Ski and Board in Canada (SkiandsnowboardinCanada) is a particularly interesting case as it’s an online venture that’s published by Vital Marketing in service of the Warren Miller Film Tour. This is a bit of an interesting case, because Ski and Board in Canada was only meant to serve the film tours distributed by Vital Marketing, which is the exclusive licensed distributor of Warren Miller Theatrical presentations. This portal for winter sports was once based in Canada and highlighted the best of the skiing culture in the country.
During its years, it managed to attain partnership from such companies as Momentum Ski Camps, GoPro, Helly Hansen, Ski BC, Big Surf beer, Rider Cider, CTR, Thule, Banshee Bungee, Skier’s Edge and College of the Rockies. Ski and Board in Canada has ties with Warren Miller films for decades, because there were (and still are) no other ski and snowboard adventure film that can get the word of mouth, public’s interest and market strength quite like them.
But let’s clarify who is Warren Miller and why do his films matter. There’s a lot to be said about Miller – he was a gifted filmmaker with an interest in skiing and snowboarding. His initial hobby films grew into a massive production company and a back catalogue of 750 sports films and that’s not counting all his other life work, which culminated in several books and hundreds of non-fiction articles. It’s this tireless work and dedication that earned him a spot in the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame as early as 1978 and for decades he would release a feature length movie that enjoyed a release in Canada that coincided with the winter sport season.
The last film tour to be advertised through Ski and Board in Canada was the 66th annual Warren Miller ski and snowboard film tour for CHASING SHADOWS, which was promoted from late October until the end of December in 2015, which highlighted great mountain moments and the people who live and breathe the life on the mountain. As with all Miller films, it’s beautifully shot and dares to defy gravity with maneuvers that seem unreal. This particular film features JT Holmes, Seth Wescott, Caroline Gleich and Steven Nyman among others, who demonstrate what they’re made for on some of the world’s most majestic mountains – Wasatch, Chugach, Chamonix and of course the Himalaya.
The Canadian film tour was famous, because it ran from coast to coast and featured screenings in every major region - British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Perhaps what is best about the film tour, when it was done through the portal of Ski and Board in Canada was how inclusive it is. If there were no screenings in a particular town, people could request it through their local cinema and Ski and Board in Canada would then provide a copy of the film to be screened. It was as easy as sending an email and then you’d get a DVD or BluRay, alongside promotional materials, including posters, press kits, radio spots and free issues of SnoWorld Magazine, which is the magazine that reveals valuable behind-the-scenes stories and materials about the shooting of the movie. SnoWorld Magazine is a publication of Warren Miller Entertainment as a vehicle of popularization the movies it releases.
It’s this spirit of collaboration that makes the film tour have such an impact as it does. The people who want to screen the film in their city select the venue, arrange the advertising or radio and newspaper partners, utilize social media opportunities, gather sponsors, sell the tickets and run the show. Warren Miller Entertainment is available for support, assistance and consultation. This was done in order to help promote the sports, the film and also serve as a community building moment for skiers and snowboarders in Canada, whether that would be to attract new members to clubs or serve as a team building experience.
The Warren Miller Entertainment continues full steam ahead with its 70th feature – TIMELESS, but seeking out film theatres to promote and screen the films is not done through Ski and Board in Canada, but directly through the company itself. It’s an end of an era for sure.