Christmas at home then ski on your own
Paolo Tassi and the joy of skiing: skiing freely between the emotions of art which renews itsself with each snowfall.
"Go Paolino, be aggressive". This is what Alberto said to me just a few seconds before the start. Yes, that Alberto who a few years later would go on to win everything there is to win in skiing.
5,4,3,2,1 go! With my heart thumping and my knees trembling all the way down to the finish, hoping to be the fastest. But evidently I wasn't aggressive enough. Even back then I felt more at ease in the woods at the edge of the piste or flying over natural humps. With age and experience things take on the right proportions: 1,2,3,4,5 is now the scale used to indicate avalanche danger!
The desire to ski freely, without having to search for the fastest line between one coloured flag and the next, has always been a natural instinct. Skiing in powder snow, rather, through powder snow, still provides extremely strong emotions, a great motivation which could seem like a virtuous form of art. All you have to do is imagine that virgin slope as being a white canvas just waiting for the first "stroke". The inspiration must be strong, an unstoppable desire which, with skis strapped on, transforms into a sort of dance in order to leave a trace in this world of white.
This needs to be combined with the right company, fit for the occasion. What could a painter achieve without a muse? Or what would it be like to ski without seeing our friends whip up the powder with every turn? Who knows how many people would have wanted to be there, when Leonardo da Vinci made the portrait of Mona Lisa...
Yes, skiing is form of art while our tracks remain there in the snow, until it snows again and our painting is wiped clean. In an era in which renewable energy is top of the agenda, in which every rock has been climbed and reclimbed in all possible styles, then welcome with open arms this form of art which renews itself with every snowfall. What happens though if it doesn't snow? Does this mean will have to conform and ski on pistes, on those created artificially with snow cannons... despite all those prohibitionists! Hopefully not!
Every year the wait for snow to fall is like the mystery of life, a magic which repeats itself, at times more, other times less. If this coming winter is only half as generous as the last, then it'll be an overriding triumph. Last year in Cortina, the town where I live, it snowed 616 centimeters. According to the official stats, 2008 was second only to 1950 when 743 fantastic centimeters of snow fell to the ground. At the end of the day snow is female and here in the Dolomites there's a saying: "you cannot command weather nor women!" If snow is a woman, then it's worth courting her, waiting for her and caressing her when she concedes herself.
Every one of us can see many things in a snow slope, can inspire infinite dreams and desires. Personally I dream of being there with my friends and family and like a child I want to eat candy-floss with skis strapped on.
Happy winter to everyone, ski safely and have fun: enjoy HER as you wish.
Paolo Tassi (Mountain Guide since 1995) was born in Bologna but lives in Cortina d'Ampezzo, where he works as a Mountain Guide. He has been a member of the Gruppo Scoiattoli di Cortina since 2002. An adventurer by heart, he has skied across half the globe, including the winter traverse of the Alps.