Saturday 21 July 2018

Roadtripping to Colle del Nivolet

July-August is my favorite time in Swiss Alps as big passes are open, inviting us, the cyclist to explore them.
Since Switzerland is very close to Italy and France, this time we decided to ride on the top of Colle del Nivolet in Italy. 

Kudos to Kath for taking this amazing shot!

Colle del Nivolet is a gigantic climb in Piemonte, Italy in the heart of the Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso. It was built between 1953 and 1963 to service the two hydroelectric dams up high. The national park, along with the Vanoise National Park, (the connected French side of the highest mountains here), make up one of the largest protected natural areas in Europe. Wikipedia lists it as the 8th highest paved road in Europe at 2641 metres (the summit sign say 2612m). On Sundays the pass is closed for car traffic on last the 6km, which means there is much less car traffic on the entire ascent to the col...

Key facts: ca 120k and 2400m climbing 

Above info was gathered by Matthias, as well as the organization of the whole trip itself. Five of us from BBVC team started our journey on Saturday afternoon with the plan to hit the col on Sunday.

We stayed in Vecchio Mulino di Bairo which I highly recommend.

...and had one of the most amazing dinners in Trattoria Oriente Castellamonte

Well rested, we started our Sunday with early morning wake up, followed by a quick breakfast to hit the road at 7:30 AM.

First kilometers led us through local villages to finally reveal the climb which were were heading for...

The roads were not 'the best' testing our wheels on the way back during fast descends.

 With every kilometer of the climb we were opening our eyes wider and wider astonished by the beauty of the landscape

Last 'flat' part before the climb...

 Looking at all those mountains I didn't even notice that we started the climbing already...

First "checkpoint" and first selfies. I must say that I don't usually make selfies but on this ride I've beaten my record ;-)

... and more climbs to the second "checkpoint"

Summit was almost there, just few meters up. Ritchey road logic was highest so far, 2612m.

On the top we had a small bite but first we had to get there:

First of all we missed the restaurant and rode down from summit. After realizing it we had to climb back and then go by foot on very rocky path to get to the place.

After the lunch it was time to ride down. That's what we've all been waiting for ;-) 
Ride down was super nice... lots of hairpins, switchbacks, speed, mountains, sun and snow. On the way we also hit couple of tunnels where one of them was really long and we got some crazy speeds there. 

OK, enough of text... pictures time:

After finishing the big descend we regrouped and continued via last 15% descend with few switchbacks and some villages leading us back to the hotel.

One of the worst tarmac streets I've ever ridden. With high speeds our wheels really got a solid test there...

 ...and last picture although there are thousands more on my gopro. Impossible to select only the best ones. All of them are great as the place which I highly recommend!
Ending words? Wonderful mountain, I think the most beautiful I've ridden so far, sorry Stelvio... and I know I always say that each time I ride up beautiful col but this time it's different. This pass has something special. Maybe those lakes on the way where you can stop for a second and get hypnotized with the magnificent views? Or it's overall Italian climate - brilliant food, coffee, ice creams and those passes? I don't know but definitely I want to go back there. Already missing it ;-)
Hope you enjoyed the views. Don't hesitate to drop the comment here or email me if you have any questions or need any advice regrading that trip.


  1. Tomasz...superb pics and story. Have put a star on my google map for future.

    1. Thanks Anthony! Go for it, you won't be disappointed!