For a mountain guide who has won the infamous Xtreme Verbier, the grand finale of the Freeride World Tour, and skied first descents in China and Bolivia, as well as steep classics like the Couloir Saudan on Mont Blanc’s west face, Guilia Monego has spent a lot of time in cities. Raised in Venice, Italy and schooled in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Monego spent almost 20 years skiing, mountaineering and, more recently, guiding in Chamonix. Still, she’s back in a bustling metropolis for her next chapter.
Forty-one-year-old Monego is a student and teacher of many things. From ski racing at a national level to ski instructing in Verbier, to rock, alpine and ski guiding in the Alps, to earning her tourism degree, Monego has a knack for studying and mastering a subject and then sharing her knowledge. Next on her list is a five-year program to become an osteopath — a licensed physician who practices manipulative medicine to restore a patient’s natural health.
“Guiding and skiing have been my life, and I love it,” says Monego. “But I don’t want to rely on my body to do everything and earn my living. This second career is less physical. You figure out where the problem is coming from and how to treat it. It’s reasoning and thinking — putting everything I’ve learned into practice.”
Monego discovered osteopathy as a teenage ski racer. She found the treatments helped her knee and back pain and continued osteopathic treatment to sustain her health while working as a guide, to combat injuries and rehab knee surgeries.
Monego should have no problem finding clients in the Alps. Her reputation as one of the most well-rounded skiers on the planet precedes her.
“She has a natural fluency in everything she does,” says professional skier and ski mountaineer Chris Davenport. “She’s curious, humble, passionate, and always psyched to be out there. You can tell she wants to do everything proficiently and well. And she has a wonderful personality that puts you at ease.”
Monego grew up in Venice, Italy and like many kids growing up near the Dolomites, the introduction to skiing came early. When she was four years old, her parents introduced her to skiing on a trip to Cortina d’Ampezzo, the iconic ski resort just a few hours south. She immediately fell in love with the sport. Ten years later, she moved to Cortina to go to school and start racing in the local ski club. She put in years of hard work and eventually placed in the top three nationally.
When a knee injury sidelined her hopes of racing at the World Cup level, she found pleasure in free skiing and entered her first freeride competition in 2005. The following year she won the most prestigious freeride competition, the Xtreme Verbier. After a handful of years on the Freeride World Tour with solid results, she decided the risk of injury was too significant and stopped competing in 2010.
With sponsors gained as a freeride competitor, Monego joined expeditions to Alaska, South America, Svalbard, India, New Zealand and more. She chose challenging objectives and skied steep lines, developing her ski mountaineering skills. She was also developing the skills to become a guide. In what began as a suggestion from friends and a lingering thought in her mind, she achieved her International Federation of Mountain Guide Association (IFMGA) certification after six years of hard work. Over time, Monego has become one of the most sought-after guides in the Alps.
Now attending osteopath school full time in Milan, she’s squeezing in guide work in the Alps and skiing in her favourite place, Chamonix, where her boyfriend lives. As soon as she’s back in the mountains, Giulia never lets go of the opportunity to paraglide, hike, or climb to keep up her fitness. Even though school will take up most of her time for the next three years, she has several ski goals, including steep lines in Chamonix and of course, as many ski trips as possible.