Passo Tonale Ski Resort
Sitting between Lombardy and Trentino in the Val di Sole (which translates as Sun Valley and does indeed, live up to its moniker) is the lovely ski village of Passo Tonale. At 1,883 metres altitude, it is one of Italy’s highest ski resorts. The wider ski area was initially known as Adamello Ski but has recently been officially recognised as the Pontedilegno-Tonale ski area; which also includes the smaller villages of Ponte di Legno and Temù, including the Presena Glacier. Passo Tonale is also known to have some of the most snow-sure slopes in Italy as well as having a great snowfall record which makes for a fantastic skiing experience overall. Passo Tonale has a relaxed atmosphere in general. The resort was purpose-built just for skiing due to the fantastic skiing conditions in the surrounding area and over the years, it has continued to see steady improvements such as its impressive snowmaking facilities and quick lift networks. The resort is becoming quite the popular skiing destination in Italy as a result of the aforementioned factors and improvements.
Passo Tonale is well received as a family-friendly resort, providing a lot of fun activities for the whole family. It also draws in a lot of snow sports enthusiasts with its two cross country skiing centres located in Lombardy and Trentino, respectively. There are up to 30 kilometres of tracks dedicated to Nordic skiing and the ski area also features a snow park for snowboarders, great off-piste opportunities for freeriders and illuminated runs for night skiing. Nonetheless, Passo Tonale isn’t just all about skiing and snow sports. There are a good number of non-ski activities and apres-ski spots for everyone to indulge in from fantastic spas and wellness centres to traditional restaurants which serve authentic tasty food.
The ski terrain here covers just over 100 kilometres of pistes between Passo Tonale, Ponte di Legno, Presena Glacier and Temù. With a significant number of its pistes graded between blue and red pistes, Passo Tonale caters to beginners and intermediates, however, there are a number of red and blacks that appeal to experts and seasoned skiers. In most cases, the majority of the visitors to Passo Tonale usually first make their way to the south-facing slopes of the resort. There are several easy blue runs and even the reds on this side of the resort are relatively easy to race down, so you would find both beginners and intermediates here. However, we have provided a bit more information on other areas to explore:
Intermediates should take the Bleis chair lift to a few easy reds on the left of the mountain. They are relatively short but a lot steeper than other reds and represent a good step up from the easy blues and a further confidence builder. Feeling a bit more confident? Leave the south-facing slopes and head west of the resort for the Presana gondola which takes skiers 3,000 metres up the Presena Glacier and take the red piste back down to the village. It is a relatively easy but speedy cruise back down. Passo Tonale is home to one of the most famous ski slopes across the European Alps. The Pista Paradiso is a challenging 3-kilometre black descent down the Presena Glacier, starting at an altitude of 2,585 metres. With a maximum gradient of 45%, this run is strongly recommended only for well-seasoned experts. Seasoned and experienced skiers can also find red and black pistes located within the tree-lined ski area in Ponte di Legno. Particularly a great place to ski especially during heavy snowfall as open spaces may have poor visibility, the tree lined areas are a lot easier to ski within. For adventure seekers in search of more pistes to bash, catch the 45-minute shuttle bus to Marilleva for access to its 150 kilometres of varied pistes. Only available on the Combi 1 lift pass. There are off-piste opportunities abound, in Passo Tonale however, a local guide is very highly recommended. There are three well known off-piste routes at the resort ( which are also shown on the ski map), however, it is very important to note that these off-piste areas are not covered by the ski resorts snow patrol and are not avalanche controlled.
Passo Tonale has a great south facing snow park located at an altitude of 2000 metres accessible via the Valena chairlift. Suited for all skill ability levels, there are beginner, intermediate and expert areas that come with a ski-cross slope. The park is decked out with more than 20 different kickers, rails, boxes, corners and much more. The beginner’s area also has beginner level obstacles for easy adaptation.
There is also a lovely chill-out area taking full advantage of the south-facing slopes and the sun. The chill-out zone has lots of music and deckchairs for relaxing and taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountain range.
Freeriders with a love for sweeping long runs and wide-open pistes will have their fill of Passo Tonale and then some. The ski area has several fantastic free riding as well as off-piste opportunities but taking a guide is very strongly advised. There is a wide-open, 4-kilometre piste to Ponte di Legno coming down from Passo Tonale that is usually not busy and usually quite free on most days even in the high season.
The pistes at Passo Tonale are best suited to beginners and intermediates who would find it easy to navigate down the wide-open blues. For example, the 3-kilometre Viabiolo piste is only just steep enough for boarders to keep a steady but speedy pace while linking turns; it’s a great run and it also makes for good practise and confidence building.
Snow Conditions in Passo Tonale
The Pontedilegno-Tonale ski area and Passo Tonale, in particular, is one of Italy’s most snow-sure resorts. Here is some information on its snow conditions;
With most of the slopes at Passo Tonale well above 2,000 metres altitude, you can expect excellent snow conditions. With a good number of its slopes north-facing, the ski area also benefits from the preservation and accumulation of snow throughout the season. Situated at 1,121 metres altitude and located 600 metres below Passo Tonale, the ski area around Ponte di Legno village may not consistently have an excellent snow reliability record, being the lowest sitting resort in the Pontedilegno-Tonale ski area, however, the resort has up to 460 snowmaking cannons which services every single slope on the resort. Over the past 10 years, Passo Tonale has received an average of 56cm of snow every month, with some months seeing up to 100cm of snow on more than one occasion.
