I interviewed my top skiing guide in the Alps to find out his favourite runs, where to go for the best mountain meal, and where he longs to ski next...
How did you first become passionate about skiing?
I started skiing when I was three and a half year's old and I'm still in love with it.
Tell us about how you became a ski instructor?
I started skiing together with my father, in fact, we started learning together. Then I started to race a little bit, and I always have to thank my dad as he was doing two jobs to make enough money for me to be able to race (it’s an expensive sport if you want to do it seriously). I wasn’t such a great racer, also because I was still studying whilst my mates quit school pretty early in order to keep skiing. After my racing period, I became ski instructor after passing the exams, and started working as a ski instructor. After a while I became the manager of the ski school in Cervinia.
Favourite skiing destination?
I would say Cervinia- Zermatt for its hugeness and its landscapes, even compared with my beloved Champoluc - Monterosa Ski resort in Italy.
If you could live at one hotel in the mountains?
Probably Rosa Alpina in the Dolomites.
Best mountain restaurant?
Chalet Etoile - Cervinia
Where for a mountain escape / to escape the crowds?
It really depends. I would always skip the big French resorts, both for value for money and for the amount of people. There are many hidden pearls in the Alps, where you can ski in high season without queuing too much, All the resorts in Aosta Valley are like that.
Where do you recommend for a first-time skier or snowboarder?
I would suggest Pila, Livigno, Madonna di Camoiglio.
What’s been your most adventurous mountain expedition?
I was doing a free ride session with a client and at one point, we were on top of a cliff and the client started to panic…it really was not funny at all, but everything went well and to plan anyway… and it ended with a large beer! One other time, I was doing a moonlight downhill from the 3500m to the village (2000m). We left at 10pm from the hut, when the moon rose up, but half way, a big cloud came up, and we finished shrouded in fog. It took a while to get home...
Best off-piste or heli-skiing you’ve ever done?
How do you prepare for the start of the season?
I always train myself 3/4 times a week to get ready for the ski season - it’s very important. You can feel the skis really differently and enjoy it much better.
Do you stay in the mountains over summer?
Sure. The colours are simply amazing. I think in summer time, colours are brighter, more various, you're not alienated by the total white!! And so much more to do and to enjoy: biking, climbing, trekking, canyoning, rafting etc.
Brand of ski-gear and why?
I love Peak Performance. I think they are very comfortable, cool and warm. Bolle Royal for goggles are the best.
Favourite brand of sunscreen?
There are so many…I have different ones. It's so important to always carry it with you though!
What do you never ski without in your pockets?
Something to eat.
Where do you long to go next?
I’d love to ski the Lofoten islands or in Japan.
If you’re not in the mountains – safari, beach, or city?
Surfing and my home town in Piemonte, Vercelli.
If there’s one run that can’t be missed?
From Klein Matterhorn to Valtournenche: 21 km….
Funnest travelling experience you’ve ever had?
Surfing in Mexico.
What would you like to see in the future for skiing?
Slightly more convenient prices so as to open the world of skiing to more people. It’s getting more and more expensive.
Finally - your ultimate travel mantra?
I don’t ever wanna go back!
Every time I explore a new destination, whether it’s on an adventure holiday in Peru or a luxury beach escape in the Indian Ocean, I return home full of excitement to share the amazing sights I have seen. Through my own experiences I have developed a love of helping others experience the great wonders of the world; truly getting under the skin of the extraordinary destinations that are at your fingertips. Getting the details right, from which hotel is perfectly located for exploring away from the crowds, to which local guide is most knowledgeable on history or culture or art, is of paramount importance to me. I am constantly seeking out new and exciting experiences and exploring off the beaten track to ensure my clients are receiving the best and most honest first-hand advice.
Take a look at my travel diaries for food for thought on your next trip...