In December 1896, Adolfo Kind and Luciano Roiti used, on Balme snowfields, the “ski”, curious wooden skates in use in North European countries, and reached Pian della Mussa. As consequence of Mountain Artillery lieutenant Luciano Roiti’s positive evaluation of this gearin military field, Balme mountaineers, serving in the army, got to know skis during World War I.
Although at the beginning they were very skeptical, soon they acquired familiarity. At the end of the military service, they fostered and developed this sport in the valleys thanks also to the many sport associations and ski clubs. Due to the Turin sportsmen’s initiative, the first sporting events took place, where local athletes, who had more chances to practice, raced separately from town athletes. The Fascist regime also contributed to the development of skiing as ideologically it favored sports practice and competition. For this reason, besides modern alpine skiing, two ski jumping off points were built in Balme. One of them is still visible near Rocca S.A.R.I. where the ice-skating ring is.
The athletes from Balme soon stood out nationally in these sports and the one competing for Sci Club Balme were recognizable by their “hem jumper (maglia del bordo)”, the local holiday costume. Later on, thanks to Prof. Borsotti, then Juventus sports doctor and regular Balme vacationer, uniforms no longer used by the Turin football players were given to the ski club athletes.
In 1949 the Pakinò ski lift was built; it was the first one in the Lanzo Valleys. Skiing developed so much that a second ski lift, the Sauzè, was built in Balme. Both at Pian della Mussa, in the Valanga Nera gully, and at Rifugio Gastaldi, in the Crot del Ciaussinè, small handmade ski lifts were built in order to practice summer skiing on snow strips survived to the winter.
Following the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games, the Pakinò ski lift has been re-opened thanks to UE funds. The new modern 250 meters structure, even if shorter than the original one, is an ideal learning field for everyone wanting to approach to alpine skiing. On this ski field, various and increasing slopes allow to learn more than simple standing on skis. The short track is a big advantage for parents who may participate to children’s maneuvers, without having to wear skis themselves, just from the track edge. Skiing masters are also available.
If you want to learn how to ski, Balme is therefore a good opportunity to which combine other sports and/or cultural activities to make your stay unique and unconventional.