This new plan involved the creation of a ski and snowboard school and the opening of a physical space, a location that would also become a venue for events and for (rep)presenting Preskige in the heart of Sestriere.
“The school is vital to intercept new ski instructors, as many were not available or could not open a VAT number to work as freelancers. The school needed to have a proper location”, and that’s exactly where we are sitting now for our interview. It has been open since October 2019, in the space which was formerly a beautician’s shop. The small pedestrian square is the heart of Sestriere, which – at over two thousand metres – is the highest municipality in Italy. Having available a tangible space, as opposed to only a virtual one, also helps Eugenio Marsaglia and his partners enhance commercial and strategic partnerships, such as those with Rossignol for skis, with Kway for sportswear, or with Armani. “The 2019-2020 winter season went well, even though we lost the last month. The ‘Preskige model’ is working, and we are thinking about replicating it with a franchise in other locations. We are also interested in developing other “vertical experiences”, including at sea, such as surfing and kitesurfing” emphasises Eugenio Marsaglia. In winter, meanwhile, clients have a chance to try free riding: going up slopes where there are no lifts using skins, and then skiing back down.

After the interview we go cycling. The e-bike climbs effortlessly on dirt roads and trails. The shock absorbers make jumping easier. “Pedal assistance means you don’t feel the weight of the bike” explains Eugenio’s partner Gianluigi Lozzi, called Gigi: he is a national snowboard instructor and is overseeing the development of Preskige’s e-bike division. The ones we are using are BMC Trailfox AMP Sx One, the top of the range: aluminium frame and almost 25 kilos of weight, which you don’t even feel on the way up, flying into the clouds above Sestriere.

Ski school

The figure of the ski instructor in Italy has been recognised by law since 1991. Ski instructors work through ski schools. Pursuant to article 2 of Italian Law No. 81/91 , )”Framework law for the profession of ski instructor and further provisions on the regulation of the profession of mountain guide”, it is up to the regions to regulate the establishment and recognition of ski schools, following a series of guidelines. The first is that “in principle, each ski school brings together all the instructors operating in a given winter resort”; the second is that regional regulations should favour the concentration of existing ski schools, in order to structure and streamline their activities; and the third is that ski schools must have their own internal regulations which “shall govern, among other things, democratic forms of involvement of individual instructors in the management and organisation of the schools themselves”. Eugenio Marsaglia and Gianluigi Lozzi are, therefore, members of the Preskige Ski and Snowboard School, which can currently rely on some fifteen member instructors.

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