Profiles
6 min

Giulia Monego

The Italian guide needs the mountains to recharge her soul
Words by
Tess Weaver
February 5, 2024

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.

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Few mountain guides we know skis as graceful as Giulia Monego. Her technic and style are just perfect, as pictured here during a smashing day on the classic run Wang above Klosters, Switzerland. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

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Few mountain guides we know skis as graceful as Giulia Monego. Her technic and style are just perfect, as pictured here during a smashing day on the classic run Wang above Klosters, Switzerland. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

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Over time, Monego has become one of the most sought-after guides in the Alps. She is badass but humble. As happy guiding expert skiers down the Cosmique Couloir as she is taking a group of novice clients on their first alpine climb. Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

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Over time, Monego has become one of the most sought-after guides in the Alps. She is badass but humble. As happy guiding expert skiers down the Cosmique Couloir as she is taking a group of novice clients on their first alpine climb. Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

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“Temporarily, I sort of like spending time in the city — I enjoy all it has to offer compared to small villages, and I like to mix it up with other people, but I feel more at home in the mountains — I need the mountains to recharge my soul.”
Giulia Monego

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.”

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After her freeride career, Monego joined expeditions to Alaska, South America, New Zealand, and Bolivia (pictured). She chose challenging objectives and skied steep lines, developing her ski mountaineering skills. Photo: Christian Pondella

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After her freeride career, Monego joined expeditions to Alaska, South America, New Zealand, and Bolivia (pictured). She chose challenging objectives and skied steep lines, developing her ski mountaineering skills. Photo: Christian Pondella

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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. Photo: Christian Pondella

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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. Photo: Christian Pondella

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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.

“There’s always a way to help the body find balance — everything is connected, I want to help others, especially athletes, connect with their bodies and solve problems they might have.”
Giulia Monego
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Growing up as a ski racer, Giu moved to Verbier during her stint as a competitive freeskier. Once she got hooked on climbing, her skiing shifted to include a lot of ski mountaineering. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

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Growing up as a ski racer, Giu moved to Verbier during her stint as a competitive freeskier. Once she got hooked on climbing, her skiing shifted to include a lot of ski mountaineering. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

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When a knee injury sidelined her hopes of racing in the Alpine World Cup, Giulia Monego found pleasure in competitive high-level free skiing and eventually became a mountain guide. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

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When a knee injury sidelined her hopes of racing in the Alpine World Cup, Giulia Monego found pleasure in competitive high-level free skiing and eventually became a mountain guide. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

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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.”

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“My philosophy is to act humbly and see myself as a guest in the mountains,” says Monego. “I ask for permission and protection. I try to do the right thing, have fun, and minimize the objective risks, always knowing that I’m dealing with greater power.” Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

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“My philosophy is to act humbly and see myself as a guest in the mountains,” says Monego. “I ask for permission and protection. I try to do the right thing, have fun, and minimize the objective risks, always knowing that I’m dealing with greater power.” Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

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Even though osteopath school will take up most of her time for the next few years, she has several ski goals, including steep lines in Chamonix and, of course, as many ski trips as possible. Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

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Even though osteopath school will take up most of her time for the next few years, she has several ski goals, including steep lines in Chamonix and, of course, as many ski trips as possible. Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

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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.

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Monego captured at work in the Mont Blanc massif during a classic, lofty alpine route with a client. Photo: Joakim Åström

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Monego captured at work in the Mont Blanc massif during a classic, lofty alpine route with a client. Photo: Joakim Åström

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“There’s always a way to help the body find balance — everything is connected,” Monego says. “I want to help others, especially athletes, connect with their bodies and solve problems they might have.” Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

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“There’s always a way to help the body find balance — everything is connected,” Monego says. “I want to help others, especially athletes, connect with their bodies and solve problems they might have.” Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

Read more

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.

“My philosophy is to act humbly and see myself as a guest in the mountains, I ask for permission and protection. I try to do the right thing, have fun, and minimize the objective risks, always knowing that I’m dealing with greater power.”
Giulia Monego
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Early October, on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif, Monego was captured climbing at sunset on the Aiguilles Marbrées traverse above the Glacier du Géant. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

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Early October, on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif, Monego was captured climbing at sunset on the Aiguilles Marbrées traverse above the Glacier du Géant. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

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Bouldering at Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, with friends. The Arico area is characteristic and beautiful. Photo: Joakim Åström

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Bouldering at Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, with friends. The Arico area is characteristic and beautiful. Photo: Joakim Åström

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With its favourable climate and pleasant weather, the island of Tenerife is a perfect place to escape when the ski and guide season is done. Monego in action at Arico. Photo: Joakim Åström

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With its favourable climate and pleasant weather, the island of Tenerife is a perfect place to escape when the ski and guide season is done. Monego in action at Arico. Photo: Joakim Åström

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Scrambling on the rugged landscape of Tenerife, Canary Islands. Photo: Joakim Åström

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Scrambling on the rugged landscape of Tenerife, Canary Islands. Photo: Joakim Åström

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After a long day of climbing in the Mont Blanc massif, Monego rappels down as the sun sets. Photo: Joakim Åström

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After a long day of climbing in the Mont Blanc massif, Monego rappels down as the sun sets. Photo: Joakim Åström

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Eye on the price; late night on the Aiguille Entreves traverse and no time for mistakes. Monego focuses on the task. Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

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Eye on the price; late night on the Aiguille Entreves traverse and no time for mistakes. Monego focuses on the task. Photo: Christoffer Sjöström

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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.

“Whether I am a student, a climber or a skier, I don’t like to put myself in a box, I like to experiment, do lots of things, and always seek new challenges.”
Giulia Monego
Tess Weaver is a writer and editor based in Aspen, Colorado. A former editor for Powder and Freeskier magazines, she has contributed to publications like The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, The Atlantic, Outside, ESPN, Bike, Surfer, Backcountry and more. Tess is a passionate skier and mountain biker who is passing along her love for the mountains to her two young children.
Giulia Monego
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