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PlanetSKI Explores Passo Tonale

It’s an Italian resort perhaps not so well-known with UK skiers. Which is why PlanetSKI’s Ian Davis visited Passo Tonale with Crystal Ski Holidays. He also dropped in to the neighbouring resort of Madonna di Campiglio. UPDATED

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UPDATE:

Day Three: Passo Tonale Away Day to Madonna di Campiglio

There plenty of variety on the slopes of Passo Tonale and Ponte di legno but I would recommend joining the ski away day to Madonna di Campiglio to explore a fresh set of challenges.

Only 45 minutes away and located at the heart of the Adamello Brenta Nature Park the resort has a well-deserved reputation.

The slopes surround the village and offer a wide range of challenges to suit all abilities.

When we skied there the weather was cloudy with snow flurries and medium strength winds, there was plenty of tree lined slopes to shade you from the weather as well as expansive open pistes above the forests.

We spent the morning exploring the runs above the village in the shadow of the Monte Pancugolo and Monte Zeledria peaks.

Newly installed gondolas and high-speed chairlifts service a collection of red and blue runs, some of the lifts with the added benefit of heated seats.

Madonna di Campiglio. Image © PlanetSKI

Madonna di Campiglio. Image © PlanetSKI

If you are looking for something a little spicier, I would recommend the Miramonti that Plunges down to the village or the Pancugolo.

It is a 950m black run at the peak of the resort which if approached to skier left is a testing run but venture over to the right and you will certainly need to “bring your A-game”.

Our afternoon was spent on the opposite side of the resort which is serviced by the Groste gondola and chairlifts of Monte Spinale.

The pistes at the peak of Passo Groste do take the brunt of the wind but the lower slopes that descend off Monte Spinale were more shaded from the weather.

Madonna di Campiglio. Image © PlanetSKI

Madonna di Campiglio. Image © PlanetSKI

Chalet Fiat is well worth a visit, this mountain top restaurant at the peak of Monte Spinale is a homage to all things Fiat, outstanding architecture, and superb views.

Madonna di Campiglio. Image © PlanetSKI

Madonna di Campiglio. Image © PlanetSKI

Madonna Di Campiglio has a wide variety of slopes to suit all tastes, if your thing is to bash out the miles its worth taking a day out from Passo Tonale and visit.

Madonna di Campiglio. Image © PlanetSKI

Madonna di Campiglio. Image © PlanetSKI

See below for the full earlier article on Passo Tonale from Ian:

The adventure begins.

Many UK skiers, including me, have not been able to hit the slopes for a couple of winters.

It has been,er, rather frustrating, and that is something of an understatement.

The snow in this part of Italy has not been so good lately, but no matter I just wanted to get my skis on and see an area I had not visited before.

The front facing slopes of Passo Tonale seem ideal to give the legs a shake down and hopefully get my skiing back on point.

Traversing the multiple chair lifts that supply the mixture of blue and red runs is ideal for this.

At each edge of the ski area there is a few longer red runs, that descend from Passo Contrabbandieri and Cima Bleis back to the village.

Passo Tonale ski area

Passo Tonale ski area

Like most Italian resorts the slopes are well groomed allowing you open up the speed and enjoy carving out your turns.

No off piste to talk about at the moment, but on piste was pretty darn good after almost 2-years away.

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

With my ski legs back, the afternoon was spent exploring the slopes of Passo Presena.

It’s the highest skiing of the area at 3,000m – there is a red and black that descend from the peak.

The gondola has 3 sections which allows you to enjoy the different slopes without having to ski all the way to the bottom.

There is also a small collection of off piste ‘itinerary’ runs that can be explored when conditions allow.

Sadly not on this visit as the snow conditions weren’t playing ball.

It claims to be one of the best and longest slopes in Europe –  the 11km long slope will test even the fittest legs.

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

As a newcomer to the area I checked out the details of Passo Tonale on the Crystal Sk Holidays website.

Straddling a mountain pass that links the Trentino and Lombardy regions, Passo Tonale is an excellent pick for families and beginners going to Italy.

The 100km ski area has fast lifts and quiet runs that are ideal if you’re just starting out.

There’s even a gentle blue on the Presena glacier, so you can get your first taste of glacier skiing.

And with most of the area sitting above 1,800m high, the snow conditions are usually great all winter.

