By Gabriele Pezzaglia - Race Ski Magazine
Land of competitive spirit, cradle of talents, expression of champions: welcome to Alta Badia, which today is more than ever experiencing another magical moment, with its boys and girls joining the national ski teams, eager and ready to take on major international competitions. Young people have grown up on the Ladin snow, thanks to the highly professional but never exhausting work of the territory. At the forefront of the young blue lions, we find Hannes Zingerle from La Ila. Born in 95, he is the Italian giant slalom champion, a title he won last March in Cortina d'Ampezzo. A triumph that had him rightfully join the ranks of young promises of world skiing, defending the colours of the carabinieri, also thanks to a certainly positive season in the European Cup. Hannes won the European Cup giant of Kranjska Gora on the challenging Podkoren slope; now, the World Cup's stage awaits him. And already at the top series, the premier-league skiing for would-be champions: the rising giant slalom skier will be one of among the key members national team for the legendary appointment between the wide gates right on the home snows of his Gran Risa. Hannes represents Alta Badia embodying its spirit: regular, steady, measured, and balanced growth without boasting. A path to the top, controlled and calculated, which arises from work, commitment and dedication. His homeland has achieved important goals this way, raising itself to world-class excellence. As for Hannes, he is well on his way to make a mark in world-class competitive skiing, where he ventures with absolute dedication. This will be a major season for him: if not as his final confirmation as a world-class skier, surely as a further and decisive step towards that goal. Alex Zingerle, Hannes' older brother, born in 1992, is a great example for other athletes. He shows a very promising list of achievements. In the World Cup, further to his five participations on the Gran Risa, he boasts an 18th and 19th place. Alex is an example not only in terms of results, but above all of dedication and unyielding commitment. As a child, he pursued his dreams with the utmost humility; today, he is still doing his best to turn those dreams, born on his first days on skis admiring the legendary Gran Risa, into reality.
In the national youth team, we also find Matteo Canins from San Ciascian. Also born in 98, he stays for now with the national youth team: Matteo, a gritty, never-say-die competitor, will presumably have a dual competition arena for the third year in a row. The financier will try to snatch some European Cup calls, always keeping an eye on the Italian races to lower the score and continue to gain experience. He belongs to a really strong team, a youth team in which the Italian Winter Sports Federation has heavily invested; in fact, the entire team was shipped to Ushuaia, Argentina last summer for a long training session. Manuel Ploner from San Ciascian is also part of this group. Young, very young - born just in 2001! He joined the Italian team at the end of the second year as one of the "aspiranti" (candidates). Last winter, Ploner was the most interesting young Italian: he showed off in the Italian Grand Prix, dominating various competitions and demonstrating an impressive solidity for a beginner. But Ploner does not get scared easily: he is driven by an unmatched eagerness to grow, an innate determination, and tons of talent. He can already showcase major trophies like the silver he won at the giant slalom of the European Youth Olympic Festival - so much potential! With a relatively tall yet compact figure, he has been focusing on slalom for now, but feels certainly ready -as usual in modern skiing - to tackle the double discipline. In short, a team of youngsters in search of glory, still under development but with a single purpose: to become competitive at World Cup level and do so by winning on the Gran Risa. Their Gran Risa, in fact. Come on, warriors!