Despite being occasionally (and unfairly) overlooked in favour of some of Western Europe’s better-known ski areas, the Milky Way has been a premium snowsports hotspot for almost a hundred years. With 400km of ski area spread over five gorgeous resorts, there’s no reason to ski the same run twice – although you might want to! What’s more, the area itself straddles France and Italy, allowing you to ski two countries in the same week.
Since hosting the Winter Olympics in 2006 – we said it was world class – the Milky Way has benefited from new high-speed lifts, meaning less time queuing and more time on the slopes.
The Milky Way’s five resorts are Sauze d’Oulx, Sestriere, Claviere, Sansicario and Montgenevre, all of which, apart from Montgenevre, are on Italian soil. The resorts vary in size and liveliness from peaceful, picturesque Sansicario to a vibrant apres scene in Sauze d’Oulx. Here’s our resort-by-resort rundown of some of Europe’s best and brightest:
Sauze d’Oulxoffers quaint, cobbled streets in the old town and arguably Italy’s finest apres offering in the new town.
Where to apres in Sauze d’Oulx
Coming off the piste after skiing down into the resort centre, you’ll find apres bars catering to everyone – from the lively Miravallinos with its bean bags and wacky chairs, to Lampione’s for a glass of prosecco in a classic Italian wine bar.
Where’s good to eat in Sauze d’Oulx?
You’re spoilt for choice when choosing where to eat, with out of this world steaks at Village Cafe, burgers at Ghost or mind blowing flavours at Del Falco’s and La Ortiche. To get started on after-dinner affairs it’s safe to say you’ll end up with a drink in your hand at either New Cotton or The Club.
What’s the skiing like?
As far as skiing’s concerned, there’s a real mix right on your doorstep. From wide, open beginner runs at the top of the Sportina, a huge choice of reds between Monte Triplex and Rocce Nere for intermediates and the Moncrons and Genevris areas offering challenging pistes and off-piste possibilities for the more experienced. Sorted.
Click hereand take in the views in Sauze d’Oulx this season.
Offering slopes suitable for all abilities – as well as being home to the men’s World Cup downhill –Sestriere is a fantastic all-round resort, and Italian snowsports royalty. Purpose-built for winter sports back in the ’30s, it’s also the highest resort in the Milky Way.
Sestriere is renowned for its great conditions: it’s high up, faces north-west and has extensive snow-making equipment. There are lots of open runs on the local slopes, plus some amazing off-piste and a handful of tree-lined slopes.
What’s the apres like in Setriere?
The apres presence in Sestriere isn’t as heavy as in neighbouring Sauze, but there’s still enough to keep you occupied: head to Spotties, Kovo or Blackpepper for a drink.
Where’s good to eat in Sestriere?
For great grub hit up Mama Lia and Il Retrovo. Everyone should try the Grissinopolli served by Nico in Il Centro – a sumptuous steak covered with broken bread sticks – one of the best things we’ve eaten in any ski resort.
Book now and test yourself inSestriere.
Just over the French border, the quaint resort of Montgenevre offers superb links to the wider Milky Way and boasts 300 days of sunshine a year. It has a traditional French Alpine feel and proximity to the Milky Way’s other resorts means skiing is incredibly varied. Ideal for beginners and intermediates, Montgenevre has convenient nursery slopes and an abundance of uncrowded cruising terrain, perfect for gaining confidence. More advanced skiers can take advantage of Montgenevre’s excellent lift links to explore beyond the resort’s boundaries and enjoy some fantastic off-piste opportunities.
Go mountain mad inMontgenevrethis season.
With transfers from Turin taking less than two hours by coach, Claviereis a charming, characterful town and the perfect family resort. In this small but perfectly formed resort, everything you need is a stone’s throw away, too – including Montgenevre, just a 25 minute walk away.
Renowned for excellent snow coverage, short lift queues and empty slopes, Claviere’s got tons of high, open runs as well as lower, wooded slopes – mostly made up of red runs and lower-gradient black slopes – perfect for the Powder Hounds among you.
We think it’s worth grabbing lift passes for Claviere and Montgenevre with one day in the wider Milky Way area, as it’s much harder to get to the other Italian resorts than it is to get to Montgenevre.
Known as ‘the Pearl of the Milky Way’,Sansicario is a relaxing, safe and traffic-free resort, ideally located to explore the whole of the Milky Way in either direction. Pisted runs in Sansicario itself are mostly blues and reds, though you’ll find enough off-piste action to keep you occupied all week. Easy access to Sauze and Sestriere though means that if you crave a challenge, you won’t have to go far to find one.
The perfect place to unwind after a fun-filled day on the slopes, Sansicario’s much more subdued in its atmosphere than some of its Milky Way siblings – don’t expect the apres scene of some of Europe’s bigger resorts, but if ice-skating and swimming followed by pizza and a chill is your idea of a good night, then Sansicario’s right up your street.
Click here to see more of spectacular Sansicario.
So there you have it…
400km of piste, skiable end-to-end in a day thanks to speedy lifts and well-kept snow. One of Europe’s biggest ski areas, amazing landscapes and fantastic weather – we really can’t fault the Milky Way.