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Chris Anthony’s “Mission Mt. Mangart” tells the story of the legendary 10th Mountain Division

John Meyer
Denver Post
With vintage skis and clothing, former Warren Miller ski film athlete Chris Anthony climbs to a ski slope on Mount Mangart in Slovenia in 2017, where he recreated a ski race that 10th Mountain Division troops held there in 1945, a month after World War II ended in Europe. The recreation is part of his new film on the 10th, “Mission Mt. Mangart,” which will be playing at several Colorado venues during the ski season.
Willi Vogelnik/Courtesy of Chris Anthony

Barely a month after Nazi Germany surrendered in 1945, war-weary American soldiers from the renowned 10th Mountain Division “ski troops” — who had trained for World War II at Colorado’s Camp Hale — held a ski race on a spectacular peak in the Julian Alps, near the border of Italy and what was then Yugoslavia.

In Italy’s Apennine Mountains, they survived fierce clashes with German forces that claimed the lives of 992 of their comrades. They had fought heroically on Riva Ridge, Mount Belvedere and through the Po Valley to Lake Garda, where Benito Mussolini had a villa. Terrible images of battle were all too fresh in their minds, but holding a ski race seemed like a good way to celebrate the lives that had been spared. Despite the horrors of mountain combat, they had not lost the love for skiing and mountaineering that drew them to Camp Hale three years earlier.

What: Mission Mt. Mangart: The mighty story of the legendary 10th Mountain Division

When: Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek

Tickets and more info: vilarpac.org/event/chris-anthony-youth-project-presents-mission-mt-mangart

The story of the 10th — its cold-weather training in the mountains between Vail and Leadville, its fierce battles in Italy and the improbable giant slalom at Mount Mangart on June 3, 1945 — is told in a new historical documentary written, produced and directed by Chris Anthony, a professional skier and member of the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame. The 70-minute film — titled “Mission Mt. Mangart, the Mighty Story of the 10th Mountain Division” — premiered on Veterans Day at Boettcher Concert Hall in an event that included a performance by the Colorado Symphony. It will play at several Colorado venues during ski season.



Anthony, who is well known to Colorado skiers for more than two dozen appearances in Warren Miller films as a daredevil big mountain skier, is often overcome with emotion when recalling how the movie came to be made and the reactions it is eliciting. He falters when describing what happened after a screening for 300 troops at Fort Drum, N.Y., the current home of the 10th Mountain Division, when a two-star general summoned Anthony to the stage. Anthony saw the general had difficulty composing himself.

Read more via The Denver Post.




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