Changes and restlessness
The fall is a season of waiting, preparation, nostalgia. On mornings like these, the dense and muffled mist begins to invade the valleys. But it is enough to climb a few hundred meters to enjoy infinite nuances: it is from there that the pale profile of the mountains stands out against the yellow of the larches, which in this period reveal all that repressed vanity.
But fall, since years, bursts in bringing with it a series of undeniable questions. Uncertainties and anxieties related to the season to come, to the future of an industry that inevitably sees us involved. As media and as enthusiasts. Livigno cross-country piste is the clearest image of this fall disguised as summer. Cold isn’t coming, much less flakes, and we, with our eyes closed, search in the present a past that seems very distant. Inevitable repercussions on an entire sector, including the competitive one of alpine skiing, where the World Cup had to announce the cancellation of the Sölden races first, the Zermatt ones then. Many are now beginning to wonder what the future of the discipline is, starting with Olympic silver medalist Johan Clarey who spoke of a “meaningless demonstration and against all environmental logic” for the usual attempt to force the mountains and make them skiable at all costs. We operate in a context totally dependent on snowfall, but the increase in temperatures is a clear reality. There was a time when it was possible to enjoy a few lines even in the summer, among the panoramas of Stelvio, Cervinia and Presena. Today immense white sheets wrap these places to keep them safe, as is done with children in the evening. Fall for me meant Senales, Mölltaler, Stubai, but the distance is so far that I even find it hard to focus on the memories of them.
Nowadays mountains are at a crossroads: continue to apply growth and consumption models or seize the opportunity for a change, a reconversion with respect to what has taken place in the last fifty years. But this second option needs an initial effort. Only then will the mountain be a great school and first of all teach that “sense of the limit” inherent in Alpine culture: exploiting only the interests and leaving natural capital intact, but also imagining great ideas with the resources one has. “The challenge facing the current ruling class is to imagine a future that takes into consideration different factors that are by no means marginal, such as climate change, the economic and energy crises, without forgetting social changes and a labor market that has to face the growing quality of life expectations. Whoever knows how to manage and invest in change will probably have a good chance of success. Where to start? Establishing a constructive and transparent dialogue, with the aim of sharing and discussing proposals and ideas.”
Proposals and ideas that also concern the market to which our guide is aimed, made up of companies that in recent seasons have had to face a situation as dramatic as the one of Covid pandemis. Never like last winter, splitboarding and backcountry have been at the center of interest. And they will continue to grow, in conjunction with a collective awareness that will gradually increase, both from individuals and companies, producing a general mobilization towards a more responsible vision, thanks to the ability to exploit new strategies and opening up unprecedented perspectives.
And it’s no wonder that in Livigno the decision taken was to use artificial snow despite the temperatures, because if the changes are disturbing, the idea of taking refuge in familiar situations is comforting. But sooner or later we need to overcome these fears and face reality, otherwise we’ll find ourselves drinking Sicilian granitas in December, hoping to find the water to make them.