For Chris Anthony, nine-time veteran of the World Extreme Skiing Championship and star of 21 Warren Miller films, the easiest part of making one of those films is the skiing; an impressive claim as most of us can only dream of attempting to navigate some of the terrain Anthony skis.
"Some of the most challenging aspects of creating a Warren Miller film are the weather, the location, and the getting there; all the logistics, everything but the skiing. The skiing is the easiest part," said Anthony in a phone interview.
Anthony travels around the world with the Warren Miller crew, always pushing himself physically and creatively. He's been to Iran, Ecuador, China, and many other exotic locales in between. Of all the places he's been, all the mountains he's skied, Anthony said he can't pick a favorite.
"Every place offers something unique," he said. "Every place has its own amazing aspect."
Choosing a favorite Warren Miller film is equally challenging.
"That's a tough one because they're all so unique in their own way," he said. "The most rewarding ones are the ones that put me in the most obscure places. It's hard to have a favorite because I know how much work goes into each of them."
The Colorado native and long-time Vail resident will be at the Donovan Pavilion in Vail Thursday to discuss all that hard work and all the other little behind-the-scenes details that go into creating a Warren Miller film. Anthony will present the video "A Skier's Journal," which takes a look at the physical and technical challenges of filming with Warren Miller Entertainment and shows never-before-seen footage.
Anthony encourages anyone who has a love for or interest in filmmaking to attend this program. His own passion for filmmaking was born during his time as a student at the University of Colorado in the late 1980s. Anthony was attending CU to ski but left the team when he realized daily commutes to Loveland for training were forcing him to miss out on too much of the campus experience. He enrolled in a film class at that time and it was then that he fell hard for the art of filmmaking, and it wasn't long before he was given an opportunity to marry that love with his love for skiing.
Anthony was at an all-mountain pro-am competition in 1990 when he ran into Mike Farny, a former CU ski coach who had worked for Warren Miller. Farny recommended Anthony to Miller's production team, and soon after Anthony was bound for Europe to shoot his first film. Twenty one films later and Anthony continues to work with Warren Miller Entertainment, not only on the production level, but also promoting films and serving as emcee at showings of each season's annual film.
Anthony is currently working with Warren Miller on the 10th Mountain Division Film Project. Anthony and other members of the Miller crew have been shooting at Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain Division trained, acquiring footage for a segment in an upcoming Warren Miller film. The footage they get will also be used to create a documentary that will serve as an informative and instructive film for the Colorado Ski Museum.
A clip Anthony posted on YouTube after filming all day this past Sunday (search for "Behind a Warren Miller Shoot 'The 10th Project' Chris Anthony") gives fans a tiny taste of the work that goes into creating one of these films. In it Anthony is wielding the camera and standing at the top of a cliff band near where the 10th Mountain Division trained, waiting for his cameraman to navigate his way to the bottom in order to get a shot of Anthony skiing off the 30-plus-foot cliffs. Anthony gives the viewer a glimpse of the terrain he just skied down, pointing out, as any good filmmaker would, the ideal lighting in the background. He also takes a moment to marvel at the fact that the 10th Division members navigated the terrain in that same area with equipment that was much more rudimentary than his. The clip ends with Anthony saying, "and that's how we pluck away at these films, slowly but surely."
Tracey Flower, a Vail resident working as communications associate at the Vail Symposium, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.