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Documentary made about US soldiers' ski race in Slovenia

Vail, 8 June - US filmmaker and ex-skier Chris Anthony is making a documentary about a post-WWII ski race which US soldiers organised on 3 June 1945 in the Slovenian mountains.

Mt Mangart (2,679 metres), the fourth highest mountain in Slovenia's Julian Alps.
Photo: Robert Hrovat/STA
File photo

According to US portal Vail Daily, Anthony would like Mission Mt. Mangart to be finished by June 2020, for the 75th anniversary of the ski race.

The race was organised by 10th Mountain Division, a winter warfare unit which had taken part in the final fights in Europe at the end of World War II.

Anthony has said the unit was sent to the Julian Alps to push the Yugoslav Partisan army back over the Alps when "Yugoslavia decided to invade Italy".

On the race day, 73 US soldiers started the race on Mt Mangrt, a 2,679-metre peak in the Julian Alps, but only 23 finished it. The race was won by Walter Prager (1910-1984), a downhill skiing champion.

Explaining the reason for his interest in the story, Anthony said the ski race is not documented in any of US libraries, whereas it was remembered in Slovenia.

In 2011, the Bovec municipality and the Slovenian Mountain Troops reenacted the 1945 ski race in collaboration with the US Embassy in Slovenia.

As part of his mission to make the film, which will be used for educational purposes, Anthony got in touch with some locals in Bovec and Janez Kavar, a retired brigadier general, to learn more about the ski race.

Some of them volunteered to dress up in vintage 1940s ski clothes and film several scenes reenacting the race at the site of the original race.

The Slovenian Armed Forces also helped with transport and logistics. "Everyone has just been so supportive of this project," Anthony told the news portal last week.

© STA, 2019