Day five of the 2021 Cortina World Championships, presented by Telepass, and the perfect word to talk about today is silence.
A high altitude silence, crystallized in the snow and in sheets of ice gifted by the freezing night thermometer in Cortina, with temperatures dropping as far as 15 below zero.

The polar winter has arrived, which almost seems to have grabbed the words of our girls, Italy’s Brignone and Bassino, disappointed yesterday, disappointed by yesterday, who said they hoped that ice would soon replace snow on the track and give them the fierce terrain under their skis they need for the giant slalom curves they both have in their sights.

But before the giant, before anything else, there will be the wild power of the Downhill, which will be the protagonist this weekend. Like a queen on the red carpet, she is always given full attention on Saturdays and Sundays dedicated to the family.

Long lunches, metropolitan brunches, the alarm clock that rings later than usual, breakfast at the bar, mass for some and excursions for others, or even football, and then for everyone, without exception, the Cortina 2021 World Championships Downhill.

Pieces of history, moments of legend that unite us in the shared chorus of: “I was there too! I remember it!”.

Nothing can make one jump from a chair, sofa, or stool quite like a Downhill, it is the stuffed turkey at Thanksgiving, not the icing on the cake, it is the cake itself.

The Downhill is always the most anticipated moment in a great competition, the one to be experienced at the edge of your chair with shocks going through the body every time a ski hits the frozen ground, for every trajectory that seems a strange line, or for every turn that seems at the limit of what is humanly possible.

Each jump is either too high or too low, each landing is too disjointed or perfect, each line drawn from top to bottom seems to tell us, in a dual play between conservation and adventure, of the way athletes approach life, not only sport.

We will miss the exuberant technical exaggerations of Sofia Goggia, it is useless to pretend otherwise, she was the favourite, not only the obligatory favourite but also the heartfelt favourite and she will not be here in Cortina.

And if the skier becomes artist, even her pictorial alter ego, Lucio Fontana, will be missed as much as she is. Born in that South America that Sofia loves so much for summer preparation, but as Italian as her; and to unite them, the “Tagli”- slashes.

Real slashes of the canvas and the snow that destroy the space in which everyone else lives and reinvent the shape with the primordial instinct to break it. Innovation, discovery, a decision that almost makes you nervous because it is free and independent.

Having lost the most prestigious Italian signature, there will be many other artists ready at the start gate during the weekend of World Championships speed, with their own set of expectations and style, and each with their own personal study of perspective.

There will be two Swiss athletes, a male and a female, whose sweet lines recall the harmonic and soft brushstrokes of Botero.

Not for their shapes, for heaven’s sake, but for the naturalness with which they know how to tame frightening curves, under their delicate feet, transforming the empty the slope into a ballet on skis.

Corinne Suter, who won a medal yesterday, has her eyes firmly set on victory tomorrow, and Beat Feuz, perhaps the best kept secret of the entire White Circuit: pure, good, sincere. You don’t really know why, but his smile is almost hypnotic, it inspires sympathy, and if the light is green when he reaches the bottom of the track tomorrow, nobody will mind, not even the neutrals.

Over the weekend, the modern art gallery will be full-bodied and well lit, according to the forecast.

Ester Ledecka will do the Picasso, bringing us her usual dose of unpredictable geometric fantasy, in a game of ideas and space from which you never know what to expect. Will it be a triumph or a piece whose beauty we will understand twenty years from now?

Breezy Johnson, on the other hand, is the Andy Warhol of skiing. American, exuberant, the daughter of a pop culture that takes colour and gives it shine and warmth, in the continuous repetition of cult images. Born in 1996, she dons mirrored glasses worthy of the master of Pop Art with a growing trend towards the more glamorous stage.

The surprise tomorrow might well be her.

In the men’s field, there is no shortage of contenders for art collectors, starting with Dominik Paris, a strong name for the bookmakers and also for us romantics, whose style reminds us of Gaudì, not to be confused with Dalì. Gaudì, that Gaudì who imagined the Sagrada Familia, in a game of spiers and edges that escapes in all its inaccessible verticality. Domme skis like this, direct and off the cliff of the world.

Finally, pay attention to the most mature of all, Frenchman Johan Clarey, whose lines we compare to the great Giotto – illustrious predecessor of all the aforementioned masters – not so much for his long experience, he will see his 40th spring this year, but rather because his canvases tell of a clean, geometric style, with a perfect perspective, like that of the tricolor genius who invented the vanishing point.

Corridors are set up, lights are studied and general rehearsals are held for the art gallery of the descent.

The word of the day, we said, is silence, because today the Downhill artists are up at the top, to complete the final touches of the works that over the weekend will bring glory or criticism, prizes or disappointments.

As in a game of hide-and-seek, in which pleasure is derived partly from not being found and partly from being found in order revel in the genius of one’s hiding place, today painters and architects of the snow will scrutinise each other, while trying lines and curves, spaces, jumps and compressions.

Peering at each other, but keeping the final brushstroke under lock and key.

My name is Jacopo Pozzi and in town today there is the silence of a game of hide-and-seek, that white noise that you breathe while walking in a museum, which is not really silence at all, but more than anything a murmur of anticipation and impatience. The weekend of the queens is coming, the Downhill races are coming.

“The Championships Diary – Day 5”: the emotions and the best moments of the day told by Jacopo Pozzi, pen of The Owl Post, on the Cortina 2021 social media and app. Powered by Telepass