AN AWARD-WINNING FILM PROJECT SHEDS LIGHT ON AN OBSCURE, BUT DEFINING, EVENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE 10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION.
Soldiers preparing to train at Camp Hale, Colo., in the early ’40s. PHOTO COURTESY OF U.S. ARMY
“THIS IS A STORY THAT FOUND ME AND WOULDN’T LET GO,” says Chris Anthony, a longtime ski movie star and Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame inductee. Mission Mt. Mangart, a documentary written, directed, edited and produced by Anthony, follows the 10th Mountain Division’s adventures from Colorado to northeastern Italy during World War II—but also a ski race you’ve never heard of.
As a professional skier, Anthony has been traveling to Italy for nearly three decades. “From the very first visit, I was drawn to Mt. Mangart,” he says. Seven years ago, he discovered that the 10th Mountain Division not only ended up in the same region but staged a ski race on Mt. Mangart in the middle of the war. The division’s members—who were skiers before they were soldiers—used gear they had captured from the Germans. The film tells the story of this little-known 1945 race in flashbacks, including firsthand accounts from veterans, a race-day reenactment and narration from Mikaela Shiffrin.
Anthony reenacts the wartime race for his 2021 documentary. BY VILI VOGELNIK/COURTESY OF CHRIS ANTHONY YOUTH PROJECT
“I’m emotionally attached to the location, the mountain, the tie between Colorado and the Julian Alps, to skiing, and to ski racing,” says Anthony, whose life as a Colorado skier has been indelibly affected by the legacy of the 10th Mountain Division. Anthony sees the story as an important, and timely, history lesson. “The sacrifices generations made before us so that this very diverse country could exist are unreal,” he says.
Mission Mt. Mangart has won seven major awards (and counting), including Best Historical Film at the 2021 Cannes World Film Festival and Best Feature Length Documentary and Best Original Score (written by Carlo Nicolau) at the 2021 Florence Film Awards. Following the Veterans Day premiere at Denver’s Boettcher Concert Hall, screenings are scheduled for Dec. 1 at Beaver Creek’s Vilar Performing Arts Center, Dec. 20 at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Jan. 8 at Keystone’s Warren Station and Jan. 12 at the Boulder Theater, with proceeds benefiting the Chris Anthony Youth Project. chrisanthony.com