Lou – Presentation in Italy

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 1, 2012      

This is kind of scary, but I’m going for it. Turin chapter of Italian Alpine Club, Ski Touring School, asked me a while ago if I could get there somehow and do a presentation on backcountry skiing in North America. The idea intrigued me, I mean, it would be a hoot to show those guys slides of pickup trucks, snowmobiles and wall-of-death skin tracks.

In truth, I’ve never had much flow with public speaking. Getting up in front of an audience is always difficult. In my early days, I got stage fright so bad I could barely function. I got over that by experience, but tinges of the old anxiety still color the experience and reduce motivation.

So, I hemmed and hawed a bit about doing this, but the opportunity for meeting wonderful backcountry ski people, cultural enlightenment, and blog fodder is too good to pass up. Lord willing, the evening of February 23 I’ll be in Turin, Italy, sharing cowboy skier philosophy. I’ve already gotten some messages from Italian blog readers who are coming. Plan is to do some ski touring out of there for a few days before or after the event. Anyone know the Italian hand gestures for “I ate too much last night, where is the snowmobile?”

The event is at the Monte dei cauppucini. I think that means something like “coffee shop on the mountain with perfect espresso?” Guess I’d better fire up the phrase translator.

Italian info here: http://www.sucai.it/


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28 Responses to “Lou – Presentation in Italy”

  1. Massimo February 1st, 2012 8:51 am

    In Italian language, similar words mean so different things.. in this case, “Cappuccini” isn’t related to our passion for espresso and milk, but to a congregation of monks that had lived in this monastery on this hill above Turin city center and used wearing a long dress that cover their heads by a hood (“cappuccio” in Italian)…
    take care: In Italy you’re judged of blasphemy step by step. 😉
    Beyond all this, I don’t know the origin of the cappuccino beverage…

    My advice: take some time to go to the “Museum of Mountain”, on the Monte dei Cappuccini… well worth a visit!


    se you there, Lou!

  2. Hojo February 1st, 2012 9:17 am

    Hell, I want to see those slides.

  3. naginalf February 1st, 2012 9:19 am

    Vids or it doesn’t happen.

  4. Mark W February 1st, 2012 10:16 am

    Have fun with it, Lou. Touring in Italy too. Nice.

  5. Lou February 1st, 2012 10:44 am

    I asked what the dress code was for the presentation, they said cappuccio, now I know what they mean. (grin)

  6. Tom Gos February 1st, 2012 11:21 am

    Lou, you’re going to have to wear a cowboy hat and one of those fringed leather jackets, or maybe a buffalo hide parka.

  7. Maki February 1st, 2012 11:25 am

    You typed “snowmobile” two times in three or four sentences… Just that you know, snowmobiles don’t get much love around here. Actually in Piemonte (Turin’s region) they are forbidden with very few exceptions and the Italian Alpin Club has always been in the first line when fighting against. I’d toss those slides…

  8. Hojo February 1st, 2012 11:28 am

    In honor of the western stereotypes, you could show this example from mtnbuzz (though this is for snowmobiling, not a skiing): http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f17/whats-in-your-pack-28122.html#post166009

  9. afox February 1st, 2012 11:30 am

    Join Toastmasters…

  10. Julian February 1st, 2012 12:00 pm

    Lou, relax about the presentation, they’ll probably be an interpreter for the older members of the audience, so you’ll have plenty of time not to fluff your lines 😉

  11. Drew February 1st, 2012 12:19 pm


    You are going to kill it because you are authentic. I hate public speaking but my job requires it.

    Practice your presentation – even in front of a mirror.
    Do some light exercise
    Try to check out the room beforehand
    Greet some people as they come in and make some connections
    Gesture with your hands (works for me and the Italians will appreciate)
    Focus on cadence, not content.

    You are the real deal…not a poseur! My public speaking journeys normally begin with self loathing (leading up) and end with elation. I predict success followed by many a congratulatory cocktail and plans for Dolomite adventures! Enjoy!!

  12. Lou February 1st, 2012 1:11 pm

    Thanks guys! Really special to get some support from the Wildsnowers! Already preparing, I think I’ll break it up into a series of trip report sort of things, that cover the gamut of what we do in the USofA… perhaps Trooper Traverse, road trip in PNW, Denali…. Portahut, stuff like that. A little humorous auto bio stuff should work too.

  13. Dan February 1st, 2012 1:14 pm

    Just before your presentation, try a cup of caffe corretto(sp?). That will set you on the right path. BTW: The Italians that I know are not shy about contentious issues. Also, many Europeans have a somewhat fuzzy idea of our “wilderness” areas/access. Airing some aspects of North American access issues might be interesting to your audience. Of course, lots of folks just want to know where to get the “goods”. Have a great trip and good luck (with the snow conditions). Almost forgot: The few times I have been hut skiing in Europe, I was surprised to find so many skiers who followed ” Wildsnow” regularly.

  14. Tom Gos February 1st, 2012 2:32 pm

    The Euros might also be interested in how “sidecountry” skiing works in the United States as it is so much different than in Europe – you know, resort boundaries, backcountry access gates, liability, rescue, etc.

  15. Eric Steig February 1st, 2012 3:38 pm

    Have fun Lou. Public speaking is always a bit nervewracking, but it helps a lot when you really know your stuff, and you certainly do. On the other hand I’m giving a talk on Friday to some Norwegian Heritage group about Amundsen, skiing, and the trip to the South Pole, nearly exactly 100 years ago. I know the science, but not the history very well. We’ll see how it goes…

  16. Frank K February 1st, 2012 3:59 pm

    Glad we gave you some public speaking practice last summer, Lou! You’ll do great and have a blast, too, I bet.

  17. Paolo February 1st, 2012 4:46 pm


    sure I’m going to listen to you and to bring my precious and rare (in Italy) copy of your book “wildsnow” for a signature!

    I suppose your agenda is full but if you want fellows for a ski tour before or after the conference it would be a pleasure for me.

    see you


  18. David B February 1st, 2012 6:25 pm

    Lou, you’re talking about something you love. Don’t over complicate it. Just have a couple of key points to follow and the content will take care of itself.

    Imagine you are around a camp fire talking about the places you love to ski. I’m sure you’ve done that a few times.


  19. Lou February 1st, 2012 6:29 pm

    Great tip David, thanks! I tend to try and make the technology make up for my timidity, but it never works that way…

  20. Jean Vives February 1st, 2012 7:59 pm

    Hey Lou, Don’t forget to mention The Colorado Haute Route between Vail and Winter Park skied by Jean Vives and Charlie Gray in 1995. The only multi day
    ski tour connecting several of Colorado’s major resorts done in 7 days, 62 miles with 19,000 ft of ascent and 24,000 of descent. Not to mention the Colorado Super Tour from Winter Park to Crested Butte completed by Patrick Griffin and Jean Vives in 1986 and again 1996. 170 miles on AT Gear!!

    I think the Europeans would be interested in these tours especially the Colorado Haute Route which would be very attractive to Euro Randonneer’s.

  21. Jean Vives February 1st, 2012 8:04 pm

    Oh yea, don’t forget to mention the only American ski touring
    book with a European Title : “Ski Randonnee!” by Jean Vives-
    they might be amazed.

  22. Mike February 2nd, 2012 7:00 am

    And I’d also put in a plug for us EC’ers. low altitude, tight trees, ice, all the good stuff.

  23. Jack February 2nd, 2012 7:53 am

    Lou, RE: nervousness speaking. Here is a trick. Speak about your nervousness right up front. Tell the audience that you are a dedicated skier not a public speaker and ask them to forgive any awkwardness or gaps, or whatever you fear may appear. This gets the audience on your side, starts you off speaking honestly, and depowers the internal part of you that is nervous. It works!

  24. Federico February 2nd, 2012 8:11 am

    HAHAHA, great! you will have fun for sure, great mountains to ski over there 😉

    For the presentation use my technique Lou, just invent a lot of BS, put them together and make a speech out of it. It works 😉

  25. Bruno February 2nd, 2012 9:37 am

    Just don’t drink too much Grappa – that stuff is better used as fuel for your two stroker.

  26. Lou February 2nd, 2012 10:03 am

    Thanks Bruno, I’m on the minimal drinking program almost always! Had my party days, would rather feel healthy and strong, especially when traveling in unfamiliar environments…

  27. Glenn February 2nd, 2012 8:00 pm

    Be sure and mention the ski mountaineering races such as the Elk Mointain traverse and the power of four. We need something like the Inferno triathlon in Murren CH!

  28. Daniel February 3rd, 2012 9:05 am

    You’ll do great Lou, wish I could be there. Love Italy and Italians!

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