the mountains saved me, and now it is my turn to save the mountains

My great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father were all alpine guides, so, with all probability, I would probably become one as well.

But when it came to it, my path was not so obvious.

Born and raised at the foot of the Matterhorn, a lover of snowsports since I was very young, and a great fan of Alberto Tomba, at fifteen I was already a promising skier. But during a competition, a bad accident ended my future as a professional and changed my destiny.

At that age, you face misfortune with the typical overwhelming emotion of adolescence, you live through the drama with unfathomable intensity, both physically and mentally.
In one short moment you feel the world come crashing down around you and the ground crumble beneath your feet, you feel an apocalyptic sense of injustice, because life is not going in the direction you imagined.

Fortunately, time teaches you that this is not the case, and brings you back to reality: there are rights, but also responsibilities, limits that can be overcome and others that can't; and, above all, you will not always be offered opportunities, but if and when one appears, you need to be able to seize it. You need to humbly roll up your sleeves and accept what life offers you. This is how you learn to build a future, your future.

After the accident, between rehabilitation and hesitation, I spent a long time waiting for someone to offer me a second chance. A chance that then arrived, from my father, of all people.

One icy October morning, he suggested I accompany him up the Matterhorn. Hours of walking, careful not to trip, not to hurt myself, to keep pace, while I silently worked out what my future would be.

That day, those moments experienced with unexpected intensity, determined my destiny.

I had always known the mountains as a skier, not as a climber, but that day my father opened my eyes to something that I had not yet been able to see.

Becoming an alpine guide was the first step, to guarantee a job; then my path through life led me to become a mountaineer. The mountains have taught me a lot. It is only living in close contact with nature that you realise you are in your element, that it becomes part of your family and shows you how great you can be, and at the same time how small, in comparison with the majesty of its magnificent simplicity. 

And how if you love your family, the mountain, you want to preserve it.

This intimate growth and personal development led me to experience the mountains through the many nuances of ethical values that at times it suggests, and at times it demands. I learned not to focus only on my goals, but also on how they were achieved: to respect every place, remembering to leave no trace of my presence. You never change the mountain. Mistakes, false steps, hopes and disappointments, voluntary and forced choices; a collection of experiences that have determined what I am and the life I am living.

We live in a society in which our instinct, our sixth sense, has been rather tamed; our senses no longer all work together, and it is precisely from their working together that we gain our sixth sense, let's call it intuition, which often leads us to experience something special that we would never have aspired to. 

It is incredible how reality can sometimes be even stranger and more fantastic than our imagination.

Instinct has always guided me well, and I have always trusted it, even in the mountains and in the most difficult, critical moments; instinct has often made me turn back, and other times it has pushed me to go further, despite knowing that in the mountains, raising the bar and going beyond the limit can also, in the worst cases, mean death. 

In the mountains, you put the most precious thing you have at risk; and the more you risk, the more you understand the value of life. The more you understand the value of life, the more you know that you must believe in what you do, with all your heart. 

It is a philosophy that I apply even to the simplest things. I don't collaborate with a sponsor, for example, only for the money. I have to see something more in it: an affinity between my values and those of the brand, so I can believe in it and throw myself into it.

But you don't only need to believe in what you do, you also need to trust. Trust yourself, and enjoy the experience.

I always advise taking a break from technology and dedicating some time to exploring an area you don't know: "Leave your phone in the car, take a sandwich or some chocolate, and get lost in the woods, letting yourself be transported by your emotions and overwhelmed by nature. You will find a lot more than you thought you were looking for."

Sometimes, coming back from a solitary climb, looking for someone who could alleviate the solitude I had magically fallen into, I was surprised to find myself, recounting things to my friends that my mind had produced during my isolation, from silent observation in contact with the mountain.
Every time, I knew something more about myself, and I wasn't aware of having worked it out.
Because nature is transparent, a mirror that does not lie.
Why, then, do we have to lie to it or deceive it?

This is why I am writing a book, and I passionately follow projects that spread ideas about mountaineering, sport, culture and education. I want to pass on my experience, hoping that it can help many other people approach the mountains and the opportunities for life that they offer.
So that it can finally be fully understood that taking care of the planet, saving it, also means saving ourselves.


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N° 4


Fortune is an attitude.
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