Chris Anthony teaching history and science
VAIL — If your child’s main focus is hanging out with his friends at school, then he has what we are now calling Chris Anthony Syndrome.
In the past six months, Vail resident Chris Anthony has been to Alaska, Norway, Italy and Chile and hosted cycling star Greg LeMond here in Colorado. The professional skier and Warren Miller movie star will appear in his 27th film with the legendary company this fall.
But he has made friends with thousands of kids here in Colorado through his Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project, and during the fall — when he has a little time away from cycling camps in Italy and ski camps in Chile — all he wants to do is hang out with his friends from school.
Anthony says the Youth Initiative Project started with school visits nearly two decades ago when he was asked to be a youth mentor for Colorado Ski Country. He developed a classroom program that has been seen by more than 30,000 students since, and in 2013 the project obtained tax-exempt status and now has added scholarship programs and educational tools.
This year he says he’s stepping up the program ever further by working with top professors to develop lessons, which he then sends to teachers. Those teachers present the lessons in the classroom, then Anthony heads out with his friends, the students, and they all apply the lessons in the field. In this case the field is the new Snobahn indoor ski and snowboard center in Centennial, and Movement, the indoor climbing facility in Denver.
Anthony says in addition to the immense fun of being with his friends, he can really see the lightbulbs light up when he applies the lessons as they are hanging out.
Here in Colorado, it’s a culture of play, Anthony says. He’s seen the good and the bad, from expert skiers becoming avalanche victims to underprivileged kids strapping on skis for the first time. He’s experienced the height of what the sport has to offer — big budget films and top level competitions — and now his goal is to show kids how those subjects they learn about in school need to be applied in play if you are to really respect play in nature.
When the kids see there’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics at play, it brings new awareness, new possibilities and potentially life-saving knowledge into the realm of recreation. And it also brings respect.
Another aspect of sport that Anthony is bringing awareness to is history. This year, he reconnected with his old pal LeMond, the three-time Tour de France winner and three-time cycling world champion. After recovering from a bullet wound to win the Tour de France, LeMond was one of the original suspects of ethical issues in cycling. People loved Lance Armstrong at the time, and that created problems for LeMond, Anthony says, adding that since that time there have been public apologies made to LeMond.
Now a well respected figure, LeMond was a perfect partner for this year’s Youth Initiative Project fundraiser on Sept. 17, as he had the courage to call out something he felt was wrong.
If you ask Anthony for his take on the issue, you will indeed get an entire history of LeMond’s career, along with elements of science and technology which added to his individual successes.
But don’t try asking Anthony anytime soon because this fall, he’s busy hanging out with his friends.
The Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project relies on individual and group donations. For more information or to donate, visit http://www.chrisanthony.com/youth-initiative