A better question would be “when did you first fall in love with skiing?” For me, it was on my first trip to Europe in high school to compete in the Italian Marcialonga Ski Marathon. I had experienced the Birkie in Hayward, but had no idea what to expect from my first trip to Europe—let alone my first international ski race.
Lining up at the start line in the tiny mountain village of Moena in Italy’s famed Val di Fassa, I was surrounded by hundreds of skiers and could not understand a word they were saying. When the gun went off, the massive pack of skiers took off down the trail, which turned out to be groomed streets through the village of Moena. It was a “choose-your-own-adventure” of ski trails, past 13th-century buildings and down narrow, cobble streets covered by groomed ski tracks.
Considering we were racing in the Dolomites, I was surprised that the course was relatively flat, but I found smooth, level skiing along the brook created by the lake, Lago di Soraga. As we followed the trail, we kept skiing through little towns – Pozza, Canazei, Predazzo – each town had scores of locals lining the route cheering. Each town would try to out-do the last. Local elementary school students would cheer “die! die! die!” Italian for “go! go! go!” and brass bands would trumpet polka tunes – this region, after all, was part of Austria before World War I.
Everything about the race was exciting. Everything at a Worldloppet event is exciting and the Italians know better than anyone how to have a good time!
It was this experience racing in Europe that helped me fall in love with skiing and inspired another 12 years of international competition—not to mention a few more in the years to come!
Of course, when deciding the places to bring guests for VBT’s first Nordic Ski Tours and Worldloppet events, the Marcialonga in Italy was the first place that came to mind. You can join me this winter for 12 days in Europe and compete in both the Marcialonga and Austrian Dolomitenlauf. Read more about the departure on our website.
The Marcialonga trip and race registration are filling fast! Contact our sales team by Tuesday, October 9, to get more information and reserve your place on the tour. I can’t wait to ski with you in Italy this winter!
For more great ski news check out our friends at www.skipost.com.