Passo Tonale is a ski resort located in northern Italy in the Rhaetian Alps and provides, via an advanced lift system linking in to Ponte di Legno, over 100 kilometres of skiing and snowboarding, not including the vast amounts of world renowned off piste skiing to be had.
Sitting at an altitude of 1880 metres, Passo Tonale is a high altitude resort with skiing up to 3030 metres via lifts to the nearby Presena glacier. As a result snow coverage is guaranteed and skiing is possible almost year round. A snow augmentation system of over 200 snow cannons assists in creating natural snow to ensure that the pistes are always in peak condition as standard. The pistes themselves are predominantly wide and sweeping, providing some spectacular views for those who care to take them in, and are often bathed in glorious sunshine making the skiing experience at Passo Tonale that bit more enjoyable. It is however wise to take go out prepared for the cold as the northern Italian wind can be really biting on the more exposed slopes.
The downhill skiing at Passo Tonale is to be enjoyed across 41 slopes. Using the Italian colouring system these are divided into 12 blue, 23 red and 6 black runs. Queue times are generally minimal thanks to the extensive and efficient lift system which is made up of some thirty lifts. In addition there is a snow park for boarders and free stylers, over 24 kilometres of cross country skiing tracks, and designated beginners areas for those just starting out. It is therefore fair to say that the resort caters for the needs of just about all winter enthusiasts.
For beginners Passo Tonale provides a good opportunity to progress quickly and systematically from the lower slopes at resort altitude to the slightly more challenging slopes higher up. This is thanks in part to the excellent local ski instructors who are English speaking, and do not have to contend with long queues and narrow slopes.
Skiers at intermediate level can really come into their own at Passo Tonale by gaining vital confidence in tackling many red runs that may otherwise be classified as Blue elsewhere in Europe. The 4.5 kilometre Alpino is a great run for building self esteem and working those all important muscles needed to progress to advanced level.
Advanced and expert skiers are also adequately catered for here. The 100 kilometres or so of pisted skiing is often enough for most however it would be a shame to visit without taking on the monumental amount of off piste skiing to be found in and around the ski area. To maximise enjoyment and ensure safety it is highly recommended that you go with a local guide as some climbing is necessary to find the best areas and views.
In terms of access, getting to Passo Tonale is not too difficult with many tour operators running package ski holidays to the resort which are great value for money, including flights, transfers, accommodation, lift passes and ski hire. For those looking to do it themselves the best bet is to fly to Bolzano, Trento, Verona, Brescia, Milan or Innsbruck and hire a car. None of these are particularly far from Passo Tonale, although the relatively slow nature of the minor roads linking them to the resort means that you should allow plenty of time to arrive and depart.
Once you get here there are a number of options available in terms of accommodation from hotels and hostels to villas and apartments to rent. In essence there is accommodation to suit all needs and budgets. The food, as you would expect, is good and there are plenty of bars to take in a drink or party a little later should you wish.
In addition to the skiing the resort has an ice rink for skating, designated tobogganing runs, a gym and fitness centre, beauty treatments, skidooing, shops and supermarkets and a swimming pool at nearby Ponte di Legno.
If you do venture to Passo Tonale you’ll be sure to have a great trip.