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Katia Mascherona: curls and grit

It’s not easy to paint the portrait of an athlete. You would like to tell what is not obvious, not times, results or training routine. It’s easy to write and reflect on well-known figures who talk a lot about themselves and it almost seems like you really know them only thanks to all the material available on the web. This time instead we’re talking about a very young athlete who talks about herself with control, precision and a touch of shyness, that same shyness that however vanishes once in the race. We’re talking about
Katia Mascherona
, born in 2001, with blond curls that make her unmistakable even when she is wearing a helmet. She was born and raised in Bormio, in Valtellina, as she says, the ideal place for those who love mountains and outdoor sports. In the last two years she has made herself known from Spain to Austria, climbing not only the altitude differences but also the rankings until she earned the under 23 gold medal in the Vertical category at the Boí Taüll world championships.

How did you approach the mountains and ski mountaineering in particular? Has anyone passed on this passion to you?

I used to practice alpine skiing in my childhood school days, but six years ago when my friends took me on a trip to the mountains with ski mountaineering equipment, I fell in love immediately. So, supported by my dad, I decided to throw myself into this adventure.

In this season you got on the podium quite a few times… How did it go?

In the last two years I have achieved various results that are very important to me; last year I won the overall u23 world championships ranking, while this year I won three beautiful u23 medals at the world championships in Spain: gold in the Vertical category and two silvers in Sprint and Individual. This season started with some ups and downs, but fortunately thanks to Fiamme Gialle who support me and to my coach Davide Canclini (Toio) I managed to get to the world championships in top form.

What result made you most proud?

Definitely the first place in the u23 in the Vertical category at the world championships: a really unexpected result, not being my favorite specialty. The other result was ninth place in the World Cup Sprint in Val Martello. It had never happened to me to finish in the top ten in such a high level race.

What’s your favorite race? And is there one you dream to take part in one day?

I don’t have a real favorite race, this year it was certainly the Individual race on the Presena glacier, where I found all the conditions in my favour: starting from the cold climate (because I suffer terribly from the heat) up to powdery snow on the descents. In the future, however, I would very much like to have the opportunity to take part in Pierramenta: it has always been described to me as the most beautiful race of the Grande Course.

How is a typical race day for you? How do you prepare the body, but above all the mind?

First of all I have to set the alarm clock to a multiple of 5, I’m very superstitious! I could never wake up at an inaccurate time. To better prepare my body for the race, I always eat the same things right from breakfast. Afterwards I need to take some time to concentrate, but above all to relax. Before the race I always try to meet “dad” Robert (Antonioli ed.) for encouragement. As far as possible, I try to prepare my mind first, when I’m at home and where I can count on the fundamental support of my family and my boyfriend.

What is the best part of your sport?

Surely at a competitive level, ski mountaineering is hard work and you don’t have the opportunity to fully appreciate it, but a day of tranquility in the mountains with friends is enough to enhance all its merits: the tranquillity, the breathtaking views and the adrenaline looking for the most beautiful couloirs where you can have fun downhill.

Are you more comfortable going uphill or downhill?

Given my background in alpine skiing, it is certainly the descent where I feel safest and I can give my best on slopes of different heights.

What do you do when you don’t ski?

When I’m not busy with competitions or trainings I really like going to the mountains with my dad and my friends without pressure, just to have fun. Lately I’ve discovered the road bike, also thanks to the place where I live because there are several Alpine passes such as Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo where I can train.

How do you live the competition?

At first it was pure anxiety, now the situation has improved a little, maybe because I’m starting to get to know the environment and the people around me, now I can better bear the pre-race stress. However, I’m a bit of a superstitious person, no one can take away the matching socks/underpants of the same color for each competition specialty.

Is there an athlete or figure who is a source of inspiration for you?

Of course, my favorite athlete is Robert Antonioli. I’ve always appreciated him because even if he’s a top level athlete he’s always ready to give advice and help us youngsters in the group, and thanks to his pre-race words he always manages to give me the right grit.

What are your goals for the summer and next season?

The goal for the summer season is definitely to be able to train at my best. I would also like to take part in a mountain running race so that I can also compete in another sport. For next winter, it would be wonderful to match the past two seasons.

Do you dream of the Olympics?

Of course yes, like all athletes, I too would love to be able to participate in the Olympics. Especially since they will be held on the very tracks at home where I train.

What’s you favorite mountain, peak and climb?

The mountain that has given me the most emotions up to now has been Königspitze. Maybe for the people I was with, for the great conditions we found, but once we reached the top, the view was spectacular and that’s why it’s still my favorite mountain.

Since when have you been part of the big Dynafit family?

It all started thanks to the Alta Valtellina ski club where I grew up since I gave up alpine skiing and embarked on my journey into ski mountaineering. Thanks to them I came into contact with this great brand with which I share a great passion for the mountains and outdoor sports.