"Mountains have much more to offer than formal skiing," says Enrico Ferorelli, the New York-based photographer who took the pictures for the article on ski mountaineering that begins on page 52. It is a sport, he says, that has brought about a return to "the total appreciation of mountains—you can sense people's rejection of ski lifts and the soaring price of equipment."
Ferorelli, who grew up in Rome, has skied for 30 of his 36 years. He was a top slalom racer in college, but now feels himself a kindred spirit to the many ski instructors, safety patrolmen and former racers who are proponents of ski mountaineering. "My own career has spanned every teaching and technological development," Ferorelli says, "so that I have come full circle, back to the Telemark turn, which is what I learned as a youth."
Ferorelli has always loved "any sport which does not require either teammates or a ball." A sailing enthusiast, he specializes in the Finn (solo) Class, and he enjoys two-day escapist canoe trips, paddling upstream the first day and down the second. (Where does one store a canoe in New York City? Ferorelli made his local garageman an offer he could not refuse.) In fencing he was ranked among Italy's top 30, though he says, "I have never been a champion because I always have too many other things to accomplish. I love competition, however, because it forces you to stretch your skills."
Last August he literally stretched his to the breaking point. In Italy on his honeymoon, Ferorelli entered a sailplane meet and brought his craft down ½ mile short of his destination when the brake cable broke. The plane crashed nose first in a ditch, at great inconvenience to both the aircraft and Ferorelli, who broke two vertebrae in his lower back. He was incapacitated for 15 days and then went off on a relatively sedate assignment, a regatta in Venice.
December 5, 1977
Ferorelli's photographic career began 10 years ago, the day after he graduated from Rome University with a degree in law, when he was hired by TIME'S Rome Bureau as a photographer's assistant. It soon became clear that his avocation as a photographer was to become his vocation. He learned the finer points of lighting by photographing paintings and statues in museums and worked as a commercial photographer. Assignments in Rome were few, and he found himself shuttling between Italy and the U.S. Finally, down to his last $1,000, he decided six years ago to settle in Manhattan. Now, like most photographers, he is at work on a coffee-table book. His will consist of photographs of clouds, shot from the air.
Friends were mistaken who thought that Ferorelli's marriage to Martha Saxton, a biographer whose subjects have ranged from Jayne Mansfield to Louisa May Alcott, might fetter the photographer's free spirit. "We fly together. sail together and jog together," he says. "We even worked together on a history of honeymooning in America." You can't get much more adventurous than that.