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Killington skier Jim Ryan helps bring Warren Miller film crew home

Jim Ryan and Olympian Kaylin Richardson rang cowbells at the Killington Cup race while being filmed. By Katy Savage

Killington to be featured in next year’s Warren Miller film

By Katy Savage

Rutland local and Killington Ski Club alum Jim Ryan and Olympian Kaylin Richardson rang cowbells. They jumped and oohed and aahed collectively with a crowd of about 20,000 people while women skied down Killington Resort’s Superstar trail during the World Cup this Thanksgiving weekend. Their eyes were on the skiers while the cameras were on them.

Ryan and Richardson were filming Warren Miller’s next film, which will be released in 2020. Much of the yet-to-be-named movie will feature the people in and surrounding Killington.

“This came about with a partnership with Kililngton and an ongoing partnership we’ve had with the U.S. Ski Team,” said Chris Patterson, the director of photography, who’s been part of Warren Miller films for 29 years.  “There is nowhere that embraces ski racing like the East,” Patterson continued. “It’s a perfect fit.”

Patterson said he wants to tell the story behind the World Cup event, which has become a favorite stop on the World Cup tour for the past four years, attracting a crowd of about 40,000 fans every year over two days.

“It’s the story behind the scenes,”  Patterson said. “It’s more about the opportunity to be skiing in front of a hometown crowd.”

The movie digs into the nuances of Killington locals and the passionate skiers who call Killington home.

“Having the World Cup as a pace setter for the whole thing will help us tell a story in Killington,” Patterson said.

Richardson, a former alpine ski racer and Olympic competitor, first started appearing in Warren Miller movies 10 years ago, while Ryan has been in Warren Miller movies for the past two years.

Ryan was a natural pick.

Ryan, 28, grew up in a skiing family. His father, now a lawyer in Rutland, competed for the Olympic team and U.S. Ski team. Ryan, who graduated from Killington Mountain School in 2009, starting skiing Killington by himself by the time he was about  8.

“I feel like Killington was almost like a third parent,” he said. “It was the first place I felt like an individual.”

Ryan raced at Colby College before moving to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where he was quickly signed to the Voelkl pro team. Voelkl connected him to the Warren Miller producers.

Ryan was on tour promoting this year’s Warren Miller movie, “Timeless,” when he got the call that he’d be filming in Killington over Thanksgiving weekend for next year’s movie.

“I had to have my friends expedite me all my stuff,” he said. “I got a FedEx box with all my ski gear in it.”

Jim Ryan, a local skier featured in past and future Warren Miller movies, emerges through a powdery cloud in the woods.

Killington Resort was last featured in a Warren Miller movie about 10 years ago, with Olympic gold medalist and Killington local Donna Weinbrecht.

“Something that’s cool about Killngton is there’s a lot of heritage to it,” Patterson said.  “Ski areas like Killington have a certain way of crafting and creating those great characters.”

The filmmakers will be back in Killington in January to spend 10 days on the mountain. They’re also planning to film parts of the movie in Switzerland, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and Alaska.

Like all Warren Miller movies, the 71st annual movie next year will capture the excitement of skiing and outdoor sports. The energy at the World Cup will be the starting point.

“It’s electrifying—you really feel this pulse because you see the intensity of the racers and you  know how hard they’ve worked,” Patterson said. “You know they have a minute at most to make a difference with all they gained.”

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