American professional mountain guide Mike Arnold moved to Italy for the skiing — and came face-to-face with a dangerous and powerful side of Aosta’s mountains.
The Aosta Valley in Italy is world-renowned for its incredible ski resorts and backcountry. People flock there from all over the world to ski and ride the Alps of that region. It’s the birthplace of ski-mountaineering, after all.
That’s what drew Mike Arnold out there in the first place. Arnold grew up ski racing in Maine, then got heavily involved in backcountry skiing in Colorado. Now he’s a professional athlete for The North Face, and he lives in Aosta working as a certified UIAGM mountain guide.
The guides in the Aosta region are highly respected by the local community. And it’s not just for the tourism dollars they bring in, but because of the legacy of the area and the hard and often dangerous work they do.
Arnold immersed himself in that world shortly after becoming a professional guide. And it wasn’t long after that when he came face-to-face with the dangerous side of that career choice.
“Everyone talks about the force of the mountains,” he said. “But I’ve never felt more power from a mountain than I did in this incident.”
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