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Warren Miller’s World

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Ski Scene

Skiing in Colorado has become quite the scene and I’m not referring to a scene from one of my films.

I recently visited Aspen and was surprised at how much the ski scene has changed since I moved from Colorado to Montana three years ago. I didn’t even ski while I was there, but I still noticed the "ski scene."

I left my ski equipment at home because when I packed for the trip, there wasn't any snow in Colorado. Of course, by the time I had taken the ferry from my island, driven to the Seattle airport and stood in line for three hours, it had snowed almost three feet in Colorado and every ski resort was in operation.

The lack of snow wasn’t the only reason that I left my ski equipment at home. I live at sea level and with each passing year, I find it a little harder to adjust to the high altitude of Colorado ski resorts. For the first three or four days above 8,000 feet, I move slower and sleep poorly. When I’m trying to sleep, my brain says, "Hey, your lungs are not sending me enough oxygen," so I wake up gasping for breath at least half a dozen times the first couple of nights.

Anyway, I was there to give a speech at a convention, not to ski. I have been giving a lot of speeches lately and I enjoy checking out the different resorts. This trip did not disappoint.

My hotel and meals were included in my speech fee, so I decided to splurge and have lunch in the hotel. It was the first time in my life that I have ever had to pay $13.50 for a hamburger sandwich. This McBurger with style set the scene for the upscale atmosphere the hotel was trying to achieve.

The rate for my room was even more expensive than the one I stayed in recently in Whistler, B.C. It was so expensive that I once again stayed up all night watching TV because I didn’t want to waste time sleeping in a room that cost $995 a night. (No, I did not leave out a decimal point.) During the Christmas holidays, that same room rents for only $1,650 a night.

I don’t know what a hamburger sells for during the high season, but there must be a market out there for rooms in that price range or they wouldn’t build hotels that charge that much. That $1,650 is about the same as the gross income of my first ski film in 1950, when you cold rent a room in Aspen for $3 a night at Ed’s Beds.

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