Valtellina Orobie - History

The 3,000 citizens of Albosaggia, together with the Polisportiva Albosaggia ASD, can confidently lay claim to their role in the growth of alpine skiing.

For a half a century now, this tiny alpine village nestled in the Valtellinese Orobie mountains, (thanks to a innate calling and a strong sports heritage) has now become the mandatory leg of the race for athletes and enthusiasts alike. Destiny has made world famous a little village that has always loved its mountain symbol, the Meriggio, which is closely linked to the name of the race “Valtellina Orobie”. This competitive event symbolizes the maximum expression of alpine skiing, both for its significance as a sport and for how it unifies man and nature.

It’s not easy to summarize: the exertion, sacrifice, courage and innovation; the love of this land, the passion, team spirit and hard work.

The resurgence of winter skiing to the Meriggio summit dates back to the 50’s. Even back then these mountains that every “busach” (the dialect name for the locals) fondly holds in their hearts, represents a real and honest symbol for skiers and hikers; mountains that are distinguished by their unrivalled allure, extraordinary physical aspects, even if the altitude isn’t of the highest, but also for its splendid view of the city of Sondrio.

Here is where, on February 19th, 1984, the “Meriggio Rally” was born and an extraordinary adventure began.

The 80’s was a decade of epic endeavour, heroic even, both for the organizers and the athletes: everything had to be innovated, competitors wore jeans, gaiters, woollen sweaters and backpacks full of daring dreams and a thirst for adventure. In that snow, they drew with bare hands, the five rings which would only become a reality in 2021 when this sport made its entry among those official sports of the Olympics that will be presented in Milan Cortina 2026.

In 1991 the “Meriggio Rally” became the “The Orobie International Rally”, counting among its members, even in the years prior, teams from Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and France.

The 1993 edition saw the alpine ski title go to a fellow Italian, and upon the two highest podiums stood two young in-house athletes: Graziano Boscacci and Ivan Murada who both won their first significant titles laying milestone in the history of this sport remaining the two strongest and those to hold the most titles to date.

In 2001, the “Rally” style, which had been adopted for almost 18 years, was officially sidelined to leave room for the new type of race which would be called “Valtellina Orobie” throughout all of the summits: the Italy Cup trials in 2005, the European Cup in 2006 and finally the first World Cup team competition in 2007 – a series of difficult trials but brilliant in many ways mainly due to the organizational effort in a year in which winter was almost absent.

That test was passed with flying colours and the race received awards from the ISMF along with the appointment of the Polisportiva of Albosaggia of the “Individual Races” World Cup trials of January 18, 2009.

The rest is recent history.

In 2010 a young talent named Michele Boscacci dominated the slopes together with Damiano Lenzi (2 nominations that went on to become top players at the world level). In 2011, the ANA alpine ski national championships were held and a multitude of Italian Alpine troopers descended on our snow covered land.

For the triennial edition the Polisportiva Albosaggia organized the Valtellina Orobie World, an individual race on the Meriggio and a sprint race in Caspoggio.

There was enormous participation by the general public and professional athletes alike; five days of high level exhibitions and events and this time races were being televised live and streamed online, more importantly, the event would engage not only the entire community of Albosaggia but all of Valtellina.

The concurrent arrival of Kilian Jornet and Michele Boscacci was both captivating and emotional and only because of a stop-watch and regulations was first place given to Kilian Jornet and second place to Michele Boscacci. After a few years of the race becoming part of the distinguished Italy Cup circuit, in the 2019 edition, once again at the top, the Meriggio slopes conquest were assigned the titles of absolute and master. Stunning victory by Robert Antonioli but we must also mention the indestructible Graziano Boscacci, winner of the masters title.

Meanwhile the young Rocco Baldini and Silvia Berra, both of the Polisportiva Albosaggia, won the gold and the silver medals respectively at the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, officially adding their names and origin to the history of alpine skiing, a sport now fully a part of the 5 rings.

In spite of the enormous difficulties imposed by Covid, the Valtellina Orobie 2021 race, Italian Championship absolute and team master will take place and represents the most anticipated alpine ski race of the winter season.

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