The skier is completing in Val di Fassa -with the local support- his training on “Piste Azzurre”, before heading to South Korea for the upcoming Olympic Games where he will compete for Thailand.
A wonderful smile, almond eyes, an unusual accent, the Thai passport and a ticket to PyeongChang already in his pocket for the Olympic Games where Nicola will compete for Thailand in slalom and giant slalom. Nicola Zanon, a 21 years old guy grown up in Val di Rabbi (Trentino) with Italian father and Thai mother, before flying to South Korea has been training in Val di Fassa on “Piste Azzurre”. The best slopes, always well-prepared by the lift companies and the local Ski Teams for the Italian national Team, which has its FIS training center in Val di Fassa, and international athletes. «We are pleased – states Daniele Dezulian – president of Consorzio impianti a fune Val di Fassa e Carezza who delivered a seasonal skipass to the Italo-Thai athlete and the possibility to train on various slopes – to give Nicola a real chance to get well-prepared for the Olympic Games of PyeongChang. Val di Fassa will be represented by its athletes (the skiers Stefano Gross and Chiara Costazza and the snowboarder Mirko Felicetti), and also by Nicola, to which we wish good luck». The young athlete is coached by Stefano Vampa, and he is enthusiast about his training sessions in Val di Fassa: «They have given me the possibility to train in Val di Fassa, on perfectly prepared slopes of different levels and optimal conditions – concludes Nicola - is just amazing for my preparation».
The decision to convert a passion into something more dates back to last year, when Nicola after having (almost got the pass to the 2014 Olympic Games) abandoned any ski discipline for four years, when he was only 16. «The “Ski and Snowboard Association of Thailand” contacted me, they were offering support for my agonistic career. I have always loved skiing, but working as woodworker with my dad, I had not the chance to be on the slopes. The SSAT offer was what pushed me to look for a coach, and I found Stefano. He is helping me constantly becoming a complete athlete». So, in February 2017 Nicola changed his life: from joinery and fun with his friends, he switched to training sessions on the slopes and in the gym as well, paying attention also to his alimentary habits (this was the toughest part, as he loves Italian and Thai food) and numerous days around the world. «During latest summer I have spent 50 days in Chile and Argentina for various competitions, and then I started competing also here. Doing so I have caught the points I needed to get qualified for slalom and giant slalom». The determination is a family special feature that Nicola got from his mother, to whom she has also taught the Thai language:«Asiatic culture is a part of me and whenever I can, I travel to Thailand (he was there in June). Before starting skiing again, I also had the idea of opening a pizzeria in Thailand. Now everything has changed: I’m totally focused on the Olympic Games and for next year, on the European Cup». He is focusing on the competition with the help of his coach: «He is young – states Vampa – but he is extremely focused on the goal, a typical feature of Asian culture. He is training at his best, thus he got the qualification for the competitions. We started with basic notions and he will continue improving also in the future. We are aware of Nicola’s and other athletes’ skills, this is why it will an incredible opportunity for him to compete against the best athletes, learn from them and improve». Even if Nicola is very young, he knows what his future is going to be like: «Olympic Games represent, for some athletes, their maximum success, for me they are a fantastic starting point. Moreover, I am very proud to represent Thailand (with two Italo-Thai Nordic skiers living in Val d’Aosta, and a Swiss-Thai skier of giant slalom) in South Korea, where I will obviously bring also a piece of Val di Fassa, that I thank for its support».