The Milky Way (also called Via Lattea) ski area is made up of six resorts, five in Italy; Sauze d’Oulx, Sestriere, Pragelato, Sansicario and Claviere, and one just over the border into France; Montgenèvre. The area boasts 400km (250 miles) of skiable piste, that’s an astonishing 212 pistes (7 green, 61 blue, 97 red and 41 black), with 88 ski lifts, not to mention ample opportunity for off-piste skiing.
The Milky Way area is one of the most varied and interesting places to ski and snowboard in Europe, all the resorts were used in the 2006 Turin Olympics and therefore have been home to the best of the best. I’m going to tell you a little bit the Italian resorts that we operate in; Sauze d’Oulx, Sestriere and Claviere, and then saving the best until last (I may be biased since I’m based there!) I will give you some information on the fantastic Montgenèvre and its position in the Milky Way.
Starting with Sauze d’Oulx, this resort really does have it all. It’s got a charming old town with cobbled streets and traditional restaurants and it also has the new town with its lively après scene. Often popular with stag/hen holidays Sauze is without a doubt the best resort in the Milky Way if you’re looking for nightlife. In terms of the piste, with so many red runs Sauze offers a lot for intermediates but there really is something for everyone with a wide open beginners section and plenty of off-piste for the more experienced.
Sestriere is the highest resort in the Milky Way and is an absolute paradise for intermediates, with wide open pistes and a huge amount of red and blue runs. The main lifts in Sestriere are fast lifts and this means you can access all the areas in a relatively short amount of time. Like in all of the Via Lattea you very rarely have to queue for a lift, this makes the accessibility of the resort incredibly good. As the highest resort in the Milky Way as well as the resort’s extensive snow making capabilities Sestriere is often home to some of the best snow in the area and it is well worth the short trip for a day if you are staying in a neighbouring resort.
Claviere is a quaint little village right on the border of France, just one lift and you can ski straight down into Montgenèvre. Claviere is a typical Italian village with its cobbled streets and picturesque main street, although it is not famed for its après scene, in the evenings you can take a ski-doo up to either of the mountain restaurants and enjoy a traditional Italian dinner or you can have a few drinks in the hotel bars. The ski area has a small beginner’s area and boasts a lot of tree runs with many blues and easy reds so it is a perfect place for learners and intermediates. Claviere is a fantastic base to explore the entire Milky Way area with very easy access to the rest of Italy and a direct run straight to France
Last but not least is Montgenèvre, the only French resort in the Milky Way and a fantastic ski area in itself, before you even consider the rest of the Via Lattea. It is a famously snow sure resort with extensive snow making facilities so whatever the weather there is always skiing. The village is very family orientated with lots to do off the slopes including ice-skating, the luge and the spa, but there is also some nightlife in resort including the main bar/restaurant Le Graal and lots of restaurants. On the piste there really is something for everyone, from a large, fenced off beginner’s area and lots of wide, gentle greens to move onto, to long steep blacks such as the Tetras run. In between there is a snow park, and countless blues and reds for intermediates, including the Soureou red at the top of the Rocher d’Aigle lift, perhaps my personal favourite! The fantastic thing about Montgenèvre - where we have numerous hotels and a catered chalet - is that it is an incredibly quiet resort, you very rarely queue for lifts and it is not uncommon to be skiing down a piste entirely on your own.
The Milky Way/Via Lattea is a fantastic place to visit for anyone of any level, with such a large expanse of piste and so many off-slope activites there truly is something for everyone. I hope to see you on the slopes!
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