Documenting ‘the missing months’ of the 10th Mountain Division
May 8, 2018
Colorado native Chris Anthony has been sharing his love for skiing and sharing the stories that go with the sport for decades. For 27 years Chris Anthony traveled all over the world as an athlete and on-screen personality with the sports action film company Warren Miller Film Entertainment. During his career, Chris has freelanced for several publications, co-authored a guidebook, commissioned and wrote a screenplay, and hosted and produced several television and film projects.
One film project was "Climb to Glory," a documentary about the famed 10th Mountain Division, the winter warfare unit that fought key battles in World War II and how they transformed the U.S. ski industry upon their return. The film was done in partnership with the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Warren Miller Entertainment. The topic of the 10th has stayed with Anthony well after the film was produced and has lead him to his next passion project.
"After we did that documentary, people started sending stories that they had heard or they experienced as part of the 10th and this particular story kept finding me," Anthony said. "The story goes that on June 3, 1945, a ski race was held in the former Yugoslavia. It was hosted and put together by the men of the 10th Mountain Division and nowhere in our libraries is this ski race documented, yet they celebrated it over in Slovenia."
Germany had surrendered in May of 1945, Japan was still fighting in the Pacific and some of the members of the 10th were sent to help. So how did they end up in the former Yugoslavia?
"Yugoslavia decided that they would, while everyone had their back's turned focusing on the other events happening in the world, invade Italy and they had to do it over a mountain range called the Julian Alps," Anthony said. "This was a very important strategic location to occupy. So the 10th Mountain Division received a new set of orders that they were going to have to march further northeast to push the Yugoslavian Army back over the Julian Alps and they successfully did it."
Through interviews with members of the 10th, many of them in their 90s now, as well as historians from Slovenia, Anthony has been able to start piecing this story together for the film, who's working title is "The Missing Months".
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"That day, 73 guys started the race, 23 finished. The race was won by a Swiss-American named Walter Prager, he was actually the current world champion, so it was a legit field. Steve Knowlton, a very famous Aspenite was second. Nobody documented it on film, there are photos of it, so my mission is to go over and recreate the race and bring it back so we can build this story around it" Anthony said.
This labor of love will be Chris' task for the next few years as he tries to piece together the details.
"Fate has brought me here. This is a story that keeps finding me, I can't ignore it. There's a heavy connection between Colorado and our history at Camp Hale and the world events of that time and I'm very proud to be doing this project," Anthony said. "I think that we can bring history back to our youth in a fun and entertaining way that really connects these dots. It's not just dates and numbers on paper and pages, it actually ties us to that generation through the skiing."
To find our more and to help fund this project, please visit http://www.chrisanthony.com for more details.
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