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Chris Anthony youth project brings 10th Mountain movie to 10,000 students

Warren Miller ski movie star Chris Anthony shows his film "Climb to Glory," an award-winning documentary about the 10th Mountain Division, to a group of students at St. Clare of Assisi on Monday.
Special to the Daily |

“INSPIRE”

What: Skiers encouraging kids.

When: Monday, Oct. 13.

Where: The Bluebird Theater, Denver.

More info: Bluebirdtheater.net/events.

EAGLE COUNTY — The first 400 of the approximately 10,000 kids who will see “Climb to Glory” this fall enjoyed the Warren Miller Entertainment film this week.

Local resident and extreme skier Chris Anthony, who stars in the award-winning documentary, is bringing it to schools throughout Colorado as part of his nonprofit Youth Initiative Project. He began the fall tour here in Eagle County on Monday, showing the film to students at Homestake Peak and St. Clare of Assisi schools.

“The kids seemed to really like it,” said Sam Mizwicki, an art teacher and student life coordinator at St. Clare of Assisi. “They got to see the clips of (Anthony) actually in the gear that they were in back in the ’40s and I feel like they responded well to it.”

The film takes place at nearby Camp Hale, where Anthony explores the roots of the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army, who trained there before fighting in the mountains of Italy during World War II. It’s filled with interviews from original 10th Mountain Division survivors and their descendants, who try to ski a mile in the veterans’ boots, literally.

“I’m definitely really proud of this one,” Anthony said of the film. “It was really nice to be able to pay a tribute to these guys, who we owe so much to as skiers.”

While this will be the 16th year Anthony has toured schools and showed students the world through Warren Miller clips, it was the first time he attempted showing a full, 45-mintue movie in its entirety.

“I was nervous, thinking ‘Is this too long? Will the kids be engaged?’” Anthony said Monday. “But the kids were fully engaged … they were like ‘Camp Hale, that’s what that is.’ Or, ‘That statue of the big white guy in Vail Village, that’s what that is.’”

IMPORTANT HISTORY

Anthony visited Homestake Peak last year but had not been to St. Clare of Assisi in several years. Local resident Sarah Millett, who has four kids at St. Clare, said she suggested Anthony visit there this year after seeing “Climb to Glory” herself.

“I thought it was a film that middle school kids could relate to,” she said. “It gives a little bit of the context of how old the valley is.”

Before moving to the Vail Valley, Millett was a history teacher. These days, she’s the owner of Old Forge Pizza — a restaurant which carries on the mining heritage of Pennsylvania.

“Really, I’m just a history buff and an avid skier,” she said. “… Instead of thinking the ski mountains just appeared, there was a story behind it, there were men who sacrificed their lives and loved the mountains, and I think we have to remember how cool it is to live here.”

TONY’S LAST WORDS

Mizwicki said in addition to fitting in with the World War II history portion of St. Clare’s curriculum, Anthony’s visit also helped the school reiterate one of the other things they’re trying to instill in kids — to set goals.

“He talked to them about working toward your goals and sticking to it, and how he wasn’t the best student but skiing was his thing and he knew he needed to keep his grades decent in order to keep skiing,” Mizwicki said.

In continuing his fall school visits, Anthony has set some goals of his own.

“My goal is to show it to 10,000 kids in my fall tour,” he said Monday.

Locally, the film will also show at Edwards Elementary, Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and the Eagle County Charter Academy.

In the long term, Anthony is hoping to build teachable moments into his adventures on the snow and bring those moments into the classroom during his fall tours. Part of his inspiration comes from one of his co-stars in “Climb to Glory,” Battle Mountain High School graduate Tony Seibert, who was killed in an avalanche in Vail earlier this year. Tony Seibert is the grandson of 10th Mountain Division veteran and Vail Mountain founder Pete Seibert.

“Tony’s last journal entry is pretty amazing,” Anthony said. “He talks about how kids are not getting outside, so they’re not learning about and respecting their environment.”

WARREN MILLER ATHLETES

Anthony has received a lot of cooperation from Warren Miller Entertainment along the way.

After the first screening of “Climb to Glory” — held at the Sonnenalp in 2012 — producer Max Bervy foreshadowed Anthony’s efforts with the film.

“The goal is for our kids to see it, so when we’re all gone there’s a piece of history that they can relate to,” Bervy said.

On Oct. 13, Anthony’s fall tour will bring him to the Bluebird Theater in Denver, where his youth initiative project will present “Inspire,” a family-friendly event featuring Chris Davenport, Mike Douglas and Anthony’s co-stars from Warren Miller Entertainment’s 2014 film “No Turning Back,” Ingrid Backstrom and Jess McMillan.

“Each athlete has not only discovered world-class success within their sport, but has also translated their athletic drive into other passions,” Anthony said. “They will motivate, entertain and inspire through exciting visual presentations.”

The first Colorado screening of “No Turning Back” will be in Boulder Nov. 13; locally it will play at the Vilar Performing Arts Center Nov. 28-29.


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