The 1990s: Accelerating Toward the Millenium
Authored by Morten Lund
The 1990s have been a surprise all around. The stock market was supposed to decline but soared. The huge investment in ski infrastructure was supposed to level off but set new records. Expansion of resort territory was supposed to decline, but accelerated. Whole ski villages were erected over the summer, and their condos pre-sold before a brick was laid. Expensive detachable quad chairs were erected wholesale.
The capital involved, though, forced the cobbling together of multi-resort ski conglomerates owning ski areas both east and west and using increased capitalization to float high-interest loans (i.e. junk bonds) to invest ever more spectacularly in various forms of expansion.
What better artist to embody the 1990s than Warren Miller, again, this time in On Film In Print. Miller is by far the most successful ski film maker of all time (made millions) and by far the most prolific writer and cartoonist of the film makers. He calls his prodigious production of films, cartoons and books, “fifty years of searching for a free lift ticket.” His book captures the 1990s’ fascination with extremes of all sorts. Extreme skiing (over the cliff) and the extremes of sophisticated technique employed by many skiers, able to handle any transition.
Granted, predictions for the millennial transition are somewhat clouded by the implausibility of endless extension of current trends (what goes up must come down). But whatever the future, it will be interesting probably, funny surely, and assuredly ski cartoonists will be there to record for posterity the essential human comedy of it all. -- Morten Lund