Across The Globe

Alaska Sphinx, Go Behind the Scenes of 65 with Chris Anthony

Chris Anthony checks in during a shoot for #65 in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains.

Chris Anthony checks in while filming in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains for the 2014 Warren Miller film. In the clip, athletes Ingrid Backstrom and Jess McMillan wait for the perfect conditions before they rip their lines.

From Chris:

The Group arrived at 10:30 AM and started the long set up. By the time the girls got to ski it was near 2:30. The girls sat on top for more than two and half hours waiting for everything to be perfect. This was after going through full safety checks.

This was one of those epic moments that will take maybe a few minutes in the film, but took almost all day to nail. The entire group admitted this day was meant for this to happen, as conditions could not have been more perfect. Moments like this are not planned. They are gifted. The crew sat for 6 days than had 3 days of amazing filming.

Going Back To Montana For The 65th Warren Miller Movie

Check out this previously unreleased Montana footage from Ticket to Ride and get stoked to see more of The Big Sky Country in this year’s movie.

Montana's Terrain
Tyler Ceccanti and Josh Bibby found just what they were looking for when they were introduced to Montana’s pristine powder playground. From tree hidden glades to looming snow ghosts, Montana’s terrain has something epic for every snow rider.

Montana's Wildlife
In Montana, everyone has a few wild neighbors. We're not talking about the typical wild neighbors who throw all-night parties; we're referring to bobcats, elk, moose, trumpeter swans, wolves, and more. In fact, Montana has a greater variety of wildlife than any other state in the lower 48. Think of it as a giant, natural animal preserve.

Montana's Epic Backcountry
As the fourth-largest state and hardly populated, Montana could be the most overlooked ski destination in North America. Easily accessible, backcountry touring offers friendly tree glades that aren’t too dense to navigate. Gusts of wind charge through the Flathead Valley and pick up snow, frosting the trees that occupy the surrounding peaks—sculpting impromptu backcountry features, ideal for dropping, jibbing and taking laps through the knee-deep cold smoke snow of Montana.

Montana's Untamed Beauty
When the snow flies (and fly it does), Montana is transformed. Under a blanket of powder and winter air, Montana’s mountains are even more powerful.

Montana Ski Towns
Scattered throughout the majestic Montana mountains you’ll find 16 ski areas with fewer people, shorter lift lines and a lot more untracked snow than you can imagine. You’ll also find quaint ski towns full of friendly locals sharing the unexpected and even maybe their huckleberry pie. 

Return to Kazakhstan

The Warren Miller crew traveled to Kazakhstan in 1996 to film for Snowriders 2 and returned for this year's film, Ticket to Ride. 1996 was nothing like what they found in 2013.

One of the five Central Asian nations, Kazakhstan doesn’t normally inspire images of bluebird days and deep powder, at least for most people. Instead, images of the Silk Road, deserts, Mongol invasions and on a modern note, political instability and natural resources come to mind. Yet to mountaineers, skiers, and Warren Miller Entertainment, the region means vast swaths of fantastic mountains, amazing peaks, and incredible ski lines with light, dry powder.

In the east and south of Kazakhstan rise the Altai and the Tien Shan respectively; both ranges pierce upward from the steppes in dramatic fashion as part of the Himalayan belt. The altitudes are high: the Tien Shan’s Khan Tengri is the highest peak in Kazakhstan at a height of nearly 23,000 feet.

This winter, cameramen Chris Patterson, Braden Gunem, and skiers Chris Anthony, JT Holmes, and Espen Fadnes traveled to ski the Tien Shan. They arrived in the city of Almaty – once a part of the Silk Road and the Kazakh capital under the Soviets (losing capital city stature to Astana, in the north, in 1997), and now, a cultural center basking in newfound oil and gas wealth. They headed to nearby Shymbulak, Almaty’s ski area.

For Chris Anthony and Chris Patterson, the trip was not just about big mountain skiing, but witnessing the incredible changes in the post-Soviet era. Their previous visit, in 1996, was nothing like what they found in 2013. “17 years ago, post Soviet Union, the place was very cold and dark. We landed at three in the morning into a dark airport; I felt like I was going to prison,” said Anthony. “It was intimidating. Fires burned in barrels around the city and locals used it for heat.”

In 1996 Shymbulak, Almaty’s ski resort, miraculously not only existed but remained open despite only intermittent running water and electricity, according to Anthony. “Most of the chairs had already fallen off the single person chairlift that took us up, and on a busy day the weight of the passengers made the cable sag to the ground dragging us up the slope along on the snow rather than elevated in the air like most chair lifts. The lift ticket checkers were armed with semi- automatics,” remembers Anthony.

Free to pursue their own agendas, nations like Kazahkstan are struggling to find their place in the world. Conquered by Russia in the 18th century, Kazakhstan found independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. With a population of nearly 18 million and landmass of about four times the size of Texas, Kazakhstan has been fortunate to find itself sitting upon impressive oil gas, and mining wealth.

Change has come rapidly, and this time, people adorned are with luxury labels, not weaponry. “I was surprised how much it had changed. Almaty felt like Europe, and sometimes like Beverly Hills. We passed luxury labels, Land Rover, Bentley, Ferrari dealers, and the ski area has had a huge influx of money: $125 million in lifts, hotels, and infrastructure,” said Patterson.

What had not changed, of course, were the mountains and the abundant, light, dry powder. The snow was in fact so light that sometimes skiers sink deep in the fluff to obstacles underneath, said Anthony – but it’s the kind of snow the camera loves.

“Kazakhstan is an awesome place. It’s something different,” Patterson says, and Anthony concurs: people looking for unique ski destinations might want to take a look. “I would suggest it if you are the adventurous type and an avid snow rider, put it on the bucket list.“

Roller Skiing: Vintage Clip of the Week

If you're looking for the perfect off-season exercise, grab your WD-40 as the 1984 Warren Miller movie, Ski Country, takes you roller skiing.

Click HERE to watch hundreds of clips on our YouTube channel.

The Origins of Snowboarding: Vintage Clip of the Week

Take a ride down memory lane as Warren Miller's film crew pioneers snowboarding on the big screen.

Click HERE to watch hundreds of clips on our YouTube channel.

Skiing the Swiss Alps with Doug Coombs, Seth Morrison, Shane Szocs and Glen Plake: Vintage Clip of the Week

Doug Coombs used to run big mountain ski camps above the Swiss town of Verbier. In this clip he invited some of his friends, old and new. What a year to be a camper! That's because they got to ski with legends like Seth Morrison, Shane Szocs and Glen Plake.

Click HERE to watch hundreds of clips on our YouTube channel.

BASE Jumping in Italy: Clip of the Week

Warren Miller's film crew catches Dave Barlia as he BASE jumps from atop the majestic hilltop town of Arco in Italy.

Click HERE to watch hundreds of clips on our YouTube channel.

Neon and Near-Death Experiences: Vintage Clip of the Week

John and Dan Egan are carpenters from Vermont. They barely escaped death after breaking off a cornice as big as a 3 story apartment building before it fell over 1,000 ft. in 1990's Extreme Winter.

Click HERE to watch hundreds of clips on our YouTube channel.

Goofiest Warren Miller Film Moments: Vintage Clip of the Week

Warren Miller's editors put together a montage of the most outrageous moments from past films.

Click HERE for hundreds of clips from the Warren Miller Vault on our YouTube channel.

80s Air Mattress Downhill Sledding: Vintage Clip

Warren Miller's film crews capture some 80s footage of air mattress downhill races.

Click HERE for hundreds of clips from the Warren Miller Vault on our YouTube channel.