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Skiing at Passo del Tonale


Today we skiied at Passo del Tonale in the Adamello-Presanella mountains. Between Lombardy and Trentino, Passo del Tonale is a natural amphitheatre that marks the border between the Val di Sole and Vallecamonica. It is open to the sun and has breathtakingly fantastic views, with an altitude from 1884 m to 3100 m, between the Ortles-Cevedale and Adamello-Presanella mountain ranges.


On Wednesday we returned to Donico ski resort. On Monday it was becoming slushy and when we arrived on Wednesday morning the surface was shiny and we didn’t like the look of it. Without internet access or tourist information we didn’t know what to do so we headed over the Pressolano mountain pass to try the Colere resort instead. Driving the Passo del Pressolano took a few years off my life and on the way down the hairpin bends hugging the mountain side I asked my husband to take over the driving. At the chairlift for the resort we discovered that it’s too challenging for beginners. So, we drove back again, costing me more years, and debated whether to ski at Donico or abandon.

We chose to ski and had a difficult time skiing on ice at Donico. The skis allocated for our children at the rental office were unsuited to their weight and slipped off while they slid out of control on the ice. We changed skis and they had another private lesson to improve their skills and confidence. We skiied for about 5 hours. It was difficult and not much fun. I spent most of the time frightened about losing control on the ice. The highlight was stopping at a little bar on the ski run. The bar is run by the woman that lives above it and has locals that drink coffee there. It felt cosy and welcoming. It was also priced the same as any bar in town, with 1€ espressos. The bar tender was friendly and had the lovely manners that typify Lombardy.


We wanted to ski again today but not at Donico and we found out about the good snow conditions at the top of the Valle Carmonica. We discovered online that Passo del Tonale ski resort has lots of long ski run including plenty for beginners. It was over 90 minutes drive from Lovere so we debated whether to put ourselves through being locked in a confined space with our children for over 3 hours. It was definitely worth it!


It was much more expensive than Donico (130€ for lift passes for the 4 of us and 70€ for ski hire) but the infrastructure was far greater too and so was the fun! We headed to the far right of the resort and skiied the blue runs, catching chair lifts right up to the top of the ridge and skiing down about 4 km. The snow was wonderful. There were a lot of people but they were polite and didn’t crash into us. On the red run at the top of the ridge our children both wiped out on the very steep section and both times kind strangers picked up their skis for them.

We stopped at the bar up the top and were disappointed that it was touristic and could have been anywhere in the world with loud music and trait display. The bar at Donico was lovely and authentic by comparison.

Skiing at Passo del Tonale was the best skiing experience any of us have ever had, by far. On the drive home my husband and I reflected that neither of us ever imagined we would ski in the north of Italy. Many thanks to my expat assignment!


One comment on “Skiing at Passo del Tonale

  1. Pingback: Book Reflections – The Italians by John Hooper  | strivetoengage

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2016 by in Europe and tagged , , , , , .
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