Milky Way Ski Holidays
The Milky Way (or Via Lattea as it is known in Italian) is a famous ski area that spans the two countries of France and Italy and includes the resorts of