Father Re shakes Pino awake at four-thirty the following morning. When Pino enters the dining hall, he finds only Father Re and Brother Bormio, a chef who has made Pino breakfast. Father Re gives Pino supplies and sends him on an 18-kilometer hike. He also tells Pino to avoid being spotted by others if possible. Pino is confused by his instructions, but he sets out on his hike. The hike goes smoothly for the first few hours, but then it begins to rain and hail. Pino gets soaked, but he pushes onward anyway. At one point, Pino is spotted by some villagers who shout at him. Frightened, Pino moves along the trail as fast as he can, scared of what might happen. He pushes himself to his physical limits. Finally, he makes it back to Casa Alpina, exhausted.
Eighteen kilometers is roughly equivalent to 11 miles, a significant length at any elevation, but especially when hiking through the mountains. Additionally, Father Re’s warning to Pino about being spotted suggests that the task may be more dangerous than he is letting on. This hike—along with the many other hikes Pino will soon undertake—are crucial to his character development. Not only do they teach him to be mentally and physically tough, but they also transform his body from that of a boy to that of a man.
Pino tells Father Re about his hike and the priest tells him to strip down to his underwear and sit in front of the fire to warm up. The next day, Father Re wakes Pino up at the same time and sends him on another hike. He tells Pino to make sure he isn’t seen. This time, Pino asks the priest why he mustn’t be spotted, but he doesn’t get an answer. Pino departs on his hike and this time weather isn’t a factor. However, the hike is still brutal, and it exhausts Pino. At one point, he decides to climb down to the nearby village of Madesimo. He stops and eats at an inn where he meets a young boy named Nicco. The two briefly discuss their shared love of skiing.
Clearly, Father Re’s hikes serve a purpose of which Pino is not yet aware. It is a testament to Pino’s fortitude that he is able to withstand these grueling trials.
After his meal, Pino looks for Alberto, who lives in Madesimo, but cannot find him. Instead, he returns to Casa Alpina and reports to Father Re. The next day is Saturday and Pino spends it learning to drive with Alberto. At one point, they come across a Nazi patrol that stops them. Alberto and Pino explain themselves and the Nazis allow them to continue, though they don’t seem to approve. The next day, while Pino is driving, he almost accidently runs a Nazi vehicle off the road. He wonders if he should turn around, but Alberto tells him to drive faster and the two of them escape before further trouble can ensue. When Pino tells Father Re about his driving experience, the priest warns him not to provoke the Nazis. The next day, Father Re sends Pino on another hike, this one even harder than the two that preceded it.
Although Pino and Alberto know to be afraid of the Nazis, they lack the maturity and experience to know what the German soldiers are capable of. Meanwhile, Father Re seems as though he’s dealt with the Nazis before and knows exactly how bad matters can get if they are provoked.