Freeriding, terrain parks and pistes
in Passo Tonale
Freeriders who like wide open pistes with long sweeping runs will love this place, but for those who crave steep gullies and like tight trees will not be so impressed. Whatever you're into though, this is a good freeriders resort. There are excellent freeriding opportunities from the top of the gondola.
There is a great backcountry valley to ride and a lovely reasonably steep couloir if you dont mind a bit of hiking. The locals say that you need a guide, but all you really need is a bit of mountain sense and some basic backcountry kit.
From the Presena Glacier you have some great easy to reach off-piste options, but take care as the resort's not geared up to deal with extreme riders, with the police doubling as mountain rescue and finding it funny if Brits hurt themselves. Drop left off the top of the drags on the glacier and you're treated to a great itinerary route which ends up going through a tunnel and along a winding path back to the bottom of Tonale village (with a ten minute uphill walk back to the lifts). The best piste area is off of the 25 and 26 chairs, which both have long steep red runs and access to some off-piste with a steep hike in.
Freestylers will need to make do with hitting natural jumps or building their own. There are however, lots of cool natural jumps including a number of drop-ins off rock sections and lots of cool snow banks to fly high off. There's a fine pipe near the 23 chair, but it does soften as it's directly in the sun. The lads at 6punto9, the best board hire shop, have built a park in the past and hope to again.
Carvers have a mountain that is simply fantastic. The wide open motorway style piste will let you ride fast and wide across runs that make carving a total joy. The 4km trail to Ponte di Legno is a cool trail while the 3km race runs will test the best.
It's never really busy, not even in high season. If you ride at lunchtime, the mountain's more or less your own private hill. The pistes near the town are almost identical and not very long but are well kept and good for cranking your turns out.
Beginners who are unable to learn how to ride here can only be described as stupid because this place is one of the best resorts in Italy for novices. There are loads of easy-to-negotiate blue runs spread out over wide pisted areas, with lots of nursery slopes all located close to the village centre. The beginner runs are all serviced by chair lifts and lend themselves to beginners perfectly. The piste under the Valent chair curves up at each edge, helping beginners to slow down before making some tentative turns. The Valbiolo piste is steep enough to keep you going while linking turns for 2.7km, and is a great progression piste, but watch out for catching an edge.
If you want to rent some kit, go to the 6 Punto 9 hire shop which rent Burton boards with full body protection thrown in.READ NEXT: Village life, accommodation & nightlife