Lisa and Gabriele, the call of the mountain
Two ski mountaineering stories that describe an increasingly popular sport
Lisa: the taste of conquest
Lisa Moreschini is twenty years old and grew up in Pejo, in a closed valley between the very tall peaks of Stelvio Park, where she had to make a choice, climb to the top or go down into the valley. So she chose to climb... naturally, 2,000 metres higher, along the slopes of the home of Monte Vioz —a perfect natural gym —where an uncle manages the Mantova mountain hut.
At first, ski mountaineering was a hobby: “Everyone in my family does it”, she explains. But when they signed her up for her first race, which was organised by her uncles, she won first place, and now she is competing in the World Cup.
The struggle of the climb, but also the joy of the descent — Lisa loves all aspects of ski mountaineering, but most of all being immersed in a pristine environment and the taste of victory. “Getting through a mountain pass or reaching a summit is a great motivator”.
Having joined the Italian national team, she has skied on all sides of the Alps, but her home slopes, in the Ortles-Cevedale group, have a special place in her heart. “Very high peaks, where we practise ski mountaineering in spring — from my village, we can put on skis and climb up to almost 3,600 metres. It is a sustainable sport. It doesn't need infrastructure. You can turn on your headlamp and train even in the evening: open spaces, incredible freedom".
Gabriele: the technical skill of the descent
Ski mountaineering is also a family matter for Gabriele Leonardi, 24 years old from Caderzone in Val Rendena, who as a child would go up the mountain with his father, manager of the San Giuliano nell'Adamello mountain hut and who now runs the Brentei mountain hut with other family members, in the heart of the Brenta Alps.
When you are born into a family like this, you can't ignore the call of the mountain. Leonardi preferred high altitude to the football pitches in the valley, but also to the cross-country and alpine ski slopes. “A land where you gauge yourself on your abilities and you can only count on yourself,”, he says.
Now he is competing for the Italy Cup. "In the world of ski mountaineering, I found an environment of authenticity, healthy competitive spirit, where rivalry and ambition have not ruined relationships, as it should be in the mountains. It's a difficult sport, where your achievements are the result of personal commitment and your skills". Just like in life.
And for him too, the environment is of the utmost importance. “Ski mountaineering is exploration. We always train in different places. We reach new heights, in a territory that changes with the seasons and where fatigue is not a burden. Indeed, it becomes pleasurable, just like the immense satisfaction of reaching the finish line".
If during the climb there is the joy of conquest, Gabriele Leonardi still prefers the technical skill of the descent, “also because I'm good at it”, he smiles, ambassador of a sport that is becoming trendier and that in 2026 will become an Olympic event at the Milan-Cortina winter games.
"There is an increasing desire to be in touch with nature”, he explains, “no schedules, not rushing, just with a pair of skis on your feet". There is no point in asking a boy from the mountains which are his favourite slopes because, after skiing all over the world, his heart always returns to the peaks of his home, on the Brenta and Adamello, where his family's mountain huts are.