Community Inspiration: Chris Anthony of the Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project

Community involvement and family-friendly skiing are two things that we value here at VBSR, and someone in our community continues to inspire us by upholding these values in his career path: Chris Anthony. Chris has been a competitive skier and an athlete with Warren Miller films for more than 28 years. He’s the founder of the Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project, and he was inducted into the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame in 2018.

Read on to find out more about skier Chris Anthony, his current youth initiatives and film projects, Vail mountain favorites, ski gear, VBSR memories, and more.

Interview with Chris Anthony: Skier and Community Activist

Vista Bahn Ski Rentals [VBSR]: Hi, Chris! We know you’re busy with everything from skiing to filming to spending time in classrooms with kids. What are the projects you’re most excited about right now?

Chris Anthony [CA]: I run the Chris Anthony Youth Project Initiative, which has several different projects under its umbrella including mentoring kids in schools, getting kids outside for experiential learning, creating educational films, and providing youth avalanche education with The Glide Project.

No such thing as a wrong question. Keep asking kids! Photo courtesy of Chris Anthony.

For the mentoring part of this project, I join up with schools across the state and speak in classrooms on different topics ranging from peer pressure and groupthink to 10th Mountain Division skiing history. Skiing ends up being my reference for conversation, and I also use skiing to teach kids about geography by taking them on an around-the-world ski journey.

Since my background is skiing, I also get kids outside of the classroom for experiential education on the slopes. Any school is eligible for these programs, and I work with more at-risk or financially challenged schools to take kids skiing who may have never been outside of their neighborhoods. It’s pretty exciting to see kids who have never been outside of Denver on skis at Loveland, and it’s also an eye-opening experience for them.

Students receive avalanche education and snow science curriculum in The Glide Project. Photo courtesy of Chris Anthony.

With The Glide Project, I underwrite youth avalanche awareness programs that are age-appropriate, with an emphasis on developing personal responsibility, teamwork, and respect for the mountain environment. The Glide Project makes it financially viable for kids to get their Avalanche Level I certification at programs held in the Vail area, and upcoming in Estes Park.

Film is also a part of the educational tools that I create, and I’m currently working on a not-for-profit documentary that relates to 10th Mountain Division history. This one focuses on American soldiers who held a ski race in Europe after the end of World War II. It includes WWII history and is also a story about how skiing brings people together.

Chris Anthony: Skiing Background and Career

VBSR: What is your earliest memory of skiing?

CA: That’s easy! I remember being on my dad’s back while he was skiing down a run. It’s not allowed now, but I was in a backpack on his back. I remember that he had a big pom-pom hat on his head—and the trees were whipping by us on the left.

Chris getting the goods! Photo courtesy of Chris Anthony.

VBSR: Like the VBSR family, you’ve a ski racing background. Please tell us more about your ski background and career.

CA: I started out as a freestyle skier as a kid, and I discovered that the local kids who were racing were amazing. They were actually better, better skilled, and so I decided to get into a racing program. That’s when I really began to accelerate, and I was in the US Ski Team training group.

When I went to college, I kept skiing, and then I started doing goofy competitions–I’d do anything on skis. I competed because I just loved the sport, and then the Warren Miller crew asked me to join them. It was 1989 when I did my first Warren Miller shoot. Since I grew up watching films, that was a dream come true, and I did what it took to hopefully be asked back. One of my assets was that I would do anything they needed for the films, and I didn’t care if they made a fool of me. I worked hard behind camera, too, and I managed to work for them for 28 years. With Warren Miller, I got to see a lot of the world, and that led to a lot of other opportunities for me in the ski industry.

VBSR: What was your first paid job in the ski industry?

CA: In 1986, I got asked to give Beaver Creek ski instructors race clinics. I think that was my first paid ski job. Since then, I have also worked teaching and giving clinics on the mountain. And with the travel experience that I got while working with Warren Miller, I started creating an adventure program–taking others to places where I’ve been skiing. Some of these trips have included guiding in Italy, doing programs in Chile, and heliski guiding in Alaska for more than 20 years.

VBSR: What do you consider your career highlights so far?

CA: Definitely, working with Warren Miller for 28 years is a highlight. And in 2018, I was inducted into the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame, which was one of the most amazing and touching experiences for me. It was a huge moment for me to be recognized by this industry I love, and I got to speak to people I’ve looked up to for years and years. My mentors were in audience, and that was just magical. I got to say thank you to them for being those role models and for being who they were to me.

VBSR: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 20 years?

CA: Hopefully happy! I’d also like to see the impact of my foundation continue to grow for kids. I really want to still be giving back to the sport and still be involved. I’d like to see skiing stay real into the future—and keep being a family-friendly sport that gets people out into nature. Keeping skiing the soulful sport that it is: this is really important to me.

Photo courtesy of Chris Anthony.

Chris Anthony on the VBSR Family

VBSR: When did you first meet the Gros family and the VBSR crew?

CA: I’m pretty sure that I knew Sacha and the Gros family long before they knew who I was! Sacha and I were both in Ski Club Vail, but he was just a tiny grommet when I was there. I was older, and I knew exactly who he was. He was a little ripper with giant blonde hair. I wasn’t surprised that his ski racing career took the direction that it did. Later, I met Dominique when she was in high school—she came and introduced herself to me one day in Edwards. Since then, I look forward to catching up with them at VBSR—it’s a very special family business they’ve created in Vail.

VBSR: What’s your favorite VBSR memory?

CA: I’ve been bringing groups into Vail for years, and it’s always been a trip to find personalized service in this corporate ski environment we’re in. VBSR is that special place for me. When I found out that Sacha and Dominique were running their family’s store, I went there and realized that it’s an amazing place, owner-operated, and with them—these people from my past.

So now my memories of VBSR are of the best treatment, the best quality service—and of Sacha and Dominique being there. Employees stick around because of relationships, and as a customer, I started bringing others there, too. Just how it’s been for me, I see how everyone who goes in to VBSR starts developing relationships over time, beyond storing gear or getting skis tuned.

VBSR: What service or product do you use most at VBSR?

CA: I do take my skis to VBSR to get tuned every once in a while, but I honestly stop in there because it’s like a hometown place to me. I just like to say hi or see what Dom and Sach are up to. It’s a welcoming place to me—and it’s amazing in this valley to see that consistently.

VBSR: Anything else you want to add?

CA: It’s super special that we still have people like Sacha and Dominique in a family-owned shops like VBSR in this environment. It’s very special—and very rare. I’m thankful for them and for places like theirs.

Photo courtesy of Chris Anthony.

Chris Anthony: Vail Favorites and Ski Gear

VBSR: What are your favorite Vail groomed runs?

CA: Swingsville and Emperor’s Choice

VBSR: What is your favorite Vail powder run?

CA: Genghis Kahn

VBSR: Skis and boots?

CA: I’m all about Volkl skis. My favorite all-mountain skis right now are the Volkl M5 Mantra skis. For boots, I’m wearing custom Dalbello boots that I needed for the right fit due to an injury. It took me many years to switch boots, and now these are the boots I love.

Follow Chris Anthony:
Instagram: @ChrisAnthonySki

Family-Owned Ski Services and Ski Rentals

Stop by Vista Bahn Ski Rentals to experience the special, family-friendly vibe yourself! Skiing is as much a part of our family as Vail ski rentals and ski tuning are a part of our business. Located just steps away from Gondola One in Village, VBSR is the closest ski shop to the slopes. We also offer online ski rental reservations and ski storage so that you can save time and walk away hands-free at the end of the day.