Wait, Arianna Tricomi is only 26 years old, and she’s already a veteran? With a world title and a win at the 2018 Xtreme Verbier under her belt, the Italian freeride skier knows a thing or two about competing on the world circuit. This year, she’s off to huge start, sitting at the top of the rankings after four competitions. Will she have what it takes to keep her crown?
I first met Tricomi while covering the Kicking Horse Freeride World Tour event. She had just been in Japan skiing the deepest pow of her life, but forget resting, she wanted nothing more than to shred some laps. After spinning a few runs during the long waiting period before the competition, watching her execute effortless pow turns down Kicking Horse’s trademark gullies and pillow fields, we hung out in the lodge doing the most European thing imaginable – eating pastries and sipping Cappuccinos.
Sitting and chatting amongst her fellow FWT competitors from all over the world, Tricomi broke in and out of English, German, Spanish and Italian depending on who she was talking to. Whether it was saying hi to Markus Eder, Jackie Paaso, Aymar Navarro, Elizabeth Gerritzen, or any one of her international friends, the family vibe that permeates the Tour was evident. For Tricomi, skiing is clearly about nothing more than hanging out with friends, and the fact that she gets to call the best skiers and snowboarders in the world among her closest is something she feels lucky for.
Tricomi's highlights from the 2019 FWT season. FWT photos.
Skiing is obviously in your blood, how did growing up in a family of skiers shape who you have become today?
Well, my mom is a skier and competed in World Cups and in the Olympics, but my dad is from Sicily and my mom's grandpa from Napoli, so I'm actually from the southern part of Italy. I was lucky enough to grow up in the beautiful Dolomites though and started skiing when I was three years old. My mom showed me all the aspects of skiing - telemark, powder, skinning up - but never forced me to do anything. I did 10 years of alpine racing, four years of slopestyle and now here I am, somewhere off-piste. I'm so happy I found my way and skiing is my biggest passion and it just keeps on growing.
How’s the season so far? Are you nervous about protecting your overall title?
It’s probably the best season I had so far. We had the biggest storm of all time in Austria and I got to ski so much pow just before flying to Japan and Canada. In Canada I had the chance to visit "The Blondes" and we went sledding and skied mini pillows, I was so incredibly stoked to have the possibility to do that.
I mean, what is an overall title? Of course, I would be so happy to win again but since it's a sport with judges I don't want to depend on that. I'm so happy with the way I'm progressing as a skier and I know that my style doesn't always fit the judging criteria so no, I'm not nervous, I just want to ski in the best possible way down the Bec de Rosses in Verbier.
You’re known for not really training to ski – can you tell us why you’d rather just ski you’re your friends than spend time in the gym?
Skiing makes you a better skier, not the gym. It's not true I don't train at all, I actually studied physiotherapy and I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do to be fit. The only time I spend in the gym is in fall for a little bit, especially to work on my core. Otherwise I'm biking and hiking lots and just try to feel good, do things that make me feel good, stay active and also work on my mind. I love to spend time in nature and I’d rather climb a tree or ski with my homies then do boring squats!
Innsbruck seems to be the hub of freeride in the Alps these days, can you speak to that community?
Innsbruck is so awesome. I moved to study there at the University and then realized I found my place for life. We have super nice mountains with fast and easy access and a wonderful community of motivated people that like to be outdoors and stay active. The city is small enough to be easy to bike around and from my door I can easily go biking or hiking and reach impressive mountains. Just perfect. Of course the party scene is not bad at all either!
What has been your favorite venue on the Tour?
I loved Japan this year, it’s a super playful venue with so many options for tricks and transfers and most importantly, deep pow. I love pow and will always try to ski pow if possible. I also love Andorra; the terrain fits my style a lot and it´s pretty playful too. And, of course, I wish I could go back to Alaska. That remains the highlight for me! I still remember when I was standing at the starting gate and couldn't believe how lucky I was to be there and have this infinite playground in front of me.
Whether it's ripping the steeps of Alaska, or standing atop the podium in Verbier, Tricomi's career is chock full of highlights. FWT photos.
Unlike a lot of the other female skiers, you’re putting lots of tricks into your runs, what’s your strategy?
I don't have a real strategy, one thing is to keep it simple and enjoy the ride. I wouldn't really call myself a freerider either because I don't really look at big mountain lines. For me, it’s more about if I could do a trick off a cliff somewhere, do grabs, surf, and try to look good on my skis. Some guys that I look up are those from Big Picture. If I could choose, I would definitely want to do cork 7s off big cliffs and butters in pow!
Favorite line or zone you ever skied?
As I said, the Alaskan line was pretty rad. I love the Dolomites when they are filled with snow and Tirol where I live has some super good terrain. I feel like every place I have travelled to has some special lines or zones.
As a reigning champion at a pretty young age, do you have any advice for the next generation?
Ski as much as possible in all conditions! Don't call yourselves freeriders, just be skiers! Respect the mountains and take avalanche safety courses. Be ready to step back if conditions are not good. For those who want to enter freeride competitions at a young age, don't get upset by points and judging, just remember to ski and have your own personal style. Nobody can tell you how to ride a mountain, it's your personal interpretation that makes this sport so special!