Three generations of snowboarders from Scuol
Cla Mosca, Nevin Galmarini and Ricarda Hauser
Europe's first snowboard school was founded in Scuol in 1987 and in 1993/94 the Hochalpine Institut Ftan (HIF) launched a sports school for young snowboarders. The Lower Engadine municipality was thus at the center of the snowboarding scene from the very beginning. Over the years, Swiss championships have been held here, followed by world championship titles and Olympic medals for Lower Engadin athletes in the alpine discipline. By 2018 at the latest, with its inclusion in the FIS calendar as an annual venue for World Cup races, Scuol has fully established itself in the sport.
Special connection to Motta Naluns
Many years have passed since the emergence of the snowboard in the 60s and its heyday in the 90s, and several generations have fallen in love with the sports equipment. This is symbolized by Cla Mosca, Nevin Galmarini and Ricarda Hauser, who represent three different generations and are rooted in Scuol, specifically in the Motta Naluns ski area. All three grew up here, learned to snowboard and call it their home.
I've seen so many ski resorts all over the world, but I still like Motta Naluns the best.
The FIS Snowboard World Cup is held in their home country at the beginning of each year. An event that gives them great pleasure. Ricarda hopes to compete here more often. She was given the honor of the lead rider twice before she was able to celebrate her World Cup debut at her home race in 2022 – an incredible honor and an event that not many athletes get to enjoy. For Nevin, the first event in 2018 was one of the best of his career, two weeks after his Olympic victory in South Korea. He skied straight onto the podium, but even more overwhelming for him was the associated victory in the overall World Cup and winning the crystal globe in his home country. Due to his retirement, he will no longer be racing in the World Cup in Scuol, but he is now helping to organize the event in the OC.
From two boards to one
In contrast to Cla and Nevin, Ricarda still has her career ahead of her and is devoting herself to her psychology studies alongside snowboarding. Cla now works as an independent coach and consultant, while Nevin is a key accounts manager at PostFinance and also coordinates top-class sport and studies at the Swiss Distance Learning University of Applied Sciences. They all found their sport through skiing. Ricarda skied until the age of eight, then wanted to try something new and stuck with it. Cla has a fundamental interest in new things. When the Swingbo, a kind of surfboard on skis, appeared in the mid-1980s, he was immediately enthusiastic about its carving possibilities. However, the sports equipment was not suitable for deep snow or for the masses. At around 18, he finally discovered powder skiing on a snowboard, which he couldn't let go of. Nevin's career choice could have tipped towards skiing. Growing up in a family of skiers with a mother who was a B-squad alpine skier, competed in a World Cup race and was an Olympic champion in deaf races several times, he imitated his older brother and switched to snowboarding at the age of around 10, not least because of his father's passion for windsurfing.
Even after a million bends, I still want to take another one.
Moments of success in the snow
Ricarda rode to 4th place at the 2021 Junior World Championships. Unfortunately, she narrowly missed the podium, but it was still her greatest sporting success to date. She realized for the first time that she could keep up with the top riders. Nevin's greatest moment of success was, of course, winning gold in Pyeongchang – at least from the outside. For him, the entire period from 2014 to 2018 was a single moment of success, when he ended the season on top by winning the overall World Cup. His professional career lasted much longer and he achieved much more than he ever dreamed of. He is incredibly grateful and proud of this. He still lives on the achievement of the goals he set himself today. Cla's greatest triumph was his world championship title in Ischgl in 1993. He actually wanted to give up his career a little earlier in frustration because he simply couldn't achieve his training performance in the races. But Joe Zangerl, now head of the HIF boarding school in Ftan, encouraged him to carry on – with outstanding success, as it turned out. Clas' energy before the decisive race was noticeable from the outside and he knew as soon as he got up that today was his big day.
Three different recipes for success
Joe Zangerl also had a decisive influence on Nevin. He trained with him at the HIF and, luckily for him, learned the incredibly banal but equally important lesson: if you train, you get better. To this day, he is fully committed to this mentality and firmly believes that by investing himself, something will eventually come back in some form. Ricarda relies on her passion for snowboarding to achieve success. She considers it crucial to focus on the positive, to fight and to «bite into it», even when things aren't going so well. She still needs to work on her relaxation during races – a very important factor from Clas' point of view. Only those who are relaxed yet focused can achieve their maximum performance. Implementing these recipes for success may sound easy, but of course it's not. Even as a professional athlete, you struggle with motivation problems and enjoyment on certain days or races, just like in a «normal» job.
It is crucial that you focus, because your energy flows to where your attention is. And relax – an optimal performance state is a relaxed state.
Unforgettable moments: podium places, responsibility and family triumphs
The special stories that sport writes are particularly memorable. Ricarda experienced her first podium finish in the European Cup at the end of 2021 with great emotion. She enjoyed achieving the goal she had set herself, including the journey to get there. She was very moved by the fact that those around her were almost happier about it than she was herself. Nevin was also moved by the moment when he arrived in Scuol in 2014 after winning the medal and strangers, especially children, were extremely happy for him. That's when he realized that he also had a responsibility and that he wasn't just riding for himself. He describes this as a slow learning process, because from the start to the finish you are always on your own, but the whole environment around you is extremely important. Cla recalls with emotion the party that was held at home in his honor after his world championship title. Practically the whole village was there and he forebodingly announced that he had another brother with more talent. Four years later, the time had come: the village celebrated again, this time for his brother Fadri. After winning the title, Fadri briefly and dryly told him on his answering machine that he was now also world champion.
Snowboarding through the ages
Ricarda benefits from specially designed snowboard gates in her races these days, which Cla never had before. He painfully remembers the tilting poles of his time. The equipment and support in terms of (mental) training and nutrition have also changed a lot over time. For example, some athletes used to drink iced tea before a race, which is unthinkable today. But in her eyes, the development is limited. The physics and essence behind their sport with the turns from gate to gate have remained the same. They still see alpine snowboarding as a technically difficult sport, which makes it a niche and will probably keep it that way. So it's not surprising that some people switch back to skis. The three are all the more pleased that, despite a declining snowboard market, alpine snowboarding has developed consistently over the last 15 years.
As the oldest member of the junior team, I was always fully aware of my role model function. However, I didn't see myself as a team mom, but rather as a big sister. In the World Cup team, I'll be the chick again.
Role models for the next generation
Ricarda is doing everything she can to emulate her two predecessors. To ensure that the next generation of skiers continues to thrive in the future, Clas believes that ski resorts need to position themselves accordingly, as well as functioning structures and knowledge about the sport itself. The latter is particularly important to Nevin. He publishes content on his social media channels to communicate the appeal of the sport. If you can snowboard and would like to try your hand at the alpine discipline, he recommends his snowboard carving camp in Scuol at the end of each season to train with him and his World Cup colleagues. For Ricarda, good coaches in the regions who can pass on their knowledge and motivate are crucial. It is also essential that the experienced ones show and pass on their passion. The youngsters need role models they can emulate. And the three generations of snowboarders from Scuol are undoubtedly role models.
Text: Roger Kreienbühl
Pictures: Claudio Daguati
Video: Marina Gachnang
Personalities who have left their mark on the Lower Engadine.
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