HomeFood & BeverageSkiing in Trafoi and Solda, at the home of Gustav Thöni

Skiing in Trafoi and Solda, at the home of Gustav Thöni

I know reading this article you immediately think of journalistic privilege, but if supposed privilege is often mostly imaginary, this was absolutely real: ski with Gustav Toni in his home, that is Transformer in Upper Venosta Valley. The starting point of the day wasBellavista Hotelthe hotel of the Tioni family, which since 1872, when it was a post office on the way to the Stelvio pass, welcomes guests who choose to come to this most remote place in South Tyrol, on the border with Lombardy, below 3900 m above sea levelOrtler in the Stelvio National Park, in a small village made up of mountains, forests, 50 inhabitants and a church that stands out alone in the snow.

On the track with Thöni

In the morning at breakfast we sit at the table where the ski legends sat a little over a month ago to celebrate 50 years Blue Avalanchethis epic that unfolds on a memorable date, January 7, 1974, when in the giant Berchtesgaden in Bavaria five Italian skiers placed in the top five. They were Gustav Toni, Piero Gross (who won this race), Erwin Stricker, Helmut Schmalzl, Tino Pietrogiovanna. However, Thöni was the leader, the skier that all of Italy was waiting to see descend, the fastest, with unmatched technique and who never held back, in any sense, with the passion and humility capable of creating a winning team in a sport prone to individualism . Gustav Toni and “Avalanche”, young, beautiful and successful, with those striped tracksuits and that rock band they gave Italy a dream.

«Valanga Azzurra», our «rock band» on the snow, led by Mario Cotelli.

Part of this story is told to me by Gustav’s son-in-law, Stefan, husband of his first daughter, Petra, as I stand spellbound at the hotel 4 World Ski Cups showcased: 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1975 (the 1974 one was won by Piero Gross). I had never seen a cup up close, with that strange shape of a sparkling crystal ball, as if it were a world of ice, which is on display in the hotel (multiplied by four) along with medals and cups of every shape, from every competition, from what it resembles for the first international success – the famous victory in the giant slalom in Val d’Isere in 1969 – to the three Olympic medals, gold and silver in Sapporo and silver in Innsbruck. There are also the first skis made of wood by the grandfather, many photos, memories and panels with titles of articles from the time: «Thoeni, perhaps, can do it» quoted one of which Gustav’s mother, Anna, only emphasized «Thoeni does», omitting «perhaps». She was right. There are also pictures with his father Georg, a ski instructor and Gustav’s first coach, who started skiing as a child on the slope below the church behind the hotel, walking up the slope with his cousin Roland and the other boys from Trafoi and beating the ladder slope on skis .

MORZINE, FRANCE, JANUARY 1 Portrait of Italian skier Gustavo Toeni, taken in January 1974 in Morzine after the World Cup...
MORZINE, FRANCE – JANUARY 1: Portrait of Italian skier Gustavo Toeni, taken in January 1974 in Morzine after a World Cup giant slalom competition. AFP PHOTO (Photo should read STAFF/AFP via Getty Images)STAFF/Getty Images

Source: VanityFair

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