Fancy a trip across the Milky Way? Well, no spaceship is required – you could be gliding around the Milky Way in Italy this ski season after just a 2 hour flight.
Bordering France in the north-west of Italy, the Milky Way, or ‘Via Lattea’ is found in the Susa Valley, around an hour’s drive from Turin. This was home to the Olympic Winter Games in 2006, leaving a legacy of improvements for skiers and snowboarders, including a new airport experience, improved roads, as well as new facilities on the slopes including lifts and snow parks.
Despite this, most of the season this huge ski area is relatively uncrowded – often you can ski a run in some of the quieter areas and not see another soul. Space to turn. Space to enjoy. Space to relax in this vast area.
And vast indeed it is, with 400km of slopes to choose from and a altitude ranging from 1350-2823m – it’s even possible to ski across the border into France, to the resort of Montgenevre.
WHAT’S NEW IN THE MILKY WAY?
There have been improved links around the ski area in recent years, including a new fast 4 man chair to Sagnalonga improving the link between Monte della Luna and the Sansicario ski area by shaving time off the journey. There is also a new gondola to the centre of Sestriere, so you no longer need to travel down by bubble to Borgata from Sauze d’Oulx to get to Sestriere’s skiing. In fact, you don’t need to get the lift at all – you can ski all the way down to Sestriere on a choice of red or blue runs. And over in Sauze, the painfully slow 1 man chairlift across to Col Basset is gone, with the bowl below opened up with the addition of an express chair to Mt. Fraiteve.
LATE SEASON SKIING IN THE MILKY WAY
The Ski Club of Great Britain have been compiling data on ski resort snow depths for up to 18 seasons. Data for the last season is free to access for non-members, and there are some very interesting findings – for example, did you know that last season, the resorts of the Milky Way have more snow on their upper slopes in March than the upper slopes in Tignes by around 30cm?
Typically, the resorts of the Milky Way follow the patterns of many other resorts, with the average snow depth being at its highest during the spring season compared to December and January, when many people believe there will be a greater amount of snow on the slopes of Europe.
Average snow depth in Sestriere during March is on the upper slopes is 131cm, and on the lower slopes is 64cm, plenty enough to ski on right through until April (see graph below, courtesy of the Ski Club of GB).
THE RESORTS OF THE MILKY WAY
A sunny spot, at 1509m, skiing in Sauze is as much about a hedonistic week in the sun and partying in the bars, as the great skiing on offer. A well-loved resort on the British market, there is something for everyone here, from the Italian traditional village in the old town, to the latest floor fillers in the resort’s bars and clubs. Skiing caters well for beginners and intermediates, with a dedicated nursery area at Sportinia, which retains snow until late into the season.
One of the highest resorts in Italy at 2035m, Sestriere is where the world’s greatest skiers battled it out on the slalom and downhill in the Winter Olympics. There are some great black to challenge the experts as well as a large nursery in resort, with many hotels offering ski-in ski-out options. With north-wet facing slopes, snow is always good here until late into the season, and there is a vibrant night-life in this international purpose-built resort.
This resort sits in the valley and links into Sestriere’s Borgata ski area. Getting up to the Milky Way is easy with this luxury resort having its own cable car link. Night life is mainly focussed around the many hotel facilities, although there are a few local bars to explore.
At 1700m, Sansicario was host to the Women’s downhill during the Olympics and is one of the best-connected resorts, right in the centre of the Milky Way. The resort is also home to the Olympic bobsleigh run, and night-life in this small resort is based mainly around the hotels.
1760m, plenty of north-facing slopes, and locally known as the best snow in the Milky Way, this is a small, traditional village with a low-key night-life. Claviere sits right on the border with France, and there are a choice of lift passes available depending upon your ability.
LAST MINUTE SKI DEALS TO THE MILKY WAY, ITALY
Crystal Ski have some fantastic last-minute deals to a number of hotels across the Milky Way, including staying on an all-inclusive basis for just £335 per person. Prices are for 7 nights, and include flights, transfers and accommodation. Prices are correct at time of publication, but many change due to demand and availability. For the most up to date pricing, please see the Crystal Ski website.
Ideal for great nightlife – stay at the Hotel Miravalle on all-inclusive from £354 per person for 7 nights. Price is based on 2 adults sharing a room and flights from Manchester on Sunday 25 March.
Ski in a Winter Olympics venue – stay in the ski-in ski-out Hotel Du Col on a half board basis from £509 per person for 7 nights. Price is based on 2 adults sharing a room and flights from Manchester on Sunday 25 March.
Stay in an authentic Italian mountain village the the Crystal-run Hotel Grande on an all-inclusive basis from £366 per person. Price is based on 2 adults sharing a room and flights from Manchester on Sunday 25 March.
This post was written by Amy Fletcher, Online Content Executive for Crystal Ski.
If you’ve been skiing in the Milky Way, why not leave us a comment below, or share your experience on our facebook page?