Manuel Pietropoli, the golden kid.

Manuel Pietropoli was plainly born with the bindings strapped to his feet. As his parents have always been  true mountain lovers, since he was 6 years-old he’s been spending his life on the mountains. It doesn’t  take so much to understand that Manuel has a gift, magical legs making him go higher than anybody else, to the place where only a few Italians have been before. Guess where? We talk about the professional snowboard wahalla.

Hello Manuel, what are you doin’ right now?
I’m in Saas Fee (Switzerland) training for the season, ‘cause during this summer I found bad weather in NZ for almost for the whole month I spent there.

Generally speaking, what do you do when you don’t have the board under your feet?
During the rare time I spend at home I like riding my dirt bike and motard, right to keep the adrenaline factor high..

Before snowboarding, what kept your time and mind busy?
Before I met snowboarding when I was 6, I honestly can’t remember what kept my mind busy….probably I enjoyed riding my bike and  getting in trouble with friends, as any kid does.

Just stealin’ candies Ph.Olaf Pignataro

And after snowboarding, what will there be?
As my riding career will be over, I will surely try to stay in the snowboard biz, maybe as a coach or a  team manager, or again as an event organizer .. who knows? The only thing I know is that I will never definitively leave snowboarding for sure.

In your extremely dizzy growth as a rider, have you ever realized or simply thought you would have become the Italian snowboarding ambassador?
Not indeed, to tell the truth.  I began with my father for fun, but at 7 Y.O.  I would have  never imagined to hit all targets I actually got, such as Bardonecchia 2008, the spot at the Olympics as  Italian youngest Athlete and many other satisfactions.

You’re on the scene from a long time, do you think your parents played a crucial role in your career?
My parents are the people I gotta thank more than anybody else, if I’m here now; they took me all over Europe for years,  was it for a contest or a training session. I have a bit of talent, but without them I would have never made it.

We noticed that your parents are often with you, and sometime they’re even more amped than you. Do they ever overrun your privacy, now that you’re almost a man? Or you eventually magically balanced the roles?
My parents always followed me and I hope they will keep on doin’ it, ‘cause their support is basic for me. Nevertheless, they know very well where my private space is and when they have to let me go.

Still talkin’ about your family, we suppose someone could have possibly said something like “If I got parents like him, I would be a champion  too!” We personally believe that the support from your parents surely helped your career, but the level you reached is the result of  talent combined with struggle…here is your defamer answers corner!
Well…there’s not much more to say. My parents always believed in me and in my commitment, they took me here and there, they got this never- ending passion for the mountain, but If I hadn’t had some kind of talent their sacrifices wouldn’t have helped me reachin’ my goals.

Launched! Ph.Olaf Pignataro

Talkin’ about your snowboard seniority, such a young kid running from a mountain to the other to compete, train, compete again and shoot like you, has he ever desired anything different, like pimping his scooter or clubbing with friends and stuff? Never had any regret?
It has been quite natural to me, on the contrary I gotta say I seldom suffered for leaving my home due to snowboard affairs. Besides, I can party with my snowboard friends while I’m far from home, and when I come back home  at the end of the snowboarding season, I always cut out some time to meet my longtime friends and enjoy the simplest thing to do with them…

How did you feel when Terje (Haakonsen) invited you to the arctic challenge?
I remember that call like it was yesterday. I was in Davos for the O’Neill Evolution where I had set the air height record, ‘till Longo (Arthur) beat me for 10 centimeters to the finals. Then Terje came and ate us all going 50 centimeters higher, after what he came to me, paid me compliments and gave me the invitation.

Tell us how a normal Manuel’s snowboard season is …
Generally it never ends, ‘cause also during the summer I always get to 2Alpes and NZ to train. Just from June to July or between September and October I try to cut out some time for staying at home. Then, in October I leave again to train on glaciers and in November the world cup begins. It goes like that  ‘till may, when I go shooting a bit and taking some time to track some pow.

What is killing snowboarding, from your point of view?
I don’t think snowboarding is dying, in my opinion  things are getting better now, indeed. Many resorts finally began believing in snowboarding and created their own park, so now  there are parks everywhere. What’s still missing in Italy are the halfpipes, but I understand why…

Smiley Faces Ph.Olaf Pignataro

Don’t you think it is curios a brand like your sponsor Nike, now reigning on any gravity sport, almost 6 years ago was literally banned from this kind of business?
I simply think  they realized  that the world of gravity sports was getting more mainstream and made efforts to gain reliability at the right moment. Then, who can pump up those sports, if not Nike?

Ok Manuel, now the last two “light” questions. “Someone” asked me to forward you this one: What did Danny Kass tell you before driving up to Wanaka slopes with his van?
It was awesome! I was in the Wanaka parking lot tightening my boot when he came up with this old van with snow chains on. After some questions about Giacomo Kratter and stuff like this he asked me: Where do you think I can get with this van? I answered randomly “I think you could get to the pipe”. So he left .. It was really unbelievable…

Another question from a third: why only 87th at the NZ Open?
I got some serious jet lag issues, so I lost my concentration, and after a dizziness while landing a fs7 I preferred dropping out to avoid any possible injury.

Thank you very much for your time Manuel, we wish you a successful crowded 2010 season, any last thanx or bye?
Sure, I gotta say a never-ending thank you to my parents, they did so much for me, to my sponsors and my coach who  keeps on believing in me, and last but not least to everyone I know! Cheers.