“Throughout history, being a naturalist meant that you were knowledgeable about your surroundings as a means to survive. Today it has taken a different meaning, which can be attributed to the shift in populations moving to cities as well as spending more time indoors.
“The integrity of ‘being a naturalist’ was lost with the Internet and television, both the inventions of humans and leading to the demise of the awe and excitement that could only be attained by being outdoors.
“Knowing one’s own natural environment is very important, and I believe for that to continue the tradition of natural history, the excitement needs to be established once again. I grew up camping, hiking, skiing; my awe of nature has never lost a shred of integrity.”
— Tony Seibert, as recited by Pete Seibert Jr. on Jan. 13 at Tony Seibert’s memorial service at Eagle’s Nest on Vail Mountain.
The words so creatively linked together allowed us a little insight into the inner thoughts of Tony. They also capped off what turned out to be a very fun-loving, lighthearted celebration of a young man’s life. The friends and family who gathered at Eagle’s Nest exemplified the fact that even though we appear to be a resort, underneath we are a town — more so a community.
Losing one the founder’s descendants is a tough way to be reminded of this, but in the same breath, it is amazing to see us come together as community, a family.
Tony’s grandfather Pete Seibert was one of the co-founders of Vail. His service was celebrated in much the same way at Ford Amphitheater over 10 years ago. I remember being there and being so proud to be here and part of our young heritage as a community.
This past year, my father, who made Beaver Creek his backyard, passed away. Our community came together and expressed the love of the outdoors, and the passion to play in the snow is what bonds us. Our history, although very young, is strong and filled with great accomplishments and amazing stories. It is important for us to document it and hold on to that which built us.
Tony’s words above have in a way become the mission statement for one of my future projects — that is to share with our youth through my foundation and the Ski & Snowboard Museum the love and knowledge of our outdoors so future generations can forever enjoy the playground with the greatest of respect.
I want to use this moment as an opportunity to bring us closer to one another, as well as build a message that helps to define us as a community and give our youth guidance in the future. I want to use the environment we love and the sport we have a passion for to create a teaching tool that can educate our youth about their surroundings while giving them something to feel part of.
“Climb To Glory” ironically is very symbolic of everything mentioned above. Where did we come from and what inspired us? The idea for the film came to me more than six years ago and took five years to become reality. I want to thank all the believers in what I was trying to get done.
It is a collection of stories from the greatest generation of our past and how it has inspired us to be who we are now. It ties the past to the present. One of the means by which we did this was through the Seiberts. More specifically, Tony and his grandfather Pete. We literally put Tony in the boots of his grandfather and asked him to make the turns Pete once made.
During the filming, I became acquainted with Tony, watched him mature and was inspired by his energy. This was a couple years following his father reaching out to me and asking if I could perhaps meet Tony and provide some guidance. When “Climb To Glory” started to find its story line, it only made sense to make this young man part of it.
Filming was not easy. We had a number of obstacles working against us; time, budget, weather and a ton of equipment. It made every day a monumental obstacle to overcome. Tensions sometimes grew, frustrations surrounded us and the physical effort to get everything done was exhausting.
The director and visionary behind the shoot was Chris Patterson. I have had the opportunity to film with Chris all over the planet since his days of an intern. Now he is one of the best in the business. “Climb to Glory” was the perfect project for his genius — that combined with the amazing efforts of a longtime friend, producer Max Bervy, who figured out how he would take my constant pestering and make this project a reality. Only someone like Max who knows the business so well could figure out how to put the puzzle of vision, finance, production, editing and talent together.
“Climb to Glory” is truly a collaboration of some amazing talent, story and visuals. It is historic film with a bit is Warren Miller-esque humor. It ties us to a great generation, and through this film, Tony will forever be part of our history.
“Climb to Glory” will be screened Thursday night at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. The proceeds from this event, including the wonderful silent auction, will go to help build this education platform.