The Mille Miglia is coming to the Alps- Coppa delle Alpi.
The organisers of the Mille Miglia in Italy have announced that the Coppa delle Alpi will take place across 15 of the most spectacular Alpine passes in Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany in early December.
The 2019 edition of the Coppa delle Alpi by 1000 Miglia, the first winter regularity race for vintage cars organised by 1000 Miglia S.r.l., will take place from 4th to 7th December.
The competition, officially included in the Italian Great Events Championship, will consist of four legs through some of the most evocative mountain locations in Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
Today the Gran San Bernardo Pass has reopened to the public. The pass, at 2,450 meters links Valais in Switzerland to the Aosta Valley in Italy. Lots of people came to the open ceremony. The opening works started by Anas personnel in April. Snow has accumulated on the sides of State Road 27 up to 12 meters of height.
Anas personnel started opening a gap in the snow reaching a stretch about 4 km from the state border. As the road was cleaned, the side barriers and vertical signs were also restored, removed before closing and stored to avoid damage due to possible avalanches.
A drive through the Nufenenpass (Passo della Novena) and Grimsel Pass in Switzerland.
I like having our summer holidays, whenever possible, near the mountains. And each trip, we need to try a new mountain pass. That is part of the adventure!
A couple of years ago, the idea was to stop by at Interlaken, on our way back from Lago di Como. Looking online, the best way to go was via the Nufenenpass (Passo della Novena) and the Grimsel Pass. The Grimsel Pass is very well known by everyone I’ve asked about, but the Nufenenpass, not so much. Some friends of us that have a house in Moltrasio, and whom their father lives in Lago di Como and knows ‘all the mountain passes’, have not heard of the Nufenenpass, but we’ve checked it out online and he suggested me that it should be fine as it was paved.
Looking in Google Maps, the pass seemed pretty wide enough for two cars – which was what I wanted to see, but I did not see too much of a guardrail on the side. Another option was to go towards Airolo and then Andermatt and take either the St Gotthard Tunnel, or the St Gothard pass. The St Gothard Tunnel was not an option, as this was a Saturday, where you can be stuck for hours. On our way from Engelberg to Lago di Como, we did the St Gothard Pass, which was very nice. It is very busy too, but at least the traffic goes through.
Going back this way, we should have taken afterwards the Furkapass, which is a very renown way to go – mostly for bikers and cyclists alike!
The clearing work is continuing ahead of the summer opening
The exceptional snowfall, even out of season, forced us to postpone the opening of the main passes in Alto Adige, after a particularly rainy winter. These days the clearing crew is working on the Rombo Pass, on the border with Austria, on the Stelvio Pass, Passo Stalle and Passo Pennes. The snow is able to form walls of 10-12 meters. On the Rombo pass, at an altitude of 2,500 meters, the snow mass accumulated by wind and landslides reached a height of 21 meters.
“Every year mountains of snow are removed. Our road service does its utmost to prepare our mountain roads for the summer season. It is a difficult job but also dangerous because of the risk of avalanches,” stresses councillor Daniel Alfreider . The experts are however confident of opening the passage to transit by the end of May, at the latest in the first days of June.
Our Route des Grandes Alpes to cross from France into Italy
This past summer we went to have a holiday in the mountains. From Chamonix we were off onto Courmayeur. But it was a Saturday – what is considered here in the mountains as a Samedi Noir or Sabato Nero, meaning very long queues to cross the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
This past summer was ridiculously hot – even in the mountains – with the temperature being 31 C in Chamonix in the morning – imagine staying a couple of hours in line to cross the Mont Blanc Tunnel did not seem too much fun at the time.
I’ve asked the evening before some friends I have in Chamonix on how other way we could go – and how about taking the Petit St Bernard Pass. Arnaud Jamson, the deputy director of the Chamonix Tourism Office suggested me to go all around and stop in Megève for lunch, then go to the Lac du Roselend and from there go up to La Rosière to cross into La Thuile through the Petit St Bernard. This is a typical road for motorcyclists and bikers alike – many of these roads have been used by the Tour de France!
