Arts & Entertainment

'Children of Winter' hits Tri-City scene Oct. 30

If you're a child of winter, you know how to close your eyes and imagine hitting the mountaintop.

There, above the tree line, the heart pounds, the adrenaline pumps and the body soars.

Snowboarders and skiers alike know the rush that comes from swooping down a steep slope, then sailing off a precipice where there's nothing but air between the boards beneath their feet and the snowy earth.

The cold air stings the nose and pinches the cheeks, but these thrill-seekers don't care because it's Miller time.

Warren Miller, one of the oldest and definitely most savvy ski bums of all, cranks out another thrilling film packed with more action on a mountain than a James Bond film.

Children of Winter takes the audience to the backcountry of Colorado, Alaska, Vermont, Utah, Idaho, Austria, Japan, British Columbia and Iceland.

There will even be some areas familiar to Tri-City ski bums when some thrill-seeking freeriders take on Mount Bachelor near Bend, Ore.

The film also features Andy Mahre, son of Olympic ski medal winner Steve Mahre.

Andy Mahre, 24, has made brief appearances in Miller ski films of the past, but he's never held a featured role, which he does in Children of Winter.

"Needless to say, it was a very good time," Mahre said in an interview via e-mail.

"I watched a lot of Warren Miller films growing up. I never thought at the time that I would end up filming a segment for one, but it has been a goal of mine for a few years now."

He spent several days at Silverton Mountain in Colorado for his segment, skiing the Rockies with pal Pep Fujas.

"Pep took a pretty bad fall on the third day and suffered some injuries," Mahre said. "This left me to work double time to get enough footage to finish the segment."

Mahre strapped on his first skis at age 2 and has been hitting the slopes each winter ever since.

"I've pretty much been on skis since birth," he added.

And, of course, it didn't hurt to have Olympic medal winners for a dad and uncle either. Steve Mahre won the silver medal in slalom at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. He also won the gold medal in giant slalom at the 1982 World Championships in Austria.

His uncle Phil Mahre (Steve's twin brother) brought home the gold medal in slalom at Sarajevo and a silver medal in the same field at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.

When you buy a ticket to Children of Winter, it'll come with free lift tickets as well. One to Big White, Silver Star Mountain or Sun Peaks in Montana, a two for one lift ticket to Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, and one mid-week pass to White Pass ski area near Yakima.

But skiers be warned: when you settle down in that seat in the auditorium at Richland High, get ready for a formidable ride down some of the most unforgiving mountains on the planet.

It will no doubt test the mettle of any thrill-seeker.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;