The small town is mostly laid out along one main road, so it’s easy to find your way around the shops, restaurants and traditional hotels – many of which have family-friendly facilities like pools, kids’ clubs and games rooms.

I’m travelling with Crystal Ski Holidays as there’s a Crystal Childcare based at the Hotel Grand Paradiso, so you can let your little ones have fun with playtime and skiing while you head out to explore the mountain.

Evenings are pretty laid-back, but there are a few livelier bars dotted around the bottom of the lifts for those who want to sip a drink and listen to some live music.

You can also tick off other winter activities like tubing, snowshoe walking, dog sledding and ice skating.

And once a week, families can get together for Fun Kids Evenings, with music, face painting, hot chocolate and a kids’ torchlit descent.

And my choice of apres ski activity?

An evening snow mobile adventure into the mountains.

This guided tour takes you into the heart of the ski area exploring the pistes above the village as well as descending on the tree lined slopes to Ponte Di Legno before making a speedy ascent back to Passo Tonale.

It comes highly recommended.

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Next day the weather has closed in a little and we hoped for some snow fall, but with the wind picking up we were doubtful of much fresh snow.

To Passo Contrabbandieri where there are wide well pisted red runs, that follow the valley back to the resort.

Navigate the front face of slopes and lifts back to the other side of the ski area and we made our way up to longs cruising reds from Cima Bleis, there long reds to enjoy that circumnavigate the Monte Serodine.

These runs are all situated above 2,000m.

There are ideal slopes directly above the village for beginners and intermediates who want to improve their confidence, with a collection of chair lifts accessing a variety of blue and green runs.

After a quick shake down of the legs we headed off to the longer red runs that are located at either side of the resorts, fast and modern chair lifts take you up.

Lunch in the Italian mountains is always special.

Food is usually superb, and at non-mountain prices.

€10 gets you a very decent lunch.

Lasagne for lunch. Image © PlanetSKI

Lasagne for lunch. Image © PlanetSKI

After cruising the runs above the resort we headed up Passo Presena, the highest peak of the area at 3,000m.

There is a red and black run that descend from the peak.

The gondola has 3 sections which allow you to enjoy the different sections without having to ski all the way to the bottom.

When conditions are suitable there are also some itinerary off piste routes on the higher slopes of the glacier.

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Sadly wind was the theme of much of my trip.

Optimistically we headed straight for the slopes at 3000m on the Glacier at Passo Presena, but we were beaten back by the strong winds.

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

We made a retreat to the slopes above the beautiful village of Ponti Di Legno.

Set amongst trees which protect you from the harshest of conditions there is a good collection of red and black runs with a few blues.

The snow was mainly of the man-made variety, but the pistes are well-covered and groomed extremely well.

This area is easily accessed from Passo Tonale and well worth exploring.

Ideal if the weather is unsettled.

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

On my final day the weather front went up a gear.

We saw increased wind speeds in Passo Tonale, to escape this we headed to the little gem of Ponte Di Legno.

Descend from the main resort at 1,883m down to the slopes of Ponte Di Legno which span out from 1,256M up to 2,120m.

Exploring these slopes is an absolute adventure and so different to the runs of Passo Tonale which are all above the tree line.

Ponte Di Legno is mainly tree lines slopes, protected from the wind offering superb snow conditions.

It’s a collection of mainly reds which intermingle with the trees, the slopes and terrain is varied and interesting as the pistes widen and narrow to adapt to the wooded terrain.

Returning to Passo Tonale is easy with a modern telecabine lift that brings you all the way back up to the main resort.

So, despite high winds and somewhat meagre fresh snow had the trip been worth it?

110%.

There is much to explore and enjoy in Passo Tonale and the surrounding area, and one thing is for certain.

I will be back.

Passo Tonale ski area

Passo Tonale ski area

FACT BOX

Crystal Ski Holidays (www.crystalski.co.uk); (020 8610 3123) offers a seven-night half-board holiday at the four-star HotelGrand Paradiso from £728 per person when booked online (based on two sharing) including flights from Manchester to Verona and transfers (price given is for departure on 19th March 2022).

Direct flights available from all major UK airports.  

Prices quoted are correct to the packages at the time of Crystal Ski Holidays issuing on 04/02/22. 

Prices provided are subject to change and have limited availability.

Terms and conditions apply.

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