As I have a memory of a mosquito, I’ve asked at the hotel’s reception where I could get a good map, and I was told to go into the main street in Chamonix. There is a wonderful books and magazine store – that I could stayed for hours just looking around, where I bought the IGN Map of Route des Grandes Alpes. I love maps and this one was a great addition to my collection.
A Hike for your Bucket List: The Via Alpina crosses 14 of the most beautiful Alpine Passes in Switzerland.
The passes of the Via Alpina
The Via Alpina crosses 14 of the most beautiful Alpine passes and six cantons of Switzerland, with a great variety of cultures, geology and topography. Broad roads give way to exposed ridge paths. The variety of flora and fauna along the route is among the most diverse in the world.
The Via Alpina goes from Vaduz to Montreux in 20 stages, staying north of the Swiss Alps. Over 390 km, hikers enjoy the many highlights that Switzerland has to offer.
While the sections initially pass through relatively flat terrain in St. Gallen, the altitude being climbed increases quite steadily in the Glarnerland. When it comes to that Alpine feeling, the highlight of the route can be found in the Bernese Alps.
Day by day, hikers work their way through majestic mountain landscapes, with each pass crossed opening up a new world. This trail covers a total of 14 passes in six cantons and involves 23’600 m of ascent and 24’800 m of descent.
The route takes hikers to the secluded Surenen Pass, the famous Grindelwald, the Kleine Scheidegg pass with views of the Eiger, Mönch und Jungfrau mountains, the well-visited Blüemlisalp hut, perhaps one of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes in Lake Oeschinen, the enchanting Bunderchrinde Pass and the sleepy Rochers de Naye mountains with unique views of Lake Geneva, to name but a few highlights.
Work is underway to open the Petit St Bernard Pass – up to 7 meters of snow.
LA THUILE – The abundant snowfall on the Piccolo San Bernardo hill, at 2,200 meters above sea level, has led to the formation of a thick layer of snow along the highway that leads to the border crossing with the territory of Savoy, in France. In some sections the snow accumulations reach 7 meters in height. The reopening of the pass is scheduled for the end of May.
ANAS is at work at the Colle del piccolo San Bernardo (Petit St Bernard’s pass) for its reopening. The abundant rainfall on the Piccolo San Bernardo hill, at 2,200 meters, has led to the formation of a thick layer of snow along the highway that leads to the border crossing with the territory of Savoy, in France. In some sections the accumulations reach 7 meters in height.
“The activities are carried out with turbine blades able to cut the compact front, collecting and channelling the snow which is then ejected at a distance of several meters from the roadway using the ejector pipes”.
Skiers heading to the slopes this winter face ‘winterisation’ and ‘ski rack’ charges of up to £179 by car rental companies.
The research by iCarhireinsurance.com, the leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, surveyed the costs of six car hire companies for a week’s car hire, from 27 December 2018 to 3 January 2019, in Barcelona, Geneva, Grenoble, Innsbruck, Sofia and Turin.
The ‘winterisation’ charge, which includes the price of winter tyres and/or snow chains, varies widely and is normally only payable at the rental desk. Hertz in Grenoble, for example, charge £110 to hire a ski rack and £69 for ‘winterisation’ adding £179 to the hire car bill.
The average ‘winterisation’ fee across the six destinations is £37, but travellers could pay up to £74 in Barcelona with Budget. Winterisation is an optional charge in all destinations except for Turin. Here, travellers pay on average £40, and up to £71 with Sixt for this compulsory charge.
When driving to the mountains, it is important to know the laws about carrying winter tyres and snow chains. Not all countries and states or provinces oblige you to wear them. I would suggest you to check before you travel. Even if there were no law for using snow tyres, I would at least recommend taking snow chains, because if you are caught in a big snowstorm, you will need them. If you can buy at least second hand winter tyres, do so. It is an investment, more if you are going to drive to the mountains each ski season.
Also, if renting a car, don’t assume the car will come with snow tyres, even if going to countries full of mountains everywhere, remember to request them when booking your car rental, and also reserve snow chains.
Here is a summary of where snow tyres are mandatory – please you need to do your own search, as this is not by any means 100% accurate- we cannot be held responsible for you deciding not to take winter tyres! Do your own homework!