Interview: Jenn Berg

  • Greg researched, wrote, and edited other writers

    Edited special magazine section

Published in SnoWorld, magazine of the 57th annual Warren Miller film tour

Winter 2006-2007THE 1999 NATIONAL FREESKIING CHAMP, appearing in her fourth Warren Miller film, once donned a greasemonkey suit and wielded a wrench for her role in a film segment. For Off the Grid, she got back to her pure skiing roots.

SnoWorld: This year you skied with Jeremy Nobis and an all-guy crew—what happened to the ‘Warren’s Angels’ all-girl crew of a couple years ago?
Jenn Berg: The ingredients were different. I was the only girl with these amazing guys; all my previous segments have been girl-oriented, girls ripping it up together—smiles and cuteness and all that. I’m so stoked to get a segment that is strictly about the skiing.

“I grew up with Warren Miller films thinking: ‘Wow, Glen Plake, the Egans …’ and I don’t remember a whole lot of girls.”

SW: So you’d rather ski with the guys?
JB: The dynamics are different: there’s less “Where are you going? What are you skiing? Should I go first or you?” You just kind of do it—which I prefer! (laughs) But it’s really important to have women in the film. There are a lot of little girls in the audience who need to be inspired, just as I was. I grew up with Warren Miller films thinking: “Wow, Glen Plake, the Egans…” and I don’t remember a whole lot of girls. It was probably the girl with hair flying—more for the cute element than for the skiing, for the athleticism.

SW: Where do you find inspiration?
JB: Just looking at the mountains inspires me. I sit in the Snowbird parking lot and just look at Mount Superior and I’m in my own world. I’m picking lines, thinking: “What would be my mark on this mountain?”

SW: You just turned 30. Is there an “over-the-hill” in this sport?
JB: It feels like I’m kind of peaking right now. It takes years to accumulate knowledge in big mountain skiing: you’ve got to understand the variables. If you’re an up-and-coming 15-year-old park skier, you can hit that same jump all day long—it’s not going to change much. With big mountain skiing, everything is changing: the sun, the texture of the snow…. It takes years to get comfortable enough to read a mountain. I think, “There are the trees, there are the anchors in the snowpack, here’s my safe zone, there’s a blatant danger zone …” Age comes into play; the older you are, the more aware and patient you are. But then again, you don’t see a lot of 50-year-olds crashing big lines.

SW: Go ahead and make us jealous about how great your conditions were for filming.
JB: (laughs) Everyone had blower overhead pow; I call it the white room. You open your eyes immersed in your own face shot! I get so spoiled, but to see through heli-virgin eyes is amazing … I was with Julian [Carr] and [Chris] Ward on their very first heli drop. I loved seeing their smiles, like kids in a candy store. They had skinned and climbed to these same lines for hours and days, and now they were saying, “Wow, that took three minutes instead of three hours!”