Passo dello Stelvio - in winter
Usually closed in winter from November to June
The Passo dello Stelvio (Stelvio Pass) connects Vinschgau with Valtellina and is considered one of the most adventurous and twisty of the Alpine passes. The 48 vertiginous serpentines of the north-east ramp, built by the Austrian Empire, are some of the most impressive constructions, and still lure the staunchest of mountain climbers. Because the road is impossible to keep clear in winter, the high-altitude ski area at the Stelvio Pass is open only in summer and autumn. There, at 3,450 metres, you can pit your carving skills on the slopes against some of the world’s best.
The summer months in the Alps are traditionally the busiest on the passes – but visually, wintertime in the mountains holds a far greater appeal. While the pass roads go into hibernation and their snaking contours only appear as silhouettes beneath a blanket of snow, the corners and bends of the cleared and open Alpine crossings stretch like black ink marks over the white landscape. During my winter trip in the mountains I often don’t know what’s in store for me and my camera around the next corner: the monochrome whiteout or the ultimate calligraphic contrast. It is this seasonal paring-down to the very essence – the curves as a part of the Alpine topography, the black strip of asphalt in its purest form – that constantly reminds me of the artistic achievement of the architects and engineers.