I have 21 feet of three-ring binders full of stories and memorabilia that I am trying to digest into my biography. The hard part for me is to leave stuff out because I want to include it all! I will leave it to whomever the publisher hires to decide what is interesting and what is not. Laurie keeps telling me to write it all down and someone else will sort it out.
Stuff such as building my first surfboard in junior high school woodshop when I was 13 years old; buying my first pair of pine skis that same year for $2; basketball in high school and college and four years of milling around in World War II. I was fortunate enough to never get shot at but I did manage to be aboard a small ship that was sunk in a hurricane in the South Pacific. But it only resulted in a long swim in warm water for me.
The book will cover those great years of living in the parking lot in Sun Valley, Idaho, teaching skiing in the era when being a ski instructor was next to being a God. That was a really fun time for me. Then I spent four years of framing houses while my ski film business was getting underway.
In the book, I am going to try and answer the questions I am most often asked, “What made you start in the film business and why did you do it and where did you get the money to do it, etc.” But I urge everyone who reads this to start on their own autobiography. The reason being is that very few children know about the early years of their parents’ life. Mine started out for that very simple reason. None of my three children know anything about the first thirty or so years of my life and very little about the next 55.
My autobiography will cover the growth of skiing all over the world. When I made my first movie in Squaw Valley in 1950, there were only about 15 chairlifts in America at the time. I naively assumed everyone skied because everyone I knew did. How many are there in America today?
I have written about the death of my wife from spinal cancer when our son Scott was only 1. Of racing fiberglass catamarans a couple of years before my current next-door neighbor Hobie Alter invented the 14-foot Hobie cat. He did more for sailing worldwide than any other single person I have ever heard of.
There were moments of excitement as I watched auditoriums fill up with 3,000 or more people who had set an evening aside and spent money to buy tickets to listen to me narrate my films. I think it makes interesting reading when I write about that stressful emotion when eight people are in the audience to see a move in a 1,400-seat auditorium.
I started this journey on the computer nearly three years ago and so I far have gotten through my life up to about 1980. I am going to have to speed up the process because I don’t want to spend the next three years at the computer. Also a word of caution to anyone younger than I am: as health begins to fail sometime along the way, you’d better get it written now. At least start on it. Before you know it you will get caught up in reliving a life of ups and downs. If you are lucky like I was, the ups will outweigh the downs and no matter what your children will enjoy reading about your high school sweethearts, what you used to do on Saturday night at the dance, about your first bicycle, your first car and other freedom vehicles that opened a world of experiences for you to share with your children.
You used to tell them bedtime stories and this could be the ultimate story for them to hear from you. So get with it and get going as soon as you finish reading this column.
For more of Warren’s wanderings go to www.warrenmiller.net or visit him on his Facebook page at facebook.com/warrenmiller. For information on his Foundation, please visit the Warren Miller Freedom Foundation, at www.warrenmiller.org.
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