This compact, value-for-money village, which is one of the closest ski resorts to Milan, lies at 1,880m, with lifts going up to 3,088m. It’s one of the few Italian resorts to be snow sure from late October to mid-June, thanks to the Presena glacier at 3,000m, which is why Italian national ski teams train there. The marked runs are mainly suited to beginners and intermediates, and Passo Tonale is also linked by lift to the slopes of Ponte di Legno and Temù, which offer challenges for the more advanced and 100km of runs in total. All are covered by a single lift pass and the ski area as a whole goes by the moniker Pontedilegno-Tonale. The high slopes of the Presena glacier are accessed by a gondola that goes from Passo Paradiso at 2,585m to Passo Presena (3,000m). The only piste down is red, but non-skiers and nervous beginners can also use the lift to enjoy panoramic views of the Italian Alps.
However, the overriding ski reason to consider Passo Tonale for a ski holiday, is to enjoy the gentle open slopes that form a near-perfect nursery area for learning first turns and gaining confidence, without the threat of more accomplished slope users whizzing scarily by. There are two ski and snowboard schools, Tonale Presena and Ponte Tonale, and both offer a good standard of instruction. When booking a lesson with either, its advisable to ask for an English-speaking instructor. Another option is the international online portal Maison Sport which has local independent instructors on its books.
The resort village was developed mainly to service the slopes, with a road running through the middle and features predominantly chalet-style buildings. It’s generally quiet during the week but comes to life during the Italian holidays and at weekends. One après option is a meal at Hotel La Mirandola, situated way above the main resort. It dates back to the 12th century, and the restaurant has a vaulted stone ceiling, masses of atmosphere and can be reached in the evening by snowmobile. For a warm welcome and friendly service, the three-star, family-run Hotel Adamello is hard to beat for good food, including a Trentino-themed gala buffet and there’s also a children’s games room.