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WC diaries

MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO:
THE TRINITY OF THE WHITE CIRCUS

Words: Matteo Viotto - Photos: Pentaphoto

According to popular belief the cabal is mere superstition, a fanatical doctrine that claims to glimpse a deeper meaning in numbers, an influence capable of modifying the reality that surrounds us.

In the world of sport, these thoughts assume a different relevance. Athletes have always been victims of superstitious habits and auspicious rituals. It is the paradoxical nature of out-of-the-ordinary human beings, who recognize a scent of rationality in madness.

The documents attesting the birth of Madonna di Campiglio date back to 1190, when Raimondo, searching redemption from his sins, decided to found a monastery, offering shelter to travelers. A place, the one enclosed between Val di Sole and Valle Giudicarie, which grows its roots between the sacred and the profane, prospecting the chance of atonement and catharsis.

Coincidences want the union between spirituality and earthly passions to be synthesized in the number 3, identified by many as perfection. Thus, the battlefield on which the best skiers in the world immolate themselves is nothing more than the resounding concept of perfection.
3-Tre, because the victory doesn't allow any margin of error.

The narrow, white tongue, designed in 1940 by a mountaineer who responds to the name of Bruno Detassis, also known as "Il Signore del Brenta", inspires fear. The final stretch is the well-known Canalone Miramonti, which opens the doors to the stands crowded with fans, rushing in a desperate attempt to infuse some energy into the tired legs of their idol, right before the finish line.

On the occasion of one of the the most awaited night race of the year, the unmissable event repaints the white snow in red and blue, in a forest of poles few will be able to untangle.

Succeding takes concentration and scrupulous meticulousness, especially towards the crucial points of the track. The details, which usually make the difference, can be identified through images in which athletes choose the best lens for their goggles, because night races require particular gradations to cope with unusual light condition.

The 3-Tre is an ugly beast to tame, carrying some of the most nasty traps of tracing. In the initial stretch, which seems flat for athletes of that caliber, the shouts of encouragement from the coaches echo, urging their favorites to "pull", as they say in slang. They must try to build some speed, to tackle the challenge of sinuous changes in slope. The first one is manageable, as the muscular freshness still allows to recover from an inaccurate trajectory, but when the track turns towards the Canalone Miramonti, a new race begins.

The view doesn't help, the finish line seems close and you feel the warmth of the crowd, but truly its distant mirage. A mirage that shatters against what can be defined as the most difficult stage of the race: “The Wall of the Knee”, the steepest point, whose name reveals the difficulty the athletes will have to face.

The dive into the void requires firm and precise feet, angles become more acute and the inclinations reach unimaginable levels. The final stretch is a succession of adrenalinic changes of direction, a movie poster of the folklore of the White Circus, which accompanies the athlete to the red line.

One day before the winter solstice, the sun has already set.
The number three, once again, is a recurring theme.

For some athletes it will be late at night, especially if they have not achieved to compete in the second heat, placing themselves among the top 30.
Few will see the light, and will be able to taste the sweet flavor of the podium.
Because once the curtain falls, ironically, there will only be 3 left.
3-Three, is a hellish dance that takes no prisoners and admits only a select few to the Olympus of the special slalom, mother of technical disciplines.

Even the pub closest to the Audi Ski Stadium, where the public stands, seems like a prophetic warning to athletes who are about to take the chairlift. The Hugnry Wolf, is a fixed stop to sip a good mug of beer or some wine, looking for a little warmth and the right flame to heat your soul before the fight. A sign that reflects the steep slopes of the Canalone Miramonti, which soon after will solemnly decree winners and losers.

At the end of the show, an already satisfied and cheering crowd heads towards the nightlife areas of Madonna di Campiglio, its narrow streets teeming with clubs and bars.

Nothing is missing in this magical location. The most persistent fans will be able to continue the evening at Piano 54, a place of worship for the nightlife of Madonna di Campiglio, where the after party following the race is almost officially held. You keep breathing the White Circus in its fullness, although the faces are more relaxed, attempting a few dance steps alongside the athletes, who deservedly enjoy a few free hours, before stepping back on the convoy.

The time has come to go home, the spotlights that illuminated the 3-Tre have almost obscured the glittering Christmas lights that adorn every corner of Madonna di Campiglio, and remind us that the interminable family dinners are closer than ever.

Some are in a hurry to return, others use the morning to find the right gift to put under the tree, with the only certainty of having something more to tell about the legendary 3-Tre.

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