Montura

 

GIORGIO DAIDOLA

GIORGIO DAIDOLA
Bio

Giorgio Daidola, born in 1943 in Torino (Italy), is professor of economic and financial analysis for tourist companies at the University of Trento, journalist and ski instructor. He has been editor of the magazine Rivista della Montagna and of the yearbook Dimensione Sci for many years. He has also published articles and photographs in the most prestigious Italian, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Australian and US outdoor magazines.
He has both directed and acted in ski-mountain movies that have received awards in important film festivals, and was protagonist of Alberto Sciamplicotti’s movie Il Diritto e il Rovescio, shot in Armenia in winter 2012, which won awards at the Orobie and Sestrière film festivals and selected at Trento's film festival. He currently writes for the Italian mountain magazines SkiAlper, In Movimento and Meridiani Montagne, and contributes to the sailing magazine Bolina.
In 1982 he reintroduced telemark in Italy, and with this “free-heel skiing” style he skied many mountains in all seven continents and carried out ski traverses in Karakorum, Hielo Continental and Rocky Mountains. He also made the first telemark descent of an 8,000 metre peak, the Shisha Pangma in 1988.
At the beginning of the eighties he started sailing. With his first boat, a Ranger 29 named Bétemps after the famous hut on the north side of Monte Rosa, now called Monte Rosa Hütte, he sailed in Greece and Turkey. Thirty years later he returned to the eastern Mediterranean with his second boat, Zeffiraglia III, a 10-metre Gladiateur.
During his cruises, he has always tried to combine the pleasures of the sea experience with the pleasure of mountain experience. Walking along the coasts on forgotten paths and climbing the highest peaks of every island. From his boat moored off Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands, he climbed the volcano and skied down from the Sciara del Fuoco, a steep 900 vertical metres of lava. Such adventures are thrillingly told in his Viaggio in Mediterraneo - Immagini, incontri, riflessioni di un velista curioso, which was published by Il Frangente in 2013. Not a nautical guide, Viaggio in Mediterraneo is, rather, the story of five years of summer cruises in the eastern Mediterranean, with a vivid focus on meeting both people and landscapes.]
Ski Spirit - Sciare oltre le piste was published by Alpine Studio in 2016 and won the Gambrinus "Giuseppe Mazzotti" award, Alpinism category, the same year. Here, Giorgio Daidola shares his ideas of perceiving the skiing experience as a journey in search of the deep human emotions that white mountains all around the world can evoke. For him, skiing is not merely a sport. It is a sublime pursuit that involves the spheres of the spirit. Great writers like Doyle, Hemingway, Nabokov, Mann, Hesse, Buzzati, Gozzano, and Parise were inspired by thinking of skiing in this way. “Ski Spirit” also evokes the idea of the skier following his tracks on the snow as a means to recovering a great past. An interesting critical review of Ski Spirit can be found on Alessandro Gogna's blog (www.gognablog.com).
Daidola’s greatest dream is to live the experience of both sea and mountain as a uniquely singular  adventure.  As his friend Carlo Bistagnino wrote: “Sea and mountain are very similar in offering emotions and vertigo of freedom to those who love them deeply.” For this reason, Daidola considers Bill Tilman, the English mountaineer and sailor, the greatest explorer of all time.

Tracks on snow

The tracks left on snow represent the ultimate meaning of skiing; it is much more than a sport, more than an athletic and physical expression, more than a childlike enjoyment experienced by sliding on the snow.The tracks are the skier’s signature, the expression of his personality, of his style and of his way of living the ski experience.
Even animals mark the winter space with their graceful tracks, without destroying the delicate balance of the white natural world. Skiing is decorating, in an aesthetically pleasing way, the winter environment. Skiing becomes an artform. A good skier often stops to admire, or to disapprove of, his own tracks. The renowned architect Carlo Mollino, a great skier and good photographer, took as a model the photos of his own tracks in powder snow to draw his famous works. The Regio theatre of Torino is a great example of how he transformed his best ski turns into art. The design of his round tables and furniture was directly inspired by his turns in powder snow.   

from Ski Spirit (Alpine Studio, 2016)


