“2020, with the end of last season and the beginning of the new one, has certainly been a tough year, a year where we have learned the true meaning of being a team. Seeing the mountains and the slopes so empty is a blow to the heart. If you notice carefully, outside, you can only hear the sound of the wind ”.
He is Daniele Herin, the operational manager of the Cervino Ski Paradise in Breuil-Cervinia, a fraction of the municipality of Valtournenche (AO), on the Italian slopes of Matterhorn. On the other side of the mountain, in Switzerland, there is Zermatt. Together, the two ski areas boast 331km of passable slopes, becoming one of the largest complexes in Europe.
For years the cities have been divided by the mountains, but united by winter sports enthusiasts and professionals. In 2020, however, the Covid-19 pandemic broke the balance: on the Swiss side, almost nothing has changed except a lower turnout and the introduction of strict rules to avoid the spread of the virus. From the Italian one, however, the lifts have been closed to tourism and the only constant presence is that of snowcats, the vehicles that redesign all the slopes every day, working for months for no one.
In this historical period, in which there are no universal political directives, each State is authorized to make decisions on its own, independently of the neighboring States. The places closest to national borders are affected the most: Breuil-Cervinia and Zermatt thus become the example of a surreal “new normal”, in which a few tens of meters away determines truly opposite fates. The directives of the Italian government prohibit skiing, but allow the opening of shelters and restaurants to passers-by. In Switzerland it is possible to ski, but you can only eat takeaway and off the premises. In both parts there are hundreds of people who work for the mountains every day, however only some of them do it with the knowledge that they are using their time for someone. Presence and emptiness, noise and echo: this is the life around Matterhorn.
“The Breath Of The Wind” is a work of documentation of the new normal during the winter holidays. It aims to emphasize how, due to various measures taken by the governments of two neighboring Nations, at a distance of a few kilometers, real absurdities can occur. Thus from the indefinite shouting of man, we pass to the constant whisper of the wind, which at high altitudes almost never fails.
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