Luisa Bertani moved to the Bulgarian national team in 2022 from the Italian World Cup Women’s team. Luisa made her debut in the European Cup in December 2016 and in the World Cup in October 2017. After Luisa’s switch to the Bulgaria ski federation, which has been cooperating with VIST for many years , she visited us and we had a little catch up. (to read about our corporation with Bulgaria, please follow the link here).
Please introduce yourself.
I’m Luisa, 26 years old, from Milan and I’m a skier. I have been skiing since I was little; my dad put me on the skis when I was two and a half years old. The rest is history. I’m also completing my bachelors degree here in Milan.
When did you understand that you could have become a professional?
It all started before high school, when I found myself either winning or amongst the best few in the important kid’s races. I began to think, maybe I have good potential, I’m learning, I’m winning, I’m not so far behind.
When I finished high school, I switched coaches. Success didn’t take long, in fact everything went very quickly. I went to the European Cups, then to the World Cups. That's when I understood that ski racing could be my path.
Which is your favorite skiing discipline?
I’m a giant slalom skier. This is my favorite discipline. I wish I could also be a slalom skier, but I’m not too fast at it. So, it’s GS.
Let’s talk about your move to the Bulgarian team. Was it a difficult decision to switch the federation from Italian to Bulgarian?
It was not easy, especially for the Italian federation. There are not many people that switch federations. In Austria and other countries alike, it is more common to see people that are switching federations. For Italy, it is something very unique. This year two people have switched federations. Luckily, the Italian federation let me go without any hostility.. without saying “you can’t go”. I appreciate it a lot from the Italian federation for letting me go with my FIS points. And I appreciate a lot that the Bulgarian federation accepted me and I can now race under its flag.
Why did you choose Bulgaria?
It is a long story. It's mostly coincidental.
How are you integrating into the team and how is it to ski for a smaller skiing federation?
I’m integrated with some local team in Bansko. I went for the national champs and I was there also for a couple of training days. It is a small federation, but definitely not a week one. It is very well organized… there are professionals behind it. It’s small, but I dont feel it is influencing me in any bad way. Actually, it’s quite nice. More attention on you. More duties to do, because of more attention. But it is nice.
Today, you are 54th-ranked in the world in the giant slalom world ranking. How is the pre-season gone? How have both conditioning training and skiing training gone?
This year, there wasn’t much snow on the glacier. We had a very hot summer, and during the last winter, it just wasn’t snowing enough. I was lucky we could ski in Saas Fee (Switzerland). We did three camps over there. I also went to two different glaciers and I feel in good shape. So, all in all, ski and conditional training camps went well. I’m happy about it because I don’t have any pain while I’m skiing. Year after year you appreciate not having pain or not getting injured or not having other stuff that can interrupt your training.
What are your professional goals for the upcoming season?
I would like to score World Cup points (top 30 result). Also, I would like to be very competitive in the European Cups. This was missing in the last two years and I was never that strong. I would only perform on one run or even a partial run; I would always ruin my good skiing with a big mistake.
What are your long-term goals?
Actually, to be in the top thirty in the World Cup. Getting a top ten would be nice - that’s a long-term objective, but let’s start from the small ones because it’s easier to achieve. Then, we will see. I’m 26 and maybe the Olympic Games in Milano 2026 might be an idea, but after that when I’m 30-32, we will see how my body is feeling. In any case, skiing will always be a part of my life because I love it.
You study in Milan. What do you study and where?
I’m completing my bachelors (‘trinale’), where I’m finishing up very soon. I’m studying languages for business at Università Cattolica. I chose to focus on English and German. It has been tough to combine skiing and studying. When I started my degree, I didn't plan on doing both. It was challenging to go for exams because they would always take place when I was training or on tour.
How did you combine these both?
I could finally organize my training, thanks to the university. Because the Bulgarian federation is smaller, it was easier to make a training program where I could combine both university and skiing. And I could organize myself much better than in other years.
This year is the first year you are kitted out in VIST ski wear. What is your first impression in terms of functionality and looks?
I like it a lot. It’s warm and very comfortable to wear. And I like the race suit and all the protection, especially the leg protection. I love the new colors.
Have you got a feel for VIST culture today in the headquarters?
Yes. The location is great. It is nice to see a lot of brands next to each other, maybe they can grow all together. And they all are very friendly.