboards were represented roughly in proportion to their use. The leading segment involving snowboarding focused on Wescott and Kingwill enjoying powder dump after dump in Japan. They also spent some time visiting a local man who makes powder-specific boards that reminded me of the Winterstick products of years ago. (By the way, there is some Winterstick footage included. Ah, history!)

The evening was broken up by an intermission, which served as “swag time.” When you enter the theater, an usher hands you a program/magazine, which contains a contest form. If you filled out the form and took it to the stage, you were entered into a drawing for various prizes. These include:

  • A campfire chair from REI
  • A backpack from REI
  • Two lift tickets from Buck Hill
  • A night season pass from Welch Village
  • A season pass from Lutsen Mountains
  • A two-night stay package from Indianhead (Michigan)

There’s also a North American drawing for some major ski trips:

  • A nine-day trip to your choice of one of 15 resorts in Montana
  • A five-day trip to Norway
  • An eight-day trip to Switzerland

At $22, the tickets are spendy. But if you’re planning on skiing or riding this season, you’ll get your money back in coupons alone. You can get a free lift ticket to Welch Village, Buck Hill, and Granite Peak (Wisconsin) You can also get a BOGO ticket to Lutsen Mountains and Indianhead, and a 20-percent off coupon for a helmet or pair of goggles from REI. The program/magazine also makes for great bedtime reading. It’s got details on who you’ve seen on screen, plenty of snowy eye candy, and some travelogue features.

A bonus of the evening was seeing Kalyin Richardson on the stage. Richardson, a former Olympic ski racer, starting skiing at Hyland Ski & Snowboard Area. Her appearance is another reminder that even small hills in the Midwest can take a person to great places and mighty adventures.

So go to the show tonight, do your snow dance, and get ready for winter!

Thanks to the people of L.L. Bean, which gave me a ticket to the show. The company is a sponsor of the movie.

More weekend activities for Twin City skiers and riders

There’s no snow yet, but you can “think snow” this weekend.

Friday night (October 24) is a showing of “No Turning Back,” the latest movie from Warren Miller Entertainment. It will be at the State Theater, Minneapolis. The film will be shown again on Saturday. Viewing starts at 8 p.m. both days.

Also on Friday night, Welch Village is having a happy hour in the Black Diamond bar, along with free pulled-pork sliders, and a chance to win free lift tickets to Big Sky, Montana. There’s also an equipment sale/swap that night, and it continues on Saturday. Then on Saturday evening, there’s a concert with fireworks. The show costs $10.

Afton Alps is having a jobs fair on Saturday afternoon.

For more, head over to the St. Paul Snowboarding Examiner.

Afton, Buck Hill, other local resorts now hiring for winter

If you enjoy skiing or riding at one of the Twin City’s resorts, you can do so for free, and earn some money, by taking a job there. Local resorts are now hiring.

Buck Hill is hiring for a wide range of departments, both inside and outside. These include snowmaking technicians, ski and snowboard instructors, and lift operators. Inside departments include the ticket office, rental shop, and kitchen. Pay ranges from $8 to $10 an hour, with a 50 percent discount on food as a bonus.

Trollhaugen will be having a job fair on Saturday, October 25. You don’t have to attend the fair to be considered for employment, though the fair does give you a chance to talk with several people in one day. A season pass is available for anyone working two or more shifts in a week. Starting pay is $7.25 an hour. The Troll offers a reminder that the resort business is above all a people business, stating “Individuals who are not interested in smiling, holding open doors for others, or keep the ski area clean need not apply.” Departments include ticket office, tubing hill, food service, and ski/snowboard school.

Welch Village will be holding a job fair on two separate days, Saturday October 25 and Thursday, October 30. Hours will be noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 4 – 7 p.m. on Thursday. It has a more limited list of positions that it is filling: a supervisor of lift operators (a full-time job in season), a rental shop manager (also a full-time job in season) and ski and snowboard instructors.

Would-be instructors must attend a hiring clinic on either Saturday, December 6, or Sunday, December 7. Hours will be 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day. If you don’t have a season pass, don’t worry; you’ll get a ticket for the day as part of the evaluation process.

The situation at Afton Alps is a bit more complicated. Now that is part of the Vail Resorts company, candidates need to navigate a portal at the Vail website. It has many part-time jobs, as well as some full-time positions, including the departments of snowmaking, terrain parks, and food and beverage. If an indoor job is more your style, Afton is also looking for a computer technician.

Wild Mountain is also hiring for a number of positions.

Twin Cities ski areas hiring now

Twin Cities ski areas are hiring now for the upcoming season. Though most jobs don’t pay all that much, they usually come with a season pass and a chance to see the world of a snow-based resort from the inside. Follow the links for more information, which can range from specific lists of openings to phone numbers and email addresses that you’ll need to make further contact.

Buck Hill, like other resorts in the region, is hiring for a wide range of departments, both inside and outside. These include snowmaking technicians, ski and snowboard instructors, and lift operators. Inside departments include the ticket office, rental shop, and kitchen. Pay ranges from $8 to $10 an hour, with a 50 percent discount on food as a bonus.

Trollhaugen will be having a job fair on Saturday, October 25. You don’t have to attend the fair to be considered for employment, though the fair does give you a chance to talk with several people in one day. A season pass is available for anyone working two or more shifts in a week. Starting pay is $7.25 an hour. The Troll offers a reminder that the resort business is above all a people business, stating “Individuals who are not interested in smiling, holding open doors for others, or keep the ski area clean need not apply.” Departments include ticket office, tubing hill, food service, and ski/snowboard school.

Welch Village will be holding a job fair on two separate days, Saturday October 25 and Thursday, October 30. Hours will be noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 4 – 7 p.m. on Thursday. It has a more limited list of positions that it is filling: a supervisor of lift operators (a full-time job in season), a rental shop manager (also a full-time job in season) and ski and snowboard instructors.

Would-be instructors must attend a hiring clinic on either Saturday, December 6, or Sunday, December 7. Hours will be 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day. If you don’t have a season pass, don’t worry; you’ll get a ticket for the day as part of the evaluation process.

Now that Afton Alps is part of a large, complex company, the process of finding job openings is, shall we say, a bit more complicated. Candidates will need to navigate a portal at the Vail website. Click on “Afton Alps” above to get specific information on how to search for jobs. Afton needs to fill some full-time positions, including those in the departments of snowmaking, terrain parks, and food and beverage. If an indoor job is more your style, Afton is also looking for a computer technician. Of course, there are many part-time jobs available.

Wild Mountain is also hiring for a number of positions.

Free tix to Warren Miller movie at State Theater

The newest Warren Miller film comes to Minneapolis on Friday, October 24, and Saturday, October 25, playing at the State Theater in Minneapolis. The movie will start at 8 p.m. each evening.

Tickets are $22 each, but lucky you, we’ve got some tickets to give away. Not only that, but you’ll get entrance to a pre-screening party that features special guest Seth Wescott, snowboard cross racer who has won medals, including gold, at the Winter Olympics, Winter X Games, and on the World Cup circuit.

If you’d like to win, please leave a comment to this post. In 100 words or less, explain why you love skiing or snowboarding.

Here’s the trailer to “No turning back,” this year’s movie.