Although it’s not famous for having a raucous atmosphere, there are still several places to enjoy a lively apres-ski in Passo Tonale. Unlike the party central’s in France, there aren’t any parties on the slopes ( for now) but down at the bottom of the slopes in the resort, you can find a couple of places where the lights stay on till late.
No better place to start than at La Baracca. Located in the centre of Passo Tonale and at the bottom of the Vittoria chairlift, it has quite a modern appearance. La Barroca is two storeys of glass, wood, steel and great fun. The bar is located on the ground floor where there is a good selection of drinks as well as tasty pizzas and sandwiches. The restaurant is located on the first floor but you can still order drinks, pizza and sandwiches as well. As the evening draws near you can catch either a DJ set or a live band playing. Very great atmosphere, there may even be tabletop dancing on a busy night. Magic Pub is located at the bottom of the Valena chair and its Alpine themed design and decor make it a popular family stopover in the afternoon. It is open until night and frequented by apres-ski seekers but it is still a great place to have a drink and some enjoy some fun music with the kids in the daytime. Located within the 4-star Grand Miramonti hotel, the bar is open every day until midnight. It is a very cosy spot with great music and a good selection of drinks. Its central location is an added bonus, making it perfect for the apres-ski crawl. La Botte is a very welcoming bar. Great spot for a laugh and a catch up on the latest sporting events on the large screen TV’s. It has a good beer selection and you can order a pizza and sandwich if you fancy a bite of something. It occasionally hosts wine tasting evenings. Overall, it’s a nice and friendly bar with very good prices.
Passo Tonale has a few essential facilities around the resort that cater to the general needs of visiting skiers. We have provided some information about some of the services to give you an idea of what to expect and help point you in the right direction.
There are a few ski hire operators in Passo Tonale where you can hire ski equipment and gear on your ski holiday. However, you can save precious time walking around looking for the right gear and arrange your ski hire directly from us at Erna Low. We can easily and conveniently arrange any equipment hire for your holiday. Our partners have top quality, well-known brands so leave the trouble of searching around us and secure your equipment online and pick them up when you arrive.
You can secure your Passo Tonale ski pass directly from us at Erna Low. The ski passes can also be bought over the counter at the ticket offices in Passo Tonale, however, if you would like very much to avoid queuing ( especially in peak season) why not secure your ski pass online and travel with peace of mind knowing all you have to do when you arrive is pick them up and head for the slopes. With over 70 years in the ski holiday industry, we have built and maintained great relationships with ski resorts and other ski operators across Europe for many years and can assure you get some of the best possible rates. Contact us now to secure your ski pass for Passo Tonale.
Passo Tonale has a good selection of spas and wellness centres to choose from. Getting a massage, relaxing in saunas and steam rooms are some of the best ways to unwind and recover from a day ( or days) of hurtling down the slopes. The Grand Hotel Paradiso has an amazing spa within its premises featuring a heated indoor swimming pool, spa, hammam, sauna and hot tub. An interesting feature is its private spa which is available for booking exclusively for one or two. It also has professional massage therapists offering an extensive range of treatments. It is located just in front of the main slopes in Passo Tonale and Ponte di Legno; it is very hard to miss. La Torretta is a family-run hotel just opposite the Valena slopes in Passo Tonale. It is also host to a recently built modern spa with amazing features including an outdoor sauna and hot tub offering panoramic views of the mountain range in the distance; a particularly enjoyable experience at sunset or on a clear starry night. The spa also features sensory aromatherapy, Kneipp hydromassages and other therapeutic treatments.
There are a good number of shops in the resort where you can get regular groceries (particularly if you were staying in self-catering accommodation). Most of the food options you can find are local, family-run pizzerias and a few cafes, which by the way are all very tasty. The hotel restaurants are the main food attractions and have great menus however, the booking may be required ahead of time.
As expected from most smaller sized family-friendly resorts, families and children in particular, are catered to and looked after. For its size and profile, Passo Tonale has adequate facilities for children from ski school instructors and child care to entertainment.
In addition to the kindergarten at Passo Tonale, there are also other ski schools with English speaking instructors for children in and around Passo Tonale. For parents of children who intend to enrol their children into ski schools at Passo Tonale, why not allow us to secure your children’s lessons. Our years of experience and long term relationships with certified ski school instructors allows us to easily secure places at great prices for young children visiting Passo Tonale. Feel free to contact us for any further inquiries about the ski schools.
Passo Tonale has an awesome kindergarten area for young children. It is a large open space where children get to play and learn to ski while having fun as the basic techniques are taught to the children in a game. There are English speaking instructors who deliver the lessons for the children and as well as keep them entertained with several other activities, over the duration of their time at the kindergarten. The designated area is fenced and purpose-built for young children. Children can also go tobogganing and snow tubing in the snow.
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There are 41 slopes across the mountain range in the Pontedilegno-Tonale ski area with altitudes ranging from 1,121 and 3,016 metres. Panoramic wide-open slopes can be found in the ski areas surrounding Passo Tonale and Temù while the slopes in Ponte di Legno run through a densely wooded forest. The Presena Glacier’s north-facing slopes ensure the season kicks off from November to mid-May. It is generally suitable for all skill levels however, the majority of its pistes are more favourable to beginners and intermediate ski levels. The Pontedilegno-Tonale ski area is well known for its very good snow conditions which are in no small part, the main reason why the Italian national ski team trains at Passo Tonale.