Memento Audere Semper – “Remember to always dare”. The quote from Gabriele d’Annunzio’ poetry graces one of Valentina ” Vale” Vuerich’s arms. Very fittingly.
Vale is a remarkable figure in the international skiing for several reasons each of which warrants a story about her:
– she is one of a very, very few ski servicewomen on the international scene – and, likely, currently the most successful of them all as her personal athlete, Anamarija Lampic just had a fantastic season. We all know that the xcskier’s success is always build on quality of her/ his skis.
– a former athlete herself, Valentina is a lot more than a ski technician. She is a training partner and, judging by amounts of smiles & giggles, one of the close friends to her Team Slovenia athletes.
– finally, Vale is a daughter of Stefano Vuerich ( that you’ve guessed, of course) – the famed ski serviceman of Team Italy at its prime in 1990s and the owner of Vuerich Service in Predazzo.
So, as you could see, there was a lot of ground to cover in our conversation with a 32 year old Italian – and we did. We shall split the resulting interview in two parts, as we do commonly do, here is the Part I:
‐I chose to go into ski service thanks to my ex-coach , Ivan Hudac. He was the first person who believed in me and, when he became coach of the Polish team in 2012, I quit my athlete career to become a full-time ski technician.
Ivan knew I cared much about my skis and he bet on my potential – even if my father wasn’t happy about my decision to become a servicewoman at the time!
‐ Before arriving to the Slovenian team, I was working 2 seasons with the Polish national team, a season at the Fischer Nordic , than another season with Austrian natinal team and, finally, 2 seasons with Justyna Kowalczyk.
I don’t know why is it so rare to see a woman in this job, maybe because there is stil a mentality that this is a job for man… but this is not true!!!
On the day of World Cup race me and my colleagues at the Slovenian team would typicallay wake up at around 4 o’ clock in the morning. Especially when it is classic race, we need a lot of time to prepare skis for all the athletes – we are just 3-people service brigade, we need much more time for be ready for test. On the day of the sprint Val di Fiemme last season , the one Ana Lampic would go on winning, I had to start from my home in Predazzo at 3′ 45 ” in the morning and we were at 4.05’ on the tracksg to take snow temperature.
We have a good system worked out in our small service team, everyone knows what he or she has to do and this is an important thing! Everyone could do everything if needed but each has a specific responsibility: for example I’m responsible for choosing preparing for all of the girls’ skis for testing and for racing,
On a race day we generally don’t test too many pair , 4 to 6 maximum, I know our girls’ skis like the back of my hand and when I see the snow, generally I already know which one can be the best!
I test a lot during the training camps and at home, so on race day I’m ready! I have a book were I write all my tests and what I do with all the skis and often I study it so now I know every single pair of skis! It’s our common joke with the girls : we call this book: The Bible 😂.
My record was last year in Lillehammer, was one of first tests in new and cold snow, and I needed to gather as much info about the the girls’ skis as possible – and there were 5 girls in the team that season, So, on that day I went to test 58 pairs of skating skis and did 53km.
Stand by for Part 2 where Vale talks about how the men’s world of ski service technicians treats a woman as well as why her father continues to play such an important role…