Barbara Merlin, who hails from a skiing family (her younger sister Alessandra also represented Italy), made her breakthrough with a fifth-placed finish at the World Junior Alpine Skiing Championships in 1989. She finished fourth in giant slalom at the World Cup in Santa Caterina Valfurva in 1991 and later obtained two World Cup podium finishes: second in Downhill in Cortina in 1995 and third in Bormio in the same season. She just missed out on a medal at the 1996 World Ski Championships in Sierra Nevada, when she finished fourth. Merlin retired at the end of the 1999/2000 season and graduated in Business Economics in 2006. Besides being a ski instructor, she manages a hotel in Sauze d'Oulx, where she has become president of the long-running Ski Club.