Warren Miller’s ‘Dynasty’ is a winner

I’ve been known to criticize a few Warren Miller films but “Dynasty” is not among them.

The annual fall gathering of ski and snowboard enthusiasts and folks who just like a good outdoors show will enjoy “Dynasty,” aptly named since it celebrates 60 years of Warren Miller Entertainment films.

“Dynasty” plays Thursdayat the Everett Civic Auditorium in Everett. The $19 ticket includes a free lift ticket.

It’s a mix of old film clips and family photographs with (usually) crash-defying feats of downhill runs and ski culture explorations that pushed this version into the classics column.

“Dynasty” is a little like a family reunion that includes old-timers and snowriding visionaries, as well as a 9-year-old girl who can match boards with adults.

From the stylistic lead for the show that never ends, backed with two Crash Kings songs, to the finale, the film hits the mark with a few exceptions.

Warren Miller Entertainment films are known for ear-catching one-liners:

“Skiing attracts the good, the crazy and the crazy good.”

“Helicopter skiing has always been the Ferrari of backcountry skiing.”

And an adaptive skier zeroing in on the crux of being disabled: “If there’s nothing you can do about it … you either get busy living, or you get busy dying.”

Concerning Alaska’s Chugach Range: “It’s Disneyland on steroids.”

“Dynasty,” narrated by Jonny Moseley, is also a tad more philosophical than most Warren Miller films, and captures the beauty of places such as Norway and Lake Tahoe.

The photography hits the high-standard mark, including some of the best mountain terrain shots in years in the area of Blue River, B.C.; excellent photography of helicopters nosing into ridges too skinny to land to drop off skiers and snowboarders; and skiing against the background of lakes and fjords.

Crystal Mountain Ski Area has a segment, with a nod to the mystique of Mount Rainier.

One of my favorite segments captures a great sense of place in Norway’s Lyngen Alps, with Dan Wilson’s “Free Life” lyrics summing up the philosophical side: “Let’s take a little trip down where we used to go; it’s way beyond the strip, a place they call your soul.”

Norway is often called the birthplace of skiing but there is a contender. China can match, or exceed, Norway’s ski history.

Chris Anthony and Austin Ross headed to the wilds of northwest China’s interior, but they have to struggle with elevation gain, horses, homemade sleds and bad weather to reach a high-mountain community.

While the culture and skiing there is radically different, the sport and smiles bridge the gap. The Americans are the aliens come to visit with colorful high-tech gear.

But when new school meets ancient school, they’re the ones being schooled. The locals, without the benefit of research-and-development departments, can outski them in certain situations with their horsehair skins and hand-carved wooden skis (with a “rudder” instead of ski poles) adapted to the terrain.

“They were laughing at how complicated it (the equipment) was,” said one American.

In the end, “Dynasty” is about having fun, enjoying the moment, shredding powder, dramatic terrain, skiing off cliffs seemingly too tall and vertical to challenge, and slapstick comedy, a segment in all Warren Miller films.

But is that snow-riding alligator for real?

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.

“Dynasty”

8 p.m. Thursday, Everett Civic Auditorium, 2415 Colby; Tickets are $19 at Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.com or at the box office the night of the event.

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