The skis of Franco Sonzogno are “like violins”, said his wife Angela when she tried them the first time. Skis that her husband had prepared with infinite love using gondola wood from Venice.
And so were born the ‘Ski Stradivarius’ (named after the famous violin maker) and in 2000 a club was formed that includes mountain and art lovers, which now includes 350 members worldwide.
Franco you are a man of many resources: after a life spent in the world of telecom, how did you become the creator of the now famous ‘Stradivarius’ ski?
Yes, life has its surprises and my own was unexpected: I was born several times. I had always loved the mountains, I visited only in summer with my family, but I could not imagine that they would be my fate. At 25, with the first paycheck, I paid for my first ski course and at 50 the course to realize my first pair of skis!
It was a gift for my 50 years, that my wife Angela offered me a course of “ski-man” in Biella, because she wanted me to find a pair of skis safe for us. At the time, safety in the sport was not a popular concept and we were unhappy with what we found.
The ‘Stradivarius’ was born from the dream to create skis that were like a musical instrument: the skis that should transmit the sensation of flying and could be “re-tuned” to be safe and fun.
What wisdom did you enclose your skis? What was the connection with the gondolas of Venice?
It is impossible to describe the time and dedication that I committed to build a pair of skis. The project came to life from the hands of four artisans who work with me: I would create an idea, they would build the separate parts that I then assembled respecting the right time to bond and correct glues for the wood.
We use four types of wood such as beech and ash, which must be cured for a long time and that’s why I considered the world of gondolas. In Venice, on the island of Giudecca we found the only two laboratories that still build and repair gondolas using seasoned wood, even 50 years old. I purchase from them and this really stable wood allows me to reach high levels of perfection in the creation of the skis.
What emotions the does ‘Stradivarius’ transmit to you and your customers?
My skis are works of art, reminiscent of the curves of a woman in addition to those of a violin. They transmit joy to me, the desire to have fun and vitality. At first I created the ‘Stradivarius’ just for myself and my wife Angela, today I am happy to know that they are worn by many skiers in the world and even royalty.
To make them unique, then, every pair of skis is subject of particular graphic design accentuating the colour combination. In collaboration with Lucio Bubacco, master of Venetian glass, we have also created a special line representing his works of art.
I also created a base that allows to present the skis almost as sculpture. These bases are painted in oil by the painter Gianni D’este, and named ‘Widmann’. The skis and the base, then, are like a work of art that the customer can keep at home and enjoy every moment!
The ‘Stradivarius’ are expressions of different styles and from different eras: they recall in every inch Venice. The skis are romantic but technologically advanced. In them, all is harmony.
About the Interviewed:Franco Sonzogno
Mountain lover and creator of Stradivarius skis