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And this year, Anthony, who has skied at exotic locales all over the world for the past 21 years while filming with Warren Miller Entertainment, got to stay in his own back yard for the company's latest production, Wintervention. "The footage we shot is in the Stone Creek area on the east side of Beaver Creek, in these steep little pillow-line chutes that they just opened up a few years ago," he says. In it, you can see super-slow-mo shots of him throwing powder all over the place, filmed with a special camera shooting 350 frames per second. "It's a spot some of us locals have been charging for years, and the chutes are now officially part of the ski area. Wait for a really big storm and then get back there and go nuts."
But when there's no new snow, Beaver Creek has great groomers as well. "I'll happily spend the whole day under Centennial riding the same three runs over and over again," Anthony says. Beaver Creek also has the McCoy Park Nordic Center for cross-country skiers or snowshoeing, as well as terrain parks and the kid-appropriate Bachelor Gulch and Arrow Bahn areas.
Speaking of kids, the Chris Anthony Youth Initiative works with nonprofits like SOS Outreach, First Descents and the Children's Hospital Sports Program to help get more kids on the mountain, and this season he's focused on the 10th Mountain Division Film Project, a joint effort with Warren Miller Entertainment and the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum.
"What I want to do is retrace the route that a bunch of guys from the 10th went and did prior to being deployed in Italy in 1943, following their route from Camp Hale to Aspen, skiing and highlighting those mountains and getting into their whole story. There's an awful lot of history in these hills."
General Information: www.BeaverCreek.com; 970-845-9090.
Location: 110 miles west of Denver via I-70, exit 167.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Snow Report: 800-427-8308.
Lift Rates: TBA.
Terrain: 1,815 skiable acres with 149 trails; 19 percent beginner, 43 percent intermediate, 38 percent advanced/expert. Base is 8,100', with a 3,340' vertical rise; summit: 11,440'.
Breckenridge Ski Area
Breckenridge snowboarder JJ Thomas had one hell of a season last year: He won the Winter Dew Tour, shot some footage at Breckenridge with the Warren Miller Entertainment film crew with his teammates Steve Fisher and Zack Black, and started his own business, Boulder-based clothing company YEA.NICE. This season he's got even bigger plans. "I spent my summer snowboarding at the Windell's camp out at Mount Hood and then trained down in New Zealand for the last few months, and I'm getting ready to start riding in Colorado again now that it's snowing like crazy," Thomas says. "I haven't really had a summer, which is how I like it."
Breck's catering to Thomas and his Dew Tour cohorts this season with its first-ever 22-foot superpipe, which will open in time for the Nike 6.0 Open, December 16 to 19. Thomas wants to win on his home turf, and he'll be waving the banner for local pride when he does: "Breck is hands-down the best ski town in Colorado — the best mountain and mountain-town combo you can get — and caters to the top, top tier of professionals and extreme go-getters."
To go get some for yourself, check out the Freeway Terrain Park — home to the new superpipe — on Peak 8. Breck's also offering a new elite Ski & Ride program for advanced and expert skiers and riders looking to step it up, and unveiling a new Peak-to-Peak Challenge for its Breckenridge Adventure Sessions: Register at Breckenridge.com and then attempt to ski or ride ten black runs across all four peaks in a single day.
"Breck is great, because the mountain has a little bit of everything," Thomas says. "I get so focused on training in the pipe that it can be easy to forget."
When you're not tearing it up in the park and pipe, Thomas suggests seeking out the steepest and deepest terrain the mountain has to offer: "Get as far up Peak 8 or Peak 7 as you can to get away from the crowds and really challenge yourself. It's good to get out there and remind yourself what snowboarding's all about."
General Information: www.Breckenridge.com; 970-453-5000.
Location: 104 miles west of Denver on I-70 (exit 203) and Colo. Hwy. 9 to Breckenridge.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Snow Report: 970-453-6118.
Lift Rates: TBA; order seven-day advance tickets at www.Breckenridge.com for best discounts.
Terrain: 2,358 skiable acres with 155 trails, 14 percent beginner, 31 percent intermediate, 19 percent advanced, and 36 percent expert. Base is is 9,600', with a 3,398' vertical rise; summit: 12,998'.
Aspen's smallest ski area has developed a bit of a split personality in the fifteen years since it began hosting the Winter X Games: It's now as well known for its big booters and 22-foot Olympic-sized superpipe as it is for its gentle groomers and family-friendly beginner and intermediate runs. Bridging that gap, there's also the Panda Pipe terrain park for beginners, a dedicated run from the top of the West Buttermilk lift to midway.
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