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The enchanting ski resort Adamello Ski is perfect for off-piste skiing.
Photo by archivio Cain Olsen
Freeride - Cantiere
Photo by Cain Olsen
Passo del Dito
Photo by archivio Cain Olsen
Ponte di Legno - Tonale and the offpiste descents Cantiere, Cima Le Sorti, Paradiso, Passo del Diavolo, Passo del Dito
Photo by archivio Cain Olsen
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Off piste skiing Ponte di Legno - Tonale, Italy


The Adamello Ski resort is one of the most famous ski resorts in Italy for off-piste skiing. Local Mountain Guide Cain Olsen introduces the classic descents.

The ski resort Adamello Ski is famous for being one of the best off-piste areas in Italy and in 2007 the network of pistes at Ponte di Legno (1257m) and Passo del Tonale (1883m) were joined together thanks to a new cable car.

As a result the freeriding opportunities is this sunny resort which borders the regions of Lombardy and Trentino Alto Adige have been significantly increased. Where before you had to return on foot or by hitchhiking, now you can make of use the efficient network of lifts and ski all day without having to worry about how to get home.

Another positive aspect of the Adamello ski resort is that even when there is little snow, the majority of the off-piste itineraries remain in condition thanks to the fact that they face north.

There is certainly something for everyone here with a fine selection of itineraries of all difficulties including those suitable for beginners. The minimum pre-requisites are being able to master red pistes, as well as having a good dose of enthusiasm. After the first couple of turns in powder snow, you'll discover that things aren't as difficult as they first seem.

The itineraries described here are the classic, most famous routes. If you want to push further still and ascend upwards with either skins or snowshoes, then you'll be greeted by another dozen or snow fantastic freeride trips. But more of that next time...


Perhaps the most famous off-piste route on the Tonale, Fuoripista Cantiere tackles the upper slopes of the beautiful Val Presena. Also known as Sgualdrino, this valley is a true paradise for off-piste skiing. In the 1970's the owners of the ski resort senses its potential and built a chairlift which from half-way down the itinerary transported skiers back up to Passo Paradiso. Unfortunately the chairlift has been closed for a number of years but hopefully a new lift will enable a new "freeride" area to be established just as in many other alpine ski resorts.
Cima Le Sorti
Cima Le Sorti is one of the few south-facing offpiste descents. Which translates into: pure fun with good snow and low temperatures, slush when the temperature rises! Here are two itineraries, the first is better suited to skiers seeing that you have to push a fair bit to reach Bocchetta Bleis. The second, better suited to snowboarders, is slightly shorter and takes a long diagonal line beneath Cima le Sorti to join up with the preceding itinerary.

A great wide, north-facing slope with a series of different descents. The Paradiso is ideal terrain to learn off-piste skiing seeing that you can return to the groomed piste whenever you want. This itinerary is almost always in condition, even when there is little snow. Thanks to the new cable car which substituted the old one, you can ski down this route again and again without having to queue for ages.

Passo del Diavolo
The name may arouse fear, but after a few ?Paradisi?, no one fears the devil! I clearly remember the first time I descended this itinerary with Andreas Sarchi, whilst training to become a Mountain Guide. When we reached the col I looked down towards Tonale: it seemed extremely steep! Since then I've skied it hundreds of times, at times accompanying clients who've been off-piste skiing only twice in their lives, and I always smile down onto the slope which is now a part of me.

Passo del Dito
Passo del Dito is one of the most desired off-piste itineraries in the Alps, a descent for many but nevertheless not for everyone. The +50° upper section is no wider than two meters across and this is best descended with a short abseil, nerves of steel and excellent skiing technique. The view from the road which joins Ponte di Legno to Toanle below is worrying, it seems almost vertical! The best skiers side-step down the first couple of meters (snow conditions permitting), but we nevertheless recommend you take with you all the necessary gear for an abseil.

The routes described provide a general idea of the offpiste itinerary. It is worth bearing in mind that freeriding is a sport which is exposed to the mountain risks. It is for this reason that before embarking on this itineraries you must have all the right equipment, be good skiers and have all equipment for a self-resuce. Skiers must also have an excellent knowledge of the following:
- type of off-piste terrain
- possible dangers (avalanches, crevasses, icy slopes, sheer drops)
- avalanche bulletin
- other information specific for these itineraries.

The local Mountain Guides operate on this terrain and will be pleased to accompany you on these freeride itineraries or teach you how to ski offpiste, the basics of ski mountaineering and self rescue after an avalanche (use of rescue beacon, shovel and probe).

Getting there

From Trento - motorway A22 (Brennero/Modena) north towards the Brennero, exit at S.Michele all'Adige; continue along the SS43 towards Passo Tonale to the bridge at Mostizzolo (4 km after Cles), then turn onto the SS42 and continue to Passo Tonale (motorway - Passo Tonale 90km).
From Milan - motorway A4 (Milano/Venezia) east towards Venezia, exit at Ospitaletto; continue along the SP19 towards Valle Camonica, at Rodengo Saiano take the SP510 and continue to Piancamuno. From here take the SS42 towards Passo Tonale (Milano - Pontedilegno 180km).


From Trento - take the train to Malè (Ferrovie Trento Malè), then continue by bus to Passo Tonale.
From Milano - take the train to Brescia (Ferrovie dello Stato), change here for Edolo (Ferrovie Nord di Milano). At Edolo continue by bus to Passo del Tonale.

As with all off-piste itineraries, rescue beacon, shovel and probe.

Snow forecast

Adamello Mountain Guides





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