Núria Pau, a snow worker

  • The Ribes de Freser skier competes in the Cortina d’Ampezzo World Championship, which begins next week.

  • She will be the only representative of the women’s team and has been competing individually for a year after leaving the official Spanish team.

  • She lives in Italy, she travels by car to the races, fixes the boards, must manage the procedures to compete and even find laboratories for PCR tests.

The Limone white reserve, in the Piedmont mountains, is whiter than ever because, like all the ski resorts spread over much of the European geography, they are closed to the public and suffering from the coronavirus crisis. Only elite athletes such as Núria Pau, Who this week has achieved in another winter enclave, in Krvacec (Slovenia), the classification to participate in the 2021 Ski World Cup, which begins on Monday in Cortina d’Ampezzo. She will be the only Spanish representative in the women’s team, so successful in the past.

But the times that are worth are the current ones. A year ago, in full confinement, the relationship between Núria Pau and the Spanish ski team to become what could be called a snow worker. He went to live in Limone, because there he found accommodation in the ski equipment of the Italian resort. So many and so many times alone, hers is a struggle to find sponsorship. “Skiing is a very expensive sport, especially for travel,” he says.

But also to join the races, get the skis ready, compete without a physiotherapist by your side and almost always, also, without a coach. A fight alone, with perseverance, hunting for a good position in the European Cup and trying to enjoy some World Cup events alongside the authentic Austrian, Swiss, French or Italian off-series.

For example, this week you had to drive from Limone to Krvacec with half a dozen skis and everything you need to get them ready. “Sometimes after training I spend more than an hour conditioning the boards,” he explains. But there is more, much more to do when you finish a training or a competition. “I have to look for myself, except when I compete in the World Cup, laboratories where to carry out PCR or antigen tests, depending on what is requested, because in each place the regulations change. I have to pay for PCRs out of my pocket, so expensive as in Spain. And many times locating a laboratory is not easy. In some, they only allow tests to be carried out by those in the country. You have to combine the schedules with the training sessions and meet the days of entry or exit to a specific country for the test be valid “.

A year-long course

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Anyone who thinks that skiing professionally is only going up a ski lift and going down a thousand times on the same track is completely wrong. “I am living the best season of my career (he is 26 years old) where I have even achieved a top 10 in the European Cup. But skiing is being all year round, traveling to the glaciers of the Alps in summer and before the pandemic to South America, to the stations of Argentina or Chile. And if not, training in the gym, on a road or mountain bike, running on the trails. Summer is the season to strengthen the muscles and improve physical fitness. And, also, As the alpine slopes are very high in summer, you can’t stay long because of the altitude. You have to fight. You have to spend many days away from home. “

Therefore it is not easy. “In addition, the covid complicates everything.” Gone are the years when I went from Ribes de Freser to Núria, titles as best Spanish skier. But she does not lose love for her sport and the competition to enjoy on February 18 at the Cortina d’Ampezzo giant with the desire to return to the Spanish team as a true snow worker.

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