Skiers take a powder in the new Warren Miller feature Like There’s No Tomorrow
By Bill DeLapp
Following more than a year’s worth of renovations, downtown Syracuse’s Landmark Theatre, 362 S. Salina St., ushers in a new era in mid-November with a string of special occasions, including a swanky grand reopening celebration on Nov. 18 and Bill Cosby’s stand-up comedy on Nov. 19. The Landmark’s third event welcomes an old friend back to the venue: The latest ski-crazy venture from Warren Miller Entertainment, Like There’s No Tomorrow, will greet Central New York’s snowflakestarved populace on Wednesday, Nov. 23, for a 7:30 p.m. screening. Aside from the fervent ski clubbers who frequent these annual showcases, there is also tons of relaxing scenery and dynamic ski spills and thrills to impress armchair athletes and fondue fetishists who might find the bunny slope too daunting.
It’s probably never easy for the Miller organization to adhere to the same “Think snow” mantra year after year, yet the 62nd movie installment manages to keep things fresh. Comic relief helps out in this regard, as the 98-minute movie begins with an I-am-the-camera approach to depict skier Colby West’s apparent summer-long hibernation inside his car—parked at a ski resort driveway, natch—as the call of the frigid slopes reawakens his id. (The first-person camera technique also features some quick scatological gags.) Later on, West is seen plummeting from a helicopter and into a Chilean resort’s outdoor swimming pool, all in the hopes of impressing fellow skier Julia Mancuso. It’s not exactly Chaplin, but you have to credit returning director Max Bervy for trying something ultra-goofy.
As in previous Bervy outings, there is always an attempt to marry odd yet scenic incongruities, such as a sequence in which a helicopter lands at a New Zealand sheep farm to whisk away schussers Sam Smoothy and Ted Davenport as they head into the snow-capped mountains for some (ahem) wild and woolly action. Those incongruities extend to the hypnotic ear candy on the soundtrack, a mostly alternative-rock catalog of trancelike tuneage mixed with occasional oldies such as Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Dean Martin’s effortless crooning of “You’re Nobody ’Til Somebody Loves You.”
Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley is likewise back for off-screen narration duties, and his easy-going yet enthusiastic patter always sells these travelogues, even when he’s uttering ouch-worthy wisdom such as, “There’s an old saying: You gotta get up before you go down.” And Bervy always makes room for spectacular stunts and nutty wipeouts, as skiers slide down outdoor stairwells and banisters, or ricochet around playground equipment and jump off storefront roofs.
This take on the globe-hopping world of skiing offers Lynsey Dyer and Lel Tone’s travels to India to triumph atop the peaks of Kashmir, plus some freestyle thrills in Norway. Yet much of Like There’s No Tomorrow’s running time is devoted to skiing in the good ol’ USA, from California’s Squaw Valley and Utah’s Salt Lake City, to the Chugatch range in Alaska and the Tuckerman Ravine in New Hampshire.
The warp-speed, whiz-bang editing sometimes gets in the way of getting to know the various skiers beyond their thumbnail introductions, although the movie camera certainly loves pretty snowbird Caroline Gleich whenever she’s on screen. And viewers really get to know freeskier Andy Mahre since he’s involved in a running gag with a snowball-hurling Yeti in Monashees, British Columbia. Bervy and company apparently thought the shaggy man-beast deserved even more screen time, since he also contributes scads of monkey business in the final five minutes.
This movie’s narrative spine seems accidentally contrived, but there are teensy bits of detail that build toward a meaningful climax. Early on at Squaw Valley, there are scenes devoted to oldster Jack Walsh, who hasn’t missed a year of skiing at the resort since 1949—nor does he want to give up the action. There is also a brief segment concerning Tom Day—a former skier who has been responsible for the crystalclear imagery as director of photography for many recent Warren Miller ventures— as he waxes rhapsodic about his three decades at Squaw. Viewers might even notice the vignette dealing with narrator Moseley as his young son hits the slopes.
The seesawing between young and old perspectives hits home in the finale, which is a posthumous tribute to Alaska guide and mountaineer Kip Garre. The ski veteran, who assisted in several sequences from previous Warren Miller flicks, died last spring in a ski accident in California’s Sierra Mountains. Garre’s passing certainly emphasizes the ski-while-you-can advice that always drives these colorful sports flicks—as if the movie’s title didn’t provide enough urgency.
Tickets to Like There’s No Tomorrow are $18, available at the Ski Company, 3401 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt, and at the door; ticket holders also receive lift-ticket vouchers for Greek Peak, Swain and Gore Mountain resorts plus Ski Company discounts. For details, call (800) 523-7117 or 475-7980 (Landmark), or visit www.warrenmiller.com.