When you do public speaking on lighter subjects, you’re supposed to keep as much humor flowing as possible. I’m not as good at that as some of the raconteurs of the ski world (Andrew McLean comes to mind), but I always get a few laughs. That is, when the audience understands English. Luckily, most of the folks at my Italian venue got enough of what I was saying to understand the gist, if not even a laugh now and then. Nonetheless, a few times I whipped off one of my humorous stories only to be met with the wall of silence. Talk about humbling.
Ironic thing is that I’ve been trying to become a better public talker and not put so much emphasis on the visuals, yet when go up against a language challenge you need to fall back to your visuals. Seems a new task is always around the corner. At least I’ll not claim my life is boring.
At any rate, my Italian hosts (the Turin ski touring school of the Italian Alpine Club) were incredibly gracious and helpful. Especially Elena Cottini, who went the extra nine yards to help arrange a few ski tours.
And yes, Italians talk. I’m pretty sure the introductions lasted longer than my presentation. Thanks to translator Laura Sgarlanzetta I got the first part since I was sitting in the audience with her and she could translate next to me. For the second part (or was it the third part?) of the intro I sat up front with journalist Linda Cottino with no translator so I just had assume she said good things, even if she did probably exaggerate a bit. Like I say, if nothing else “keep the myth alive!”
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.