‘Climb to Glory’ makes its Vail premiere Saturday
VAIL – Chris Anthony had this idea about a 10th Mountain Division documentary; like all good ideas it wouldn’t leave him alone.Five years later, “Climb to Glory” screens Saturday as part of the Vail Film Festival.”This is a dream come true for me,” Anthony said.Anthony approached Susie Tjossem and the Colorado Ski Museum folks and pitched the idea. If the museum could raise the money, he said might be able to get the folks at Warren Miller Films to produce it.”It’s a story we’ve always wanted to tell,” said Josh Haskins, producer with Warren Miller Films.Anthony created a partnership with the museum, Warren Miller Entertainment, The Anschutz Foundation and anyone else he thought would listen.”I was sort of the thorn in everyone’s side,” Anthony said.Today is its second public screening. The first was Jan. 9 in Denver at a charity event for the 10th Mountain Society and Wish of A Lifetime Foundation, a charity that grants wishes to people 80 and older.”I had hoped to draw attention to those men and women of that generation, the Greatest Generation, and that’s what it did,” Anthony said.The first screening completely sold out and the film drew rave reviews, Anthony said.”Since then I have been fielding lots of requests about the next showing. So here it is,” Anthony said.Miller-esque moments”Climb to Glory” intersperses interviews of 10th Mountain Division veterans with archival footage and film shot of Anthony and others skiing in vintage 10th Mountain gear. Some of the new footage was shot with equipment from the 1940s, to make it as authentic as possible. Part of the documentary deals with the evolution of ski equipment.”You get very inventive when you’re in the military,” Tjossem said.Anthony put together some descendants of 10th Mountain soldiers. Pete Seibert’s sons. Scott Kennet’s uncle served with the 10th. Young people on old equipment. Add some music, some Warren Miller-esque humor and adventure skiing and you’re there.”The movie is so much better than we anticipated,” Tjossem said.The museum owns the film. Warren Miller Films produced it and used an eight-minute segment in “Flow State,” this year’s Warren Miller film. That led to “Climb to Glory.””We had such compelling stories that we felt like we had to tell them,” Haskins said. “We’re telling a story to our audience that we felt was important for them to understand,’ Haskins said.Historical perspectiveWarren Miller’s producers and videographers lived in a camper at Camp Hale, Anthony said. They set up at Ski Cooper during a 10th Mountain Division reunion and interviewed as many of these guys as they could, then interviewed more at the ski museum. “They walk a little taller. They have a presence about them that comes from everything they’ve been through. They’re inspiring,” Haskins said.The Warren Miller company has a successful formula they tend to stick to, and this wasn’t it. But a good idea is a good idea.”Once we started doing the interviews and saw how incredibly powerful they were, they realized how important this was,” Anthony said.There’s a fund at the ski museum to help pay for it. The Warren Miller people absorbed a lot of the cost of it, Anthony said.Anthony said he plans to be there to introduce the film and lead a Q&A session.Anthony and the Ski Museum will use “Climb to Glory” in their educational programs. Kids, especially local kids, need a little historical perspective about how important these people are to their lives.”The film is a way to capture their imagination,” Tjossem said.Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.