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Employee Spotlight: John Anicito “At home on water — winter or summer”

Photo (from left to right): Todd Toledo , John Seelig, John Anicito,  Matt Norfleet, taken in California in May just after winning Nationals.

Breck’s Snowmaking Supervisor John Anicito will spend his pre-season representing the U.S. at the World Rafting Championships in Brazil.

image001In 2001, John Anicito left the east coast and headed to Breckenridge, planning to stay for a year. Fourteen years later, he is not only one of the mountain’s most respected snowmakers (now on his third season as a supervisor) but also a world champion rafter en route to South America this month to compete in the World Rafting Championships in Brazil to represent the U.S. Raft Team. We caught up with John before his departure.

Breck Blog (BB): How did you end up in Breckenridge?

John Anicito (JA): I moved out here from New Jersey in 2001 with a college friend chasing the dream of being a raft guide and ski bum. It’s a familiar story. One year turned into 14. Each year keeps getting better and now I have no plans of leaving.

BB: What have you learned about snowmaking?

JA: I came into the snowmaking department with zero knowledge of snowmaking or mountain operations, and I had never been on a snowmobile. I was as green as they come and now I going into my 12th season. I’ve learned everything: how to operate the entire system and all the equipment associated with it.

BB: What’s life like in Breckenridge? 

JA: I love living in Breck—the weather, the people, all the activities. There’s something to do all the time if you like the outdoors. I snowboard, cross country ski with the dogs, just get out. And then in the summer there’s rafting, kayaking, hiking and mountain biking.  It’s hard to find a better place.

BB: When did you get into competitive rafting? 

JA: My first raft race was back in 2001 although it took some time before I got really focused on being competitive.  In the last six years I have been a part of a couple teams that have placed 2nd at the national level.

BB: How did you land on the national raft team? 

JA: This past winter, three other guys and myself started paddling at the Breck Rec Center pool, using a bungee cord tied off to the side of pool, to train for the USRA National Championship. We went to California in May and placed first in all four events, which qualified us to go to the World Rafting Championships in Brazil to represent as the USA Raft Team.

BB: Wow. Congratulations. What does it mean to be going to Brazil? 

JA: This opportunity is an amazing experience. It really is a dream come true. Over the past six years I have put in so many hours of training and practice in and now it’s paying off because I get to compete against the best rafters in the world, at the biggest rafting event in the world.

BB: Where will you be rafting?

JA: We are traveling to Foz do Iguacu, which is located in the southernmost tip of Brazil near the Argentina, Paraguay borders. The downriver event will be held on the Iguacu River. We will put in just below the worlds largest volume waterfall “Iguacu Falls.” And the time trial, head to head and slalom events will be held in the Itaipu Canal on the Parana river (second longest to the Amazon in South America).

BB: What will it be like? 

JA: This is the most prestigious raft race in the world and all the best teams will be representing. We will be competing against Brazil, Japan, Czech Republic, Russia, Argentina, Chile and more. In all, 15 mens teams will be competing for the title of best in the world. The level of competition will be higher than anything I have seen yet but I feel that the team has been training really hard and we are up for the challenge.  I can’t wait!

– Rachel Walker

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