SPEED SKIING STORIES FROM BEYOND THE LIMIT

Speed skiing has been an infinite challenge between man and speed for the past one hundred years. Motorised or non-motorised, the enthrallment of exceeding the limit has always been a magnet to those brave enough to put themselves to the test often under in extremely dangerous circumstances. A broader audience that is thirsty for news and complicit in legendary exploits on the land, sea and sky has recently developed thanks to increasingly widespread media coverage.

Skiing takes its own very special place amongst all this. Despite being made of cutting-edge materials today, fact remains that man has reached the fastest un-motorised speed on earth on two flimsy slats. Ivan Origone’s astounding speed of 254,958 km/h and Valentina Greggio’s equally incredible 247,083 km/h already seem out of this world a world where the risk of death is omnipresent, just as it was for the pioneers of the past who faced it with the visionary courage of the predestined. This adventure began almost two centuries ago in northern Europe, then oddly moved to the mines of California, after which it returned to the Old Continent. These are the legendary 30s in St. Moritz, the years when speed skiing was permanently baptised and where athletic skill and experimentation blended together to create the breath-taking challenge we still see today on the best tracks in the world. These are the years a certain Leo Gasperl delimited the boundary between past and future with his fabulous 136,600 km/h record that held until 1947 when it was smashed by new record holder champion Zeno Colò who, almost by chance, moved the speed up to just over 159 km/h (159.292). This occasion inaugurated what is now commonly considered the “temple” of speed skiing the Plateu Rosa track where the top specialists of the discipline have confronted one another for decades on its dizzy gradient. Up to 1978, this spectacular drop set the stage for historic record breaking thanks to the healthy folly of great skiers such as Mc Kinney, Meynet, Simons, Casse, Morishita, Hakkinen and many other champions. This is International Cervinia, the capital of extreme skiing, where VIPs or the plain curious meet up, drawn to a spectacle in a league of its own. This was an era that left its mark, not only in the field of sport, at this time marketing and communication were also discovering new ways of talking to a public that was undergoing huge changes.

What came next is well known and part of our present. After Cervinia came Portillo where the 200 km/h barrier fell, this was followed by dozens of other places such as the French resorts Les Arcs and Vars, site of the most recent records. The legend of speed skiing continues, rises from its ashes and breaks barriers that appear unbeatable. And so the story will continue as long as there’s snow, a pair of skis and a groomed track worthy of the challenge.

The project KILOMETRO LANCIATO. STORIE OLTRE IL LIMITE condenses all this an unprecedented attempt to pay tribute to all those marvellous feats accomplished by men and women in an attempt to shave a mere one thousandth of a second off the record – without ceasing to dream that perfect descent.

CINÉMA DES GUIDES – BREUIL-CERVINIA
30/31 LUGLIO 2016