23-30 Jan Vulcano ETNA
1-7 Feb Abruzzo Ovindoli
14-18 March CSC Cortina Snowkite Contest
Volcano Etna mt 3339
Rifugio Sapienza (Nicolosi) 01/30/2009
It is often too late when you remember one of your favorite games of your childhood, that of fly a kite above the beach, a coloured kite moved by the sea breeze..and build a sand castle so big that you had to put your arm inside to dig the crater..and then..dad arrived with a some paper and a lighter and showed us how to simulate the smoke..how wonderful!
Today the kite and the smoke echo back to our memory in the present time, at this moment while I’m describing the emotions and subsequently in the dreaming of huge snow-clad expanses that wrap the fire giant, the Etna.
I went there some years ago, the desire and the enthusiasm were the determining elements for bring my friends there and so I organised the second Chasta Days 09 in there. From the 24th to the 30th of January this dream was transformed in reality, in colours and sounds so harmonious to make me dream the impossible.
After a year is gone by and after I passed by this experience I’m convinced that all the natural elements, the Water, the Fire, the Earth and the Air mixed up create the most beautiful picture that we can ever see, live and admire with our emotions. Etna is such a majestic giant that gives you energy! It makes you enjoy every one of the 4 elements, it makes you fly above clouds, next to the sky, looking on the sea and listening to the wind.
Our kites were mixed in the frame of this picture, adding a bit of movement and passion…people joined by a common interest “snowkite” were immersed in the legendary Sicilian mountain..the Fire Giant. This time we left our traces in the center of the Mediterranean, dipped into lava and golden snow perfumed by cedar. Everything that happened during the Chasta Days on the Etna will be never forget, snowkiting at 3330 mt looking at the sea and caressing the smoke I think is not such a normal thing or something usual. I remember I was totally surprised by everything we did, but after a few minutes we realized that snowkite had no frontiers and no rivals. It’s a constant emotion that takes you and doesn’t leave you anymore, it makes you breathless!! But in my mind and in my new project, Chasta Days is a meeting of cultures, men and women, traditions and different ways of being yourself.
It was Saturday the 31st of January 2009 and everything seemed to be very exciting. We went up by the first run of the ropeways to reach the start spots with our kites. The wind was tense and constant from NW and was driving us to end our week on the N-NW slope. Chasta, Pascal and I covered a diagonal of around 3 km in the slope of the volcano. At 1800 we opened our kites among cedars and extinct craters, trying to immortalize the last emotions among pastel colours illuminated by the Mediterranean sun. For about 1 hour we went down height and Pascal took great pics to the greatest and most humble rider of the world, CHASTA!
We then started going up to reach the top of the volcano. The weather started changing, the humid draughts from NW formed fog banks that moved quickly around the mountain. The most important thing was to go back up, gain altitude and take out from the fog. Pascal and Chasta, with a MANTA II 12m succeeded in this, while I was forced to change the sail because I was going round with a Frenzy Fix 7m. The circumstance was not so good and I had to hurry up…a bit of tension and then I gain altitude with my MANTA 12 and went back up to the clouds. The most I went up the most the wind increase and accelerate for the ventui effect, so at 2550m after meeting Alessandro, Lido and Andrea with their 7m Frenzy, I decided to change again.
The goal for everyone was the top… Few minutes to go up again, minutes that today are only memoirs of moments, that had made of this goal, a challenge, a dream. Nobody could ever take away this memory and maybe heaven gardens remain to us snow expanses above clouds in front of the sea..and at 1.30 pm we have arrived over the top of Mediterranean. The Fire Giant careful and present, has given us something like the Mal d’Afrique, something describable. The trip continues. Catania 9 of November 2009.. Airport 9.30 pm. 10 months later. I leave from Rome to Catania by Easy Jet. My friend Luca, with whom I’m sharing this experience, is there for a hearty welcome. The Sicilian air is original, everything lives of its own balance in a warm atmosphere full of exciting sensations.
I want to see the giant, but I have to wait till the morning..the same morning that the next day show me a huge mountain white dressed with a hat made of clouds on its top. The fume trail draws in the air wiggly whirls of abstract aspects that only imagination can make real figures of them in a Mediterranean frame of bright pastel colours. This figures make me closer to Angelo, the man who was born to fly and chose Etna to make his dream possible. The same dream that today his namesake foundation “Fondazione Angelo D’Arrigo” spread all over the world supporting projects such as the realization of a children school in Perù that we also want to support with our energies with this event, the same energies that Angelo used to teach us to overcome our limits!
The new 2010 project wants to increase the value of the territory and of the mountain in a land wrapped by lava and millenniums of morphological changes. Athletes and passionates will come from everywhere to find out this unique sensation. The new Chasta Days will be a way to realize video and photos reports by the perspective of every single participant, a journey in the journey surrounded by snow, air, water and earth, the land of red oranges and green pistachios, of sunny people and of the warm Mediterranean sun. This journey is the starting point for a great sporting event, a great cultural event that will bring us again at the top of Mediterranean, at the top of our emotions..the Etna!