In Shiffrin's footsteps: Lara Colturi stuns the ski world

Lara Colturi is the new prodigy in Alpine ski racing. At only 16, she brilliantly masters her balancing act between school and World Cup. We spoke with her in St. Moritz last December.
byFabrizio D'Aloisio

Lara, what are your connections with St. Moritz?
I was born in November, and in January my mother competed in the Corviglia World Cup races. Meanwhile my grandparents pushed me in my pram around the frozen lake of St. Moritz. So I got to know St. Moritz at a very early age. And I still remember my first ski run on the Corviglia, wonderful!

What impression does St. Moritz make on you today?
It is a place that is different from all others. I love to travel and we are always on the road, but there is no place like it in the world. St. Moritz is unique.

What do you like here most of all?
The slopes are very special here with all their speed bumps. And the view over the frozen lake, St. Moritz skyline and fantastic Upper Engadine landscape is so incredible. But I also like the downtown atmosphere, and St. Moritz has some wonderful shops too - just right for window shoppers like me (laughs).

Now you are 16 years old, do you still have idols?
Of course I do; in skiing circles Mikaela Shiffrin inspires me the most. Not only on the slopes, but also in private. When she's skiing, she has like a bubble around her, as if nothing else exists. Off the slopes, she is a perfectly normal person, always with a smile on her face and not aloof at all.

So you are racing your idol for the same World Cup points...
Yes, it's incredible, but that doesn't stress me out.

What do your friends say? Do you still see them at all?
They say wow, you've come that far! When I'm at home, I try to see as many friends as I can. Even though I'm usually in the gym or studying for school. So I have to balance a lot of things and it's not easy, but somehow it always works out. The school helps me a lot by recording lessons so I can listen to them later.

If you hadn't become a skier...
I'd be a figure skater! My dream has always been to do both sports at professional level. But they are very different; the feeling of skating on a two-millimetre thin blade is completely different from standing on skis. Your physique also has to be different: for skiing you need muscles and a certain weight, while for figure skating it helps to be slim. On the other hand, both sports require a similar sense of rhythm.

Do you listen to music while skiing?
Always. I've listened to 60,000 minutes of music on Spotify. (laughs) Music helps me get flowing, I can focus better with it. It's like I'm flying, just the snow and me and nothing else. But I also let music play in the background, even when I'm inspecting a run or in the hospitality tent.

Spotify or Netflix?
Both! I could lie on my bed for days and watch Netflix series. But it depends how I feel, there are moments when I prefer to read. Then I get tired of that and I watch a film or play the piano or start drawing, even though I can't draw. (laughs)

Isn't that all a bit much?
Life is short - and I want to do a billion things.

What does freedom mean to you?
To do what I want. And have fun doing it.

Where do you see yourself in twenty years?
For skiers too, life goes on after retirement, and I'm sure a lot of doors will open then. I would like to live somewhere else and travel more then ever. But I will certainly stay connected to skiing in some way or another. After all, I was born on the first snowfall in November, so snow is my element!

Lara Colturi is a "predestinata" as they say in Italian. Her mother Daniela Ceccarelli was a champion racing skier and won Olympic gold in the 2002 Super-G. Lara follows her every step of the way and at the age of 16 is already competing with big names in the Ski World Cup. She trains regularly in St. Moritz, where she has the High Altitude Training Base infrastructure at her disposal.

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