Warren Miller: Think Global, Ski Local?

This year's snow flick seems even more dissonant in our melting modern age.

There's something wrong with a ski movie when your enjoyment of same is predicated on a helicopter. When did skiing become so dependent on high-octane fuel? We who have always driven our carbon-spewing cars to ski in the soggy Cascades can dream of flying into Alaska's Chugach Range, of course, and part of the annual ritual of a Warren Miller ski movie is the globe-trotting escapism, the untouched slopes and pricey resorts we'll probably never visit. The octogenarian Miller—no relation—sold his company a few years ago, and now lives in retirement in the San Juan Islands, but he was once so poor that he lived in a trailer in a parking lot at Sun Valley. Today, Warren Miller's Playground accurately reflects a sport that's less affordable and middle-class, yet fancifully projects the absence of lift lines, traffic jams, and lost luggage at the airport. From Whistler Blackcomb to Aspen to Japan, no one here ever reaches for their wallet. Nor does anyone get hurt after hucking off cliffs or grinding their snowboards on handrails above concrete steps—it's a winter fantasy without broken bones, credit card statements, or guilt about global warming. Suspend your scruples, and it's thrilling to watch skiers descend awesome couloirs outside Cordova, Alaska. We should all be so lucky. But then watch expert athletes cavorting on an artificial, refrigerated hill located inside a mall in the petro-banking city-state of Dubai, where it's 120 degrees outside, and carpooling up to Alpental in a biodiesel-powered rig starts to seem a lot more reasonable. Meydenbauer Center, 11100 N.E. Sixth St., Bellevue. $19.50. 3, 6, and 9 p.m. Sat., Nov. 10; 2, 5, and 8 p.m. Sun., Nov. 11. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St. $21.50. 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 16; 6 and 9 p.m. Sat., Nov. 17. Tickets: 800-523-7117, www.warrenmiller.com.

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