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We recently returned from an extended family ski trip to the Italian Alps. Having travelled with grandparents, an uncle and two-year-old toddler in tow, I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t hesitate to book a holiday skiing in Italy with the family.
Passo Tonale, our first stop on our Italian getaway, is a small mountain town located at high altitude on a mountain pass in northern Italy. It forms part of the Rhaetian Alps, located between Lombardy and Trentino, and connects Valcamonica and Val di Sole.
A Focus On Family
As a small town, the Apres-ski activities are fairly quiet here, with the main focus of the resort of Passo Tonale being on families and the skiing itself. Instead of lively bars and nightclubs, here you will find a good number of all-inclusive and half-board hotels offering kid’s activities and play areas, as well as spas and indoor heated swimming pools for family fun.
Let me tell you, when travelling with kids, having all your meals catered for and activities arranged is one of life’s finest pleasures. During the day, you can still find several cafes serving hot chocolate and cakes, but the nightlife is generally low-key.
That’s not to say, though, that there’s nothing going on in the evening. During our stay here, we enjoyed night skiing twice during the week as well as a unique concert experience in an igloo up on the glacier.
High-Altitude Skiing in Italy
It’s the glacier that attracts many people to discover this ski resort. Due to its height of 3,000 m, it provides an extended snow-sure skiing season. Plus, a multitude of cross-country, off-piste, and alpine skiing opportunities.
Best Tips & Tools to Plan Your Trip
What we were also delighted to discover is that the glacier is not only limited to expert skiers. It also provides some fun slopes for intermediate skiers at the midpoint of the gondola. The restaurant here is also easily accessible for the family, with a large, free parking lot right outside, so skiers and non-skiers alike can take in those spectacular views.
In addition, the more adventurous can even spend a night in a bubble, isolated up on the mountain.
What also adds to the family attraction is the Fantaski Center, which is situated in the middle of town, right at the base of the slopes. This fully equipped area consists of a small indoor play space, some outdoor jumping castles, snow tubes and toboggans. There is also a travelator where you can pay to leave your little ones while you enjoy some uninterrupted time on the slopes.
Apart from the glacier and the main ski area, which is made up of numerous red and blue runs to suit all levels, with your ski pass you also get access to the nearby town of Ponte di Legno by way of gondolas and a few slopes.
Once here, access to the rest of the slopes at Ponte di Legno is on a four-seater chair lift. If you’re brave enough to face the chair with your kids, there is also a restaurant here along with two outdoor kids play parks. In my opinion, it is a definite must-do day trip for the family.
An Extended Ski Area
For more serious skiers, or those who plan to linger longer, you can even invest in the Skirama Dolomiti pass. This pass gives you access to not only the Ponte di Legno/Tonale ski region but also the neighbouring areas of Madonna di Campiglio, Pinzolo, Folgarida, Marilleva, Pejo, Paganella, Monte Bondone, Alpe Cimbra-Folgaria and Lavarone.
In exploring this vast ski region, which covers some 1,150 kilometres of slopes in some of the best ski resorts in Italy, we also found and fell in love with the quaint village of Madonna di Campiglio. In fact, we so loved it here that we decided to spend an extra four nights as a family discovering this section of the alps.
The village is different from Passo Tonale in that the majority of accommodation options here are apartment-style offerings. Therefore, we took the time to shop for local Italian cheeses, meats and sauces, concocting soups and pastas in the privacy of our own spacious apartment.
Another great feature of the village, particularly for families, is that the numerous lifts and gondolas all branch off the central area. This means you’re always a short walk away from the slopes.
In addition, this central area has an impressive, large play park with numerous swings, slides and jungle gyms for all ages. A bouncy house had even been set up nearby with lounger chairs for parents who needed a rest (yes, you’re looking at me here!)
On the slopes, numerous restaurants beckoned for cosy hours curled up over hot chocolate and chips. Meanwhile, family fun parks dotted throughout the region, with travellators and tubes, provided the ideal place for hours of snowman-making, sledding and learning to ski.
Combining our stays in Passo Tonale and Madonna di Campiglio with the flexibility of the Skirama Dolomiti ski pass meant we were able to really make the most of this extensive ski area. This provided a fun experience for both the groovy grandparents and the tenacious toddler while ensuring a good mix of skiing, downtime and proper family bonding.
Author Bio: Janine Avery is a lover of travel, adventure, wine, and good food. She is passionate about wildlife and conservation and was raised by a bundle of scientists, botanists, researchers, biologists, and creatives. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, she loves travelling with her husband and toddler, taking her audiences on adventures both locally and throughout the globe. She is also the first to confess that she’s been badly bitten by the travel bug.