Back to the future

What will happen to me when I am no longer able to travel with my skis? To ski big mountains and to make big traverses? What will remain of my "ski spirit"?
Bruce Chatwin wrote: "Nobody can travel without a base ... everyone must have his own magic circle." For the skier, the magic circle is the perfect turn. It is the round turn that takes us back to the beginning of our ski experience. The ability to ski this perfectly round turn makes possible a return to our own origin.
The slope is ready: almost 50 metres in front of my house, facing north. Last summer I prepared it, cutting small trees and grass, imagining how it will look covered with snow. I am proud of my work. This winter, with the new snow, I will be able to ski, slowly, just nine perfect round turns, feeling the pleasure with every snowflake I am moving. Every day I will go up and down several times, even in bad weather, as long as there is snow. I will imagine each perfect turn before doing it; I will savour the pleasure of the sound of the true snow under my skis.
All my ski travels on wonderful mountains, all my endless ski descents, all the infinite white spaces I have seen will find a logical conclusion in these few turns. I will feel the excitement of my first turns when I was a child.
One more time I will ski with a very heavy backpack, full of my past. All my travels, all my busy life will find a meaning in these few turns. It will be a way to close the magic circle nicely, because when we go back to our own Ithaca we are supposed not to need to travel in search of white mountains anymore.

from Ski Spirit (Alpine Studio, 2016)


From Mediterranean to Azores

In February 2016 I returned from a long ski traverse in Norway’s Finnmark with two frozen fingers, as the temperature was minus 35° degrees inside the tent. I understood that my great dream to cross Greenland with skis, like Nansen, was better to remain a dream. I decided to do another kind of challenging traverse, at least for me: to sail through the Atlantic, from Lagos in Portugal, where the previous year I had left my old 10-metre boat, Zeffiraglia III, after many years of sailing in the Mediterranean Sea.
The crazy destination was the Azores, about 820 nautical miles distant, with a dominant headwind. With my boat, the journey would last at least 7 days. I did not have ocean experience; my longest  cruise in the Mediterranean lasted 48 hours.
I spent a lot of time and money preparing the boat, installing a Windpilot, a satellite phone and other gadgets. Finally, on June 17th, 2017, I left Lagos, together with the Welsh Keith Edwards and Portuguese Miguel Sousa.
As planned, we reached São Miguel, the largest island of the Azores, in 7 days. The first 4 days were the most difficult, with 3-metre high waves against us and 25 knots of wind. We sailed the first 50 miles towards the north, in order to have better wind in the second part of the journey. Indeed, in the last 3 days we could feel the pleasure of perfect sailing, our gennaker dancing with the ocean waves. I realised that oceanic sailing is not at all boring. It is first and foremost a wonderfully spiritual adventure.
I finally disembarked, stumbling onto the small marina of Vila Franca do Campo as though I had just climbed a high mountain. 
I strongly sensed the magic of those islands in the middle of the ocean, and suspected that Zeffiraglia III would be staying in this lost paradise for a long time. It was June 23rd, the day before the festival of St John, patron of Vila Franca and also of Torino, my native town. We feasted with the hospitable and wonderful people of Vila Franca, singing and dancing in the streets of the old village for two days. And felt far from our stressful way of life; for a moment we touched what we think of as happiness.

From Dal Mediterraneo alle Azzorre  (Il Frangente, the book is in printing)


Sciatori di Montagna (Mountain Skiers)
12 great skiers who made ski-mountaineering history

Giorgio Daidola’s new book, published by Mulatero Editore in December 2017, is a journey into the past to discover the lives and exploits of ski fathers, Paulcke, Kurz and Lunn; ski explorers, Ghiglione, Zwingelstein and Parmentier; ski champions, Preuss, Mezzalama, Castiglioni, Gobbi and Traynard; and of one of the first extreme skiers, Heini Holzer. Twelve skiers who have strongly influenced Daidola’s way of living the white mountains. Through a study of their lives, he believes it is possible to better understand the true meaning ski-mountaineering.


Translation from Italian by Cristina Franceschini, reviewed by Hilary Bell