Roger Brown - Sport Builder - 2013
The ability to transport people to the mountains of Colorado from hundreds of miles away is a rare gift. Roger Brown’s extraordinary films about skiing in Colorado do just that, and continue to draw people to the Rocky Mountains even after 50 years.After graduating from Dartmouth, Brown moved west to Colorado, and became one of Vail’s pioneers. In exchange for expenses reimbursed and a title to a piece of land, Brown began making promotional films for Vail in 1962 and continued to do so for years to come, under his company Summit Films. By 1965, he and Bob Parker had convinced the airlines to make films promoting skiing in the Rockies called Ski Country USA. Years later, he produced Airtime, promotional films for Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain. Brown’s work was pivotal in informing skiers about the Rockies, which had an enormous impact on Colorado winter tourism.The sport of skiing, specifically the way ski films are made, has been irrevocably altered by Brown’s ski film career. His experimentation created a new genre: sponsored ski films. One of the most famous partnerships was a series sponsored by Hart Skis in the late 1960s. These films included The Incredible Skis, The Mobius Flip, The Great Ski Chase, and Ski the Outer Limits, which won numerous prizes and awards and was a major force in launching the freestyle ski movement. These innovative ski films were groundbreaking; they featured stories and metaphors, utilized super high-speed cameras for uniquely slow motion photography, and were widely distributed.Brown produced Vail’s 25th anniversary documentary, Vail: Wilderness to World Class in 1987. And he was the clear choice to produce Vail’s 50th anniversary film in 2012, Vail: The Rise of America’s Iconic Ski Resort. Brown’s ski films encouraged incredible innovation, helping to popularize extreme and freestyle skiing in America since the mid-1960s. His work attracted creative, young filmmakers to produce dynamic films. Brown’s tradition of focusing on the mountain lifestyle, people behind the stories, and the unique appeal of the Colorado Rockies communities widely promoted the sport and contributed to the growth of many resorts. While he has won four Sports Emmys, an International Skiing History Association Lifetime Achievement Award, numerous film festival awards, and has been recognized by SKI Magazine as one of the 100 most influential skiers of all time, Roger Brown’s crowning achievement is celebrating and sharing with us the Colorado ski experience through his films.