Ach: “ Hey Elio! How are you?” Elio: “ I’m fine!” Ach: “ Have you ever been to Sicily?” Elio: “ Yes, with my family when I was young! ” Ach: “ To snowboard?” Elio: “ To snowboard?!?” Ach: “ Yes! Last week it snowed a lot on Etna volcano.. and the food is amazing….” Elio: “ Sounds gooood! When do we leave?”

 

This is how our adventure began. Elio Fumagalli, Armando Guet and I left like surfers, knowing that the storm this time didn’t hit our Alpes. The incredible hospitality is the first thing that you notice when you arrive on the isle, people a bit surprised, a bit curious about the fact that you’re going to ski right there, welcome you like a son. Marco, our local contact placed us in the best conditions, in order to do our beloved job in the best way possible, offering us accommodation, car and good food. Three days available, not so many, but enough for Armando (young skier/ photographer from Engadina) to extrapolate a series of shots completely different, from street shots to classic turns in a pretty different environment. Too much snow in this kind of place, doesn’t necessarily mean good conditions. The morning of the second day it started snowing again and it has been very difficult to reach the little resort of Etna Nord.

After some funny hours spent helping people to put the snow chains on, at the end we found a wood where we could do some simple turns in a larch and birch trees landscape. For Elio has been easy to bring there his Swiss style, drawing lines like a painter in front of a new kind of paper. Well, it wasn’t the powder we were used to; soft and easy to raise; the climate, extremely conditioned by the sea, created a layer of little balls, similar to the styrofoam ones. “It doesn’t matter, let’s focus on the position!” said Elio. And with an exceptional experience for his age he starts making classical turns under Armando’s speedy eye. We haven’t been able to reach the top of the volcano, because of the continuous eruptions and the bad weather, but thanks to locals’ help we reached some smaller craters where we took some good shots. The sharp black rock surfaced everywhere, despite of the strong snowfall and the gusts of wind created some sunny spots, good for the shots. The Sulphur smell started being very strong and after some hours spent there we decided to go down looking for some street spots. Right at the starting we got our eyes on a rail with a close-out ending. We waited for the Resort to close to start. After two rides Elio already had the shot. When we decided to start trying something more difficult, the ski facilities responsible stopped us because of safety reasons, police and you already know about it…

 

 

We came back satisfied by this quick trip and aware of the climate change. We’re going to listen to more stories about skiing in unusual places, such as Sicily.

Achille Mauri
ph. by Armando Guet