On skis since she was barely walking, Marta Bassino has hurtled to the top of the sport, notching countless podium visits on the local, regional, national and international levels.
After first stepping into skis when she wasn’t even 2 years old, Marta Bassino grew up whizzing down slopes in her native Northern Italy, perfectly at home on the snow.
“It was always something very natural,” the 27-year-old says of her sport. “When you start so little, it becomes normal. It feels normal.”
Over the years, her talent and hard work catapulted Bassino, a native of Borgo San Dalmazzo in the Piedmont region, to the top echelon of Italian and international women’s skiing.
This season, Bassino finished third overall in her strongest discipline, the giant slalom, in the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. She boasts six World Cup wins in the giant slalom, the most recent in December 2022 in Sestriere, Italy. “It was beautiful to win at home,” she says. “Everyone came, my whole family. Winning in Italy was always a small dream of mine.”
She has earned two gold medals in the World Championships, most recently in the Super G in February in Courchevel/Meribel, France. Her first gold was in parallel skiing in 2021.
“That was an incredible day,” she says of her February win. “I am also happy it was in the Super G because I had been working on this discipline for a few years, and it came after two podium placements in the Super G this season.”
Bassino also has competed in three Olympics, her best result a fifth-place finish in the giant slalom in 2018 in Beijing, China, and has won four Italian national championships, most recently in 2021.
Nowadays, Bassino lives in what used to be her grandparents’ apartment in her hometown. “I like living there. I like coming back home,” she says. “It’s good for me.”
Bassino’s father was a ski instructor and her mother an avid skier. Their three children — Bassino has two brothers — also learned to love the sport. Bassino competed in her first local “baby sprint” race at age 6 and never stopped. She started winning at a young age, racking up trophies at the local level, then regionally and eventually nationally.
She made the Italian C level ski team in 2012, the B level team the following year and finally the A team in 2015.
She earned a gold medal in giant slalom at the Junior World Championships on her 18th birthday in February 2014, which granted her a spot in the giant slalom of the World Cup finals the next month.
“It feels like a lifetime ago. I was so much younger and not really aware of what I was doing,” she says. “I am still the same person, but I am so much more grown-up and mature. I am aware of what I am doing and what I want. As the years pass, I really try to enjoy what I am doing.”
Bassino is a huge fan of the Austrian skier Anna Veith, who dominated the giant slalom when Bassino made her World Cup debut. She also admires Italian skier Federica Brignone, in whose footsteps she has followed, she says.
Her own style is very natural — nothing calculated, everything intuitive and instinctual — and the giant slalom always felt the most comfortable, she says. “I feel like it’s mine. I feel like I do things almost without thinking, but as if I always knew it.”
Her first World Cup podium, a third place, was in the giant slalom in October 2016 in Solden, Austria. Her first gold medal came in November 2019 in the giant slalom in Killington, Vermont. That year, Bassino was the first Italian skier to ever mount the podium in five different disciplines in one season.
So what does skiing feel like to her? “What I feel, it’s beautiful …” she answers, her voice trailing. “I feel this is my life. When I ski, I am in the right place … where I belong.”
The above appears in the August 2023 issue of the print version of Fra Noi. Our gorgeous, monthly magazine contains a veritable feast of news and views, profiles and features, entertainment and culture. To subscribe, click here.