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10/05/2012 Natascia Leonardi Cortesi, twice prize winner of the Demino Ski Marathon, takes the lead in a ski mountaineering event in Russia and gives a short interview

Natascia Leonardi Cortesi, twice prize winner of the Demino Ski Marathon, takes the lead in a ski mountaineering RED FOX ELBRUS RACE 2012 event in Russia.

Top three athletes ladies and men:
1. Rinat Sofin
2. Vyacheslav Kurchakov
3. Sergey Matkin

1. Natascia Leonardi Cortesi
2. Larisa Soboleva
3. Nadezhda Khaustova

Here are some extracts from the interview with Natascia Leonardi Cortesi, Olympic prize winner and World Champion ski mountaineering.

- Natascia, have you been into sports all your life?

- Yes, I have. I’d been in the Swiss National cross-country ski team for 22 years and our team took bronze in relay in the Olympics, Salt-Lake-City.

- When did you first try in ski mountaineering?

- A lot of people in my village enjoy not only cross-county and alpine ski but also freeride and climb to the mountains on skies, and I also decided to try. But my first competitions were in 2000, I guess.

- When did you win the World Championship ski mountaineering?

- In 2006 after Olympic Games in Turin where I participated in two disciplines and relay. World Championship was also in Italy. I skied the “vertical” and won.

- How different are cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering?

- Ski mountaineering allows me to enjoy surrounding nature, I feel free in the mountains but one has to make efforts not less than in cross-country.

- What are your plans for the upcoming event? It is believed that you will be there as a member of jury or you will race an upright kilometer?

- I will take part in the individual ski mountaineering races. I wanted to ski a vertical kilometer race to the Elbrus top but I got ill and not sure whether I’ll be able to participate in these three races.

- To ski these races you must have good acclimation, at what altitude do you live?

- My village is near a famous resort Saint Moritz, on the border of Italy and Switzerland, about 1100 m. But I often climb to 3000 m and hope that I have enough acclimatized.

- Natascia, you have improved your Russian skills, how long have you been learning Russian?

- Not that long, since May 2011.

- Good! What languages do you speak?

- Of course, German, Italian, French, some Spanish, English, and Russian.

Contributed by skisport.ru