Nov 062005
 
Authors: Sarah Rawley

Try strapping on a pair of 240-centimeter skis, a rubber suit and being pulled by a snowmobile to reach speeds up to 85 mph in a five-mile course.

Have your doubts? Chris Anthony did.

The pro skier and Colorado native admitted to being a little nervous after crashing the day before the Arctic Man, the world's most adrenaline-fueled race in Alaska. In the competition, teams of two test the strength of a skier and horsepower of a snowmobile.

"I felt like a rookie going into it. But once you drop out of that gate, all of your training and adrenaline kicks into place," Anthony said.

Anthony was among several other adrenaline-crazed athletes teamed up with Warren Miller Entertainment for the 2005 film, "Higher Ground," which proved that longer lines, steeper cliffs and deeper powder can always be found.

"The athletes every year seem to go one notch further with the impossible. The production side has evolved in the past 10 years. Now they are shooting in high definition so the audience can sense the action," Anthony said.

In his 56th year, Warren Miller returned to Fort Collins to officially kick off the start of the ski season with more than 3,500 ski and board enthusiasts throughout the weekend at the Lincoln Center for "Higher Ground."

"It's a great way for building excitement for the season. Colorado is always well-represented in the movie," said Randy Morgan, owner of Outpost Sunsport and sponsor of the Fort Collins showings of Warren Miller films for 21 years.

In the film, an all-star cast of athletes traveled around the globe including the rugged mountains of Alaska, terrain parks in Colorado and deep powder in British Columbia.

Several Colorado natives returned to the big screen for bigger and better feats, such as 5-year-old Bridger Gile for a second debut in hometown Aspen, freestyle Olympian Jeremy Bloom as he finds the thrill of big mountain skiing in British Columbia, and long-time Warren Miller veteran, Anthony, as he careened down icy slopes at highway speeds.

"I think that stuff's crazy. Watching them at 75 mph makes you all jittery and excited," said Jenna Middleton, sophomore social work major.

With no shortage of world-class skiers or resorts, Colorado made a respectable showing in "Higher Ground," including Aspen, Vail, and Copper Mountain.

"We live in a ski state where people come here to ski," Anthony said. "Even if you weren't trying to make a film, we have such incredible terrain and personalities to feature because in Colorado the sport is so much a part of the culture."

"Higher Ground" is on tour across the United States from October to December with stops in more than 195 U.S. cities, including 10 in Colorado.

Upcoming stops will be Denver, Greeley, Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

Everybody attending the show receives a voucher for a free early season mid-week lift ticket or two-for-one weekend to Copper Mountain as well as to Winter Park/Mary Jane.

Although the 2005-06 skiing season is just getting rolling, Warren Miller Entertainment is already looking to take athletes and the soul of skiing to new heights for next year.

As for Anthony, he is just waiting for a phone call.

"It's definitely a dream come true every year," Anthony said. "I'm never quite sure if I'll get asked to do it again. But when I get that phone call, your heart definitely skips a couple beats, you never know where it's taking you next."

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