Tales from the Tread: Pro skier turned film producer receives high praise for documentary about 10th Mountain Division
Tales from the Tread
Chris Anthony has had quite the journey through skiing history. As a professional skier and featured athlete in 28 Warren Miller films, he was inducted into the 2018 Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame.
Now, his most notable accomplishment is his work as an award-winning documentary producer, director, writer and editor, as well as executive director and founder of the Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project.
On Jan. 9, Anthony screened his latest work, “Mission Mt. Mangart,” to a sold-out crowd at Olympian Hall, sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and Special Olympics of Steamboat and the Yampa Valley, in partnership with the Tread of Pioneers Museum.
Written, directed, edited, narrated and produced by Anthony, “Mission Mt. Mangart” brings to light the WWII events of the 10th Mountain Division from 1939 leading up to June 3, 1945. In the past year, Anthony has made 52 stops on his national and world film tour.
The film continues to receive high acclaim and was nominated in four categories at the Cannes World Film Festival, eventually taking Best Historical Documentary in April 2021.
“To be honest, the real reward has been the impact that it has had on audiences,” said Anthony. “Other than the Cannes Film Festival, the only screenings have been live and in person.”
The documentary is unique in that it delves into those untold tales from a unique inside perspective by professional skier (Anthony) who serendipitously stumbled upon the division’s history during his own skiing career. Remembering they were skiers before becoming soldiers, following the conclusion of fighting in Europe in WWII, the 10th Mountain Division hosted a ski race on Mt. Mangart in June 1945, an event that was largely forgotten about in the U.S., but remained a celebrated piece of ski history in the local region around the massive peak.
“I did not ever think about the importance of the film when I was making it. I was just trying to tell a small story that turned into a bigger one,” said Anthony. “It found me and would not let me go. I did not realize the importance of the subject matter until I started realizing what was happening in the world around us during COVID.”
The 10th Mountain Division is a full division of the U.S. Army specializing in mountain and winter warfare. Members trained at Camp Hale during World War II and were experienced in skiing, mountaineering and cold-weather survival, as well as military tactics. The soldiers fought enemy forces in the Italian campaign of 1945. Many 10th Mountain Division veterans contributed greatly to the development of the recreational ski industry in the United States and to the growth of related fields such as outdoor equipment, recreation and nature conservation.
Proceeds from the film screenings benefit local organizations that Anthony partners with as well as his Youth Initiative Project. The mission of the project is to improve quality of life through introducing youth to educational enrichment opportunities. They do this by putting mentors in the classroom, bridging students to experiential opportunities beyond the classroom, providing financial support, and building educational tools that enhance the classroom experience.
When asked about the importance of teaching local history, Anthony notes, “I think it is more important than ever in our country’s history. It only takes a couple of generations to forget. Those that want to change the foundation of our country can use the lack of education about history to take advantage of the uniformed generations. … The 10th (Mountain Division) story is an entertaining way of at least just getting a small percentage of important information out.”
The Tread of Pioneers Museum and local partners hope to bring Anthony back in the near future to screen the film again and present his talk, with a focus and showing for youth and local students.
Candice Bannister is the executive director at the Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs. For more, TreadOfPioneers.org.
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