POTM JANUARY: ALBERTO GIOVANNINI
21|22 January Pro of the Month : Alberto Giovannini
Our Pro of the Month column celebrates the remarkable individuals within The Pro Collective. Enjoy inspirational stories shared by your fellow mountain professionals and see how Faction Skis allow them to thrive on the front lines. To be featured as a Pro of the Month, fill out the form linked here.
Our January Pro of the Month is Alberto Giovannini, ski instructor based in Méribel, France. With a strong passion for skiing and teaching, Alberto shares his experiences and his favourite moments on the job.
WHAT'S YOUR JOB ON THE MOUNTAIN? AND WHAT DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL?
I am a professional ski instructor working for The Snow School Méribel. Basically, I teach people how to ski… but not only that, because being a ski instructor means much more than just giving some technical advice! To me it’s also about being a good example of how to behave outdoors, listening to everyone’s needs, making them aware of the risks on the mountain while delivering tons of fun!
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS PROFESSION?
I started skiing when I was 3 during a family holiday in the Three Valleys, then at the age of 7 I became part of my local ski club in Limone Piemonte, Italy. I raced until I was 17, and then I realized that the mountains have so many more shades than the reds and blues of plastic poles, so I went (deep) into backcountry skiing, having the opportunity to join an experienced group of mountaineers who became my mentors.
In 2020, aged 19, I went back to the groomers and passed the strict selection for the Italian ski instructor training course. I can say that I was pretty much an outlier in comparison to my colleagues who were still racers! Since then, I truly discovered my passion for teaching and, above all, I really started to share with people my joy for skiing instead of racing them. Eventually, last October, after the “Eurotest” and other exams, I obtained my diploma of “maestro di sci” and was offered the opportunity to work in one of best resorts in the world (in my opinion). It was a no brainer!
WHAT ARE THE ASPECTS OF YOUR JOB THAT MAKE YOU FEEL PROUD TO WORK IN THIS ROLE, AND IN THIS INDUSTRY?
Seeing the emotions of my clients as they start to experience ski adventures on the mountain. Sharing my passion with others and seeing how the appeal of the mountains can change a life… I mean, it has for me at least!
Then, of course, seeing people progress their technique on skis: something objective, which helps people feel at ease with our beloved sport. That always makes me proud.
DO YOU HAVE ONE OR TWO SHORT STORIES TO DEMONSTRATE HAPPY OR NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS ON THE JOB?
There’s one in particular… The day I used my “animal cards” for the first time: four animal pictures that help me explain through metaphors to children the four main movements of skiing (up/down, leaning, rotations, forward/backward).
I had this idea while I was preparing for my final exam to become a ski instructor, so I wrote an essay about it, which was appreciated by the exam commission and then published on the pages of a popular Italian ski magazine (my dad was already reading the magazine back in the ‘70s!)
But the real noteworthy moment was when, during a group lesson, I showed my cards to my kids. The method worked even better than expected! It accelerated the learning process, and in half the time of the other children in the beginner’s area, mine were ready to head up to the proper slopes. At the end of the week of lessons they asked me if they could keep the pictures to play the “ski game” at home too! Maybe it doesn’t make me look professional, but I had tears in my eyes at that moment.
Dictator 1.0 178. Most of the time, you don’t know who you’ll be teaching before a ski lesson. Beginners where I need to ski in front of them in a backwards snow plough? Advanced skiers who want to improve their carving technique on blue ice? Or maybe adventurers in search of some backcountry skiing in the (huge) Three Valleys area? That’s why I chose a ski that can accommodate all these needs and I paired it with a hybrid binding. Even in fresh snow, they perform pretty well!
WHAT DO YOU SKI ON "AT PLAY"? AND WHAT KIND OF SKIING DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
Same same: Dictator 1.0 178 …and my snowboard ;)
My ski racing background plays a fundamental role here; I still love carving during early bird runs on piste on my way to the client meeting point and that’s why the stiffer construction of the Dictator works well for me. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun skiing moguls too! Here in France, I've discovered a thriving culture for this discipline that barely exists in Italy. Who knows… maybe my next plaything will be the Mogul Ski!
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK DURING THE OFF-SEASON?
I’m studying Business and Management at Turin University, so as soon as the snow melts I jump into my exams. Then, usually around June, I start the bike guiding season working for “ATipico Outdoor Escape” in the pristine Molini di Triora: one of the best mountain biking spots in Liguria (Italy) along with the not too far away and more popular spot - Finale Ligure.
LASTLY WHAT SUMMER SPORTS ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Biking, of course! I challenge myself in different kinds of biking, from enduro racing to ultra-distance gravel riding, to e-biking and road biking. Being a pro in this field as well, I could say that I do it "for work", but the truth is, I’m lucky to have been able to transform my two biggest passions into dream jobs!
Have your own story to share with The Pro Collective? Apply to be featured as our next Pro of the Month!