Text by Teemu Virtanen
The Italian Pro Team SottoZero Trentino Zorzi Max is certainly a fun bunch in the Visma Ski Classics circuit. This team has its roots in a popular TV show, and now the team members are eager to bring some Italian flavor and spark to the proceedings. The team is also looking for new female recruits and they are open to any suggestions. Let’s find out from the director of the team, Michele Pasqualotto, what’s cooking in the camp of SottoZero.
Tell us briefly about your Team that is somewhat based on a TV show in Italy?
The Italian TV show SottoZero started 23 years ago when I got an idea to do it since I’ve always been fond of cross-country skiing through my work as a professional journalist and sports commentator. Year by year, the show grew and got high ratings, and it became a hit. Some years ago, we started a recreational cross-country ski team (about 150 people). Three years ago, the TV show gave birth to a Pro Team called SottoZero Trentino Zorzi Max, and we are a group of people with a strong passion towards this amazing sport.
How was your season in the midst of the pandemic? Are you happy with the results?
Last season was quite complicated due to the pandemic, but I’m extremely positive because we achieved pretty good results gaining the title of the best Italian Team!
What are your long-term goals for the team and what do you want to achieve?
Our aim is to reinforce our Italian leadership in long distance races and to get better in the Visma Ski Classics ranking. Pro Team SottoZero Trentino Zorzi Max has the best long distance skiers in the country such as Mauro Brigadoi, Francesco Ferrari and Stefania Corradini.
How is long distance skiing in your country?
Cross-country ski has a remarkable audience, most of all in Northern Italy, of course in Val di Fiemme, our headquarter. It is very popular thanks to some notable celebrities in the field like Franco Nones, Stefania Belmondo, Cristian Zorzi and now Federico Pellegrino.
You are now searching for female athletes to grace your team. What can you offer these skiers and assuming they come from another country, what things do they need to take into consideration?
In our country, there are very few high-level female athletes interested in the long distance circuit. They usually choose national circuits and shorter distances. This is the reason why we are now seeking motivated foreigner athletes determined to show their talent. I hope that they come with a strong will and motivation to work hard in our team. As far as we are concerned, it’s our intention to give them all our support to make them feel at ease!
Finally, what is your and your team's feedback on Visma Ski Classics?
We are very happy to meet the Scandinavian leaders of cross-country skiing and to share the perks of this sport with them and the other teams. We’re pleased to have new sport adventures in so many picturesque locations. As you know, we live in a land, Trentino, dedicated to the sports, with a strong tradition in hospitality, culture and nature, and we are very proud to be testimonial to all this in the Visma Ski Classics world.