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When Skiing An Active Volcano Is Bad For Skis But Beautiful To Watch

After it snowed about 20 inches on Mt. Etna, the volcano spewed fine ash over the snow and a skier set out to get the shot.

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While skiing the mostly dormant volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest seem to be all the rage, a skier in Italy took on a similarly sized objective in his home country this spring. That volcano, however, sees a lot less snow than the slopes of Mt. Hood or Mt. Rainier and frequently erupts.

Located on Sicily—the island that the “boot” of Italy is kicking in the center of the Mediterranean Sea—10,912-foot Mt. Etna is geographically closer to the deserts of North Africa than the Alps and the Dolomites. Just before Easter in 2021, Etna received about 20 inches of snow, which was then promptly covered in fine volcanic ash. Shanty Cipolli, a professional Italian skier, set out to ski the unique conditions in hopes of carving a classic ski line in the black ash to reveal a white line below.

Shanty Cipolli hiking Mt. Etna
Shanty Cipolli hikes up Mt. Etna for another lap. Photo: Courtesy of Mammut

The result is a short movie called “ETNA” and a number of striking images that are sure to be a part of the outdoor brand Mammut’s marketing campaigns in the near future (Cipolli is a Mammut ambassador). The video crew, led by Thomas Monsorno, worked closely with Mt. Etna guide Lukas Kusstatscher for safety during the project.

Also, in what seems to be a celebration of the release of ETNA, the volcano has been particularly active for the last few days.

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