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Ski Holidays | Lakes Holidays | City Breaks | Mountain Holidays
The Sestriere Via Lattea (Milky Way) ski area combines a total of 400 kilometers of slopes in the border region of the Italian and French Alps. Well-known winter sports locations such as Sestriere are regular venues for World Cups.
Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy over 200 different slopes of all difficulty levels and many other sports offers.
1) General information about the Sestriere Via Lattea ski area
- unites around 400 kilometers of slopes in Italy and France
- 71 lifts
- several snow parks
- Sestriere was the venue for the alpine competitions at the 2006 Olympic Games
With a record 400 kilometers of slopes and 71 lifts, the cross-border ski area Via Lattea clearly outshines its neighbours in Italy. In the heart of the ski area is the well-known Italian Sestriere, which looks back on an unusual history: in the 1930s Giovanni Agnelli, founder of the Italian car company FIAT, had two hotels built as affordable accommodation for his employees and two cable cars. In 2006 one of the towers served as accommodation for the Olympic skiers who fought the alpine competitions on the slopes of Sestriere. For recreational athletes, the Olympic slopes and those regularly used for World Cup descents are among the greatest challenges in the Via Lattea ski area.
Other places in the ski area on the Italian side are Pragelato, Sansicario, Cesana, Clavière, Sauze d’Oulx and Oulx. Across the French border is the Montgenèvre ski area, which is also part of the “Milky Way” (the German translation for “Via Lattea”). With a total of 96 km of easy blue pistes, 220 km of medium-difficult red pistes and 84 km of challenging black pistes, there is really something for everyone here. 71 lifts ensure the smooth transport of winter sports enthusiasts. This offer has been awarded 4 out of 5 stars by the experts at SnowTrex. Snowboarders can choose from several snow parks and cross-country skiers will find the trails for the 2006 Winter Games in Pragelato.
The Via Lattea ski area extends over an altitude of between 1,380 and 2,823 m, which makes it one of the highest ski areas in Piedmont, Italy. The season, which starts at the beginning of December and ends at the end of April, is correspondingly long. The average snow depth during the season is 37 cm in the valley and 82 cm on the mountain. A lot of snow falls in December when up to 93 cm of snow is measured on the mountain. If the flakes should fall out, snow cannons help: They can cover up to 60 percent of the slopes with snow. SnowTrex experts have given snow reliability 4 out of 5 stars.
With 99 sunny days per season, Via Lattea is slightly above the Italian average. In order to increase the chances of getting the sun, it is best to take your winter holiday in January, when the sun shines on an average of 23 days.
2) Via Lattea ski area map
3) Skiing in the Via Lattea ski area
With a total of 400 kilometers of slopes, every skier will find their personal highlights in the Via Lattea ski area. The Gran Pista in Sauze d’Oulx, which leads from Sportinia through a sparse larch forest, and the challenging “La Croce” run from Colle Bercia to Cesana are among the most beautiful slopes. The longest descent leads from the 2701 m high Monte Fraiteve near Pragelato over 7 km into the valley to Sansicario. Relaxed practice opportunities on blue slopes await at Sauze d’Oulx and Pragelato.
There is an Olympic feeling on the Pista Giovanni Agnelli on which the Olympic slalom 2006 was held. It is illuminated in the evening until 10 p.m. and offers particularly long skiing fun. The most demanding slopes, which are regularly used for World Cup descents, begin below Monte Motta at an altitude of 2,823 m and at the neighboring Col de Sises, the site of the giant slalom competitions.
Children can make their first descents on small hills in the children’s area in Sauze d’Oulx and in the children’s area in Sansicario. No wonder that the huge selection of slopes for beginners and experts received a top rating of 5 out of 5 stars from the experts at SnowTrex, while the offer for families was awarded 4 out of 5 stars.
Snowboarders and freestylers can choose between three large snow parks in Sestriere, Sauze d’Oulx and Montgenèvre, which will satisfy beginners and experts alike. In Montgenèvre there are not only various obstacles and jumps but also two boarder cross routes. Freeriders shouldn’t miss the Olympic mogul slope in Sauze d’Oulx.
Skiers who prefer to be away from the slopes will find plenty of opportunities for freeriding descents and ski tours in the Susa Valley, especially at Sauze d’Oulx, Pragelato and Montgenèvre. Heliskiing takes you by helicopter into particularly remote valleys, where the finest untouched powder snow awaits freeriders.
Cross-country skiers can run in Pragelato on the trails for the 2006 Winter Olympics. The high-altitude cross-country ski run in Montgenèvre is also highly recommended, with fantastic views over the Alps.
4) Expert evaluation
Thanks to the huge selection of slopes, the Via Lattea ski area can look forward to a top rating of 5 out of 5 stars for advanced and beginners. The equipment with lifts, the guaranteed snow and the offer for families and snowboarders are each rated with 4 out of 5 stars. Winter sports enthusiasts can draw on unlimited resources in the region around Sestriere: The ideal conditions for a varied ski holiday are offered here!
5) Off-piste activities
With around 60 mountain restaurants and ski huts, your stomach won’t growl in the Sestriere Via Lattea ski area. With a wonderful view, you can dine in Raggio di Sole on Monte Motta and in Capanna Mollino at the top station of the Lago Nero lift.
Mainly Italian classics such as pizza and pasta as well as rustic Savoyard dishes are served. Recommended for the evenings include “La Baita” and “Il Ritrivio” with their hearty meals from Piedmont, while “Pinky’s Pizzeria & Bar” has a casual atmosphere.
The après-ski offer is relatively tame. Since many Italian and French winter sports enthusiasts only come to the Via Lattea ski area on the weekends, it is rather quiet during the week before the big party in the cult disco “Tabata” takes place on the weekends. Good places to go for a drink or two after the last departure are the bars “Prestige”, “Black Pepper” and “The Brahms” in the center of Sestriere.
In addition to the ski slopes and the snow park, the Olympic resort of Sestriere has a whole range of other offers for active guests, such as a large ice rink and a swimming pool. A fantastic experience is the guided “Skidoo” tour with the snowmobile through the snow-covered mountains, which even non-skiers can enjoy. A dog sled tour is fun for the whole family. Various day spas invite you to spend relaxing hours with sauna, steam baths and massages.
Sauze d’Oulx is the cradle of Italian winter sports and, due to its location, likes to call itself “Il Balcone delle Alpi” (the balcony of the Alps). It is the ideal starting point for winter hikes and snowshoe hikes. Ice climbing is also offered here. A hike in Claviere leads to the former border crossing between Italy and France, where the borders have long been open, but the old border houses still stand.
6) Places in the ski area
The largest and most important place in the Via Lattea ski area is Sestriere . Once built by Giovanni Agnelli for the FIAT workers, Sestriere is now one of the largest winter sports resorts in the Italian Alps. Sestriere is also popular in summer. Vacationers are drawn to the highest golf course in Europe. The Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia have used the city in the mountains several times as the destination of a mountain stage. Everyday life takes place around Piazza Agnelli and along Via Pinerolo, where numerous shops invite you to go shopping.
For speed lovers, a visit to Cesana Pariol is worthwhile: The Olympic bobsleigh runs are still used today for training professionals and for various competitions. On other days it is possible to take a seat behind an expert in the bobsleigh and whiz through the ice channel yourself at over 100 kilometers per hour.
A day trip to the underrated city of Turin is always recommended. It offers numerous splendid historical sights such as the castles of the Dukes of Savoy, the Turin Cathedral with the famous Shroud of Christ and the Mole Antonelliana, the symbol of the city.
7) Arrival in the Via Lattea ski area
Coming from Germany, the journey usually takes place via Switzerland and the Chiasso border crossing to Italy. Travelers from Bavaria can alternatively choose the Brenner route through Austria and follow the E35 to the E70 on Lake Garda. At Brescia you have to change to the A4 in the direction of Turin. The A9 coming from Chiasso meets the A4 near Milan. Now everyone goes to Turin. In front of the city, change to the A55 and finally to the E70 towards Bardonecchia. Shortly before the border, the Oulx exit leads directly to the Via Lattea ski area.
The European main train connection Paris – Turin runs through the Val Susa and makes the journey by train surprisingly easy. From Germany, for example, you can take the Thalys or TGV to Paris and from there the TGV directly to Oulx. Alternatively, there is a connection from Porta Nuova train station in Turin.
The nearest major airport is in Turin, 90 km away. It is possible to arrange a pick-up with the hotel, take a taxi or take the train to Oulx.
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