DENVER (CBS4)– Ski industry icon Warren Miller was remembered as an innovator of the industry Thursday, at Colorado’s first Outdoor Retailers expo. Miller died at his home Wednesday night, at the age of 93.
Those attending the Outdoor Retailers expo at the Colorado Convention Center said Miller played a significant role in building skiing as an industry, and making the sport a hobby.
“Warren was an innovator and pioneer in our industry,” said Nick Sargent, President of Snow Sports Industry of America.
Sargent was one of many at the event that knew Miller. He said he used to share stories with Miller of family, and skiing, and how they blended.
“To get that news (of Miller’s death) on the opening day (of the expo) is always a hard thing to swallow,” Sargent said.
CBS Denver featured Miller in several stories throughout the year. Though he was not a Colorado native, many said he was the “ski bum” who helped make Colorado a destination for skiers around the globe.
Miller was known for the films he made about skiing.
“The thing I love most about skiing, is that I am out doing it every day, while you folks are sitting there in a theater watching it,” Miller told CBS4 in the 1990s.
“I have not missed a Warren Miller film in my whole life. I would go every single time,” said Casey Marks, a vendor at the expo.
Marks met Miller decades ago, while participating in a professionals versus amateurs ski race event.
During a race, Marks said he almost beat a professional. With an exceptional performance, Miller approached Marks.
“Warren was such a great guy,” Marks said. “He said, ‘look, I want you to come to dinner tonight, and sit at the head table with us.’”
When he spoke with CBS4 in the 1990s, Miller joked about the growing town of Vail. He said many were frustrated that it was growing, and joked that the lack of parking and cemeteries were to blame.
“When you came here you couldn’t park. And, when you live here, you can’t die. So, it is a very nice place to live,” Miller said.
“If I made the world, or the people I come in contact with, better for having been here, because of what I did, that really is all I think that matters,” Miller said.
He is survived by his wife Laurie, sons Scott and Kurt, daughter Chris and a stepson, Colin Kaufman.
Warren Miller Entertainment, which is based in Boulder, tweeted that “Warren’s humor and adventure-seeking spirit forged the legacy of a genre and a passion for freedom. He will be greatly missed by the snowsports community and beyond.”
“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 his wife in a prepared statement. “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.”
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.