Knowing the world to know yourself

30 June 2023

Massimo Braconi, also known as Brac, is a professional freerider, high-altitude mountaineer, telemarketer, and traveler. He is an enthusiastic person who loves what he does and has a wealth of experiences that we have had the pleasure of hearing.


It is really difficult to encapsulate all your activities in a single term. What unites them? Is there one that you prefer?

What unites these activities is the interest in traveling, getting to know the world, and also the curiosity to compare what is found abroad with Italy. All my activities, such as mountaineering, skiing, cycling, or canoeing, are linked to staying in touch with nature. For example, in skiing, I don't just focus on the technical aspect, but rather see it as a means of traveling: for me, even skiing on the slopes is a journey in a way, just like cycling, which allows for slow travel. The common thread among all these activities is the possibility of moving slowly and enjoying every detail in this calmness.


Let's talk about "The Diaries of Brac," your video accounts that have become a reference point for your followers. What exactly is it about and where did the idea come from?

Like many things, "The Diaries of Brac" originated from meetings, traveling, and meeting people. It all started with my acquaintance with the owner of the production company for the program "WILD" produced by Mediaset. She liked what I was doing, and from there, the desire to tell about journeys in unique places, ones that no one had yet explored, through this column arose.

Then there was a period of a trip, the "COAST TO COAST - Italy by Bike." The idea was to showcase the beauties of our country, following a trend of recent years, which is bike touring in the Gravel world. With skiing, we were a bit ahead of the times; we traveled on skis before it was even talked about. Right from the start, we managed to do a good job, although slowed down by the technical requirements of producing such content.

I was fortunate to meet Paolo Aralla, the founder of Bapufilm, a production company specializing in outdoor videos that also works for National Geographic. They created the agency Mountain Film Crew, made up of a group of mountaineers and professionals, of which I am also a part. They film and produce extreme activities. The goal is to inspire people to travel. In the videos, there is no protagonist, but a narrative of journeys in which people can identify and, who knows, maybe find inspiration.


You have traveled extensively to countries such as China, Iran, Georgia, and Japan. What is the spirit and purpose with which you undertake these journeys?

The idea is to tell a journey as it really is and provide as much information as possible so that people can draw inspiration from it. I have never wanted to embark on great expeditions that are difficult for everyone to accomplish. For example, I once attended an evening where a guest talked about his journey; he produced beautiful content, but he had waited six months to have the right conditions to make them, something that is impossible for many. In our case, we wanted to document day by day what we did during the month, the reality of 15 to 30 days of travel, without worrying about creating only beautiful productions to impress people. The goal was to impress through the story, through what we conveyed, and in the end, it seems that we succeeded because when we organize events, the people who attend are satisfied.

The idea is to embark on a journey for yourself, not to prove anything. As a guide as well, I realize that people who participate immediately grab their phones. My ambition is to discourage this behavior. I want them to experience the moment without being distracted by their phones. At first, it may seem annoying, but in the end, they also thank me, especially considering that in the most beautiful or scenic spots, it is us guides who stop to appreciate the surroundings.

Do you have any positive or negative anecdotes that you have experienced or are experiencing?

The negative one we are experiencing right now is due to the situation in Iran. I have always portrayed this country as something beautiful to visit, but given the regime in place, we have decided to remove the video of our trip. In our journey, the role of women seemed much freer compared to other countries with the same religion, but they turned out to be the opposite. It's really unfortunate because in the video, we portrayed women in a positive light, and now the situation has completely reversed and become dramatic for them.

On the positive side, there is the opportunity to redo trips that I had done alone before "The Diaries of Brac," 15 to 20 years later, with a group of young climbers and skiers, and rediscover these countries that have grown and changed in a positive sense. Traveling with younger people is beautiful, also because of the generational exchange that allows us to gain and share experiences. It's not just the older person who can transmit experience; you can also learn from the younger ones.


Not only in foreign countries but also in Italy, indeed you are part of the project AITNE, an association of ski teachers and volcanological guides that practice hiking on Etna…right?

Yes, my brother-in-law started this activity on Mount Etna before me. It is an agency that operates in various parts of the world, offering activities such as skiing, biking, and hiking. Our mission is to create emotional experiences in special places like Mount Etna, Stromboli in summer and winter, Arabba, and many others.

I also collaborate with Arabba Holiday, a ski agency that organizes Ski Safaris. It is a group of 8 to 10 people who spend a week moving only on skis and sleeping in different mountain huts every day. We travel solely by skiing, which allows us to discover and explore the places from a whole new perspective. To participate in Ski Safari excursions, a certain skiing skill level is required for safety, but an intermediate level is sufficient. There is a lot of participation from foreign tourists coming from all over the world, while with Italians, we have only started this year. Sometimes we travel so much to explore other places that we don't appreciate the beauty of where we live, but we are truly fortunate to have everything here in Italy!


In addition to sports and nature, you are also involved in social activities. This year, you participated in the Venice Film Festival with "IL TOUR DEL DONO," where you cycled to different ADMO centers in the Veneto region. How was that experience?

That was a surprise; I didn't expect to go to the Venice Film Festival! This was also an innovative experience. The passion led to the idea of promoting the activities of ADMO (Italian Bone Marrow Donor Association). We cycled 700 km through the Veneto region, showcasing the beauty of the area and connecting various transfusion centers while collecting testimonials. In the documentary film, we portrayed what donation means, the typing process, and, in general, what ADMO is all about.

Il documentario è piaciuto molto a Venezia, c’era il patrocinio della ragione e l’appoggio di diverse aziende tra cui Kayland, l’Associazione dei maestri di sci e altri che insieme hanno sponsorizzato le spese di produzione e di montaggio.

Last winter, I was also a guest at the SkiPass Modena Fiere, where the video will be presented, and I will share my lived experience.


Are there any future projects you would like to share with us?

There are other projects with television, both at the local and national level... but for now, I can't tell you more :)


Have you had the opportunity to try different Kayland footwear? How did you find them?

I am particularly attached to the PAMIR model. They remind me of the shoes from the past, very old-style, but the fact that they are made of leather makes them incredibly comfortable, like wearing a glove. I use them every day, and in my line of work, the feet are particularly essential. If your feet hurt or you're uncomfortable, you're in trouble! In general, since the beginning, I have always had a good feeling with Kayland footwear. I am always happy to visit the company to meet the team and see the new products you offer.

An important testing ground is Mount Etna. The terrain on Mount Etna is very rugged due to its abrasiveness, the fact that lava is a decomposable material, and the challenging nature of the terrain. To give you an idea, if a shoe is designed to last 5 years, here it lasts 1 year. We also have a Kayland shoe park and equipment that we provide free of charge to participants in our excursions. I must say that we always receive positive feedback; people are interested in the product and ask where they can find it.