An Italian Connection

By Peter-Paul de Meijer, written for The Ski Journal

It had been more than two years ago since I had last spoken to Giovanni. We got in touch after he had seen a photograph that I took through an online platform called Kuvva and requested a printed copy to hang on the wall in his home in Chiavenna, Italy. A simple post scriptum in his confirmation message upon arrival of the print describing our mutual love for skiing is what planted the seed for our collaboration.

At the time Giovanni was running a small yet specialized ski company and produced custom skis in low quantities for or a variety of clients, including world cup athletes.
It was Giovanni’s uncle from his father’s side who almost two decades ago revived Persenico, Italy’s first ski factory, which contributed to the successes of the national team its ‘valanga azzurra’ (blue avalanche) winning streak in the early seventies.

Giovanni had suggested to start a collaboration in which I would be in charge of the photography of the topsheet print and he would take care of the production process of the ski. 

Because all of these conversations took place shortly before our departure to the infamous mountains of Kashmir, India, with an equally infamous lack of stable internet, our plans were postponed.
For no apparent reason the project is delayed for over two years. Giovanni informs me that he stopped producing skis but that the factory itself was taken over by his cousin Mario, Franco’s son, whom has steadily increased the production capacity of the factory to 7000 pairs of skis per year.

And so Mario and myself finally shake hands over a cup of espresso at the end of March of this year (2018). After walking through a corridor that connects his factory to a local fruits and vegetables producer we walk into the production area where we witness the birth of the first 188 ‘Poppy’, an all mountain freeride ski with a bit of top rocker that was hand built in under an hour, but should last for a lot more.

I keep a pair to ski on and one to hang up on the wall at the surgery, the rest is up to Mario.