Warren Miller's film factory is in the business of turning out fantasy for skiers and snowboarders and now for bicyclists as well. His current film "Storm," which plays tonight at the Community Center at 7 p.m. in a benefit for the Carson High team, is the 40th version of of his snow world, and a beautiful, thrilling, exciting, awesome spectacle it is.
Every year Miller manages to outdoor the last year's production by adding something new, in this case bikers riding rails, paths and just about anything they could put a tire to, for sometimes obviously painful effect.
But it's clearly the skiing and snowboard riding that is the subject of his crew's lenses.
A near capacity crowd at Harrah's in Stateline Thursday night cheered, saluted, laughed and empathized with the stars of the film, all top athletes and rugged individualists.
Opening sequence takes place at Blue River, British Columbia, with Chris Anthony, Micah Black and guide Bob Rankin enjoying their version of heaven. "It's pretty religious up there. It's the only church I need," says Rankin.
And the way the three of them "worship" by helicopter into powder snow is enough to make one check on airline prices to Blue River.
Next up is a sequence at Aspen/Snowmass, where skiers and snowboarders dispel the myth that Aspen is just for the rich folk who like to throw footballs on the trails.
From there it's to Breckenridge, where among the riders is Tahoe's Travis Ramos. The multiple flying jumps, twists, edge grabs, Iron Crosses dazzle the eye and suggest that boarding has made a major jump in skill levels and improvisation.
Then Miller inserts his usual laugh track of people trying to walk up ice at a Midwestern ski resort, including a dog who can't make it up the hill either. Great laughs.
Next up is Sun Valley, that grandday of U.S> resorts where Ernest Hemingway and Gary Copper used to ski. Fused with classic shots of past skiing legends are the Crists brothers plunging down impossible slopes.
And on it goes: Cordova, Alaska, for skiing off needle peaks too narrow for most to be able to even put on skis; a montage of skiers riding handrails, on houses, on halfpipes; off to St. Anton, Austria, where ski schools were born.
And then our own backyard, at Bridgeport where U.S. Marines train for winter warfare. The giant CH-53 helicopter alone is enough to make this section fascinating.
And back to Alaska, Valdez, for more awesome needle peaks; to Steamboat Springs for champagne powder snow and on to Whistler/Blackcomb. Later Glen Plake shows up minus the Mohawk hairdo hiking in Tahoe wilderness.
There's more but don't take my word for it; check it out tomorrow night.
But a caution: seeing "Storm" can be dangerous for your health. You might be inspired to attempt some of the maneuvers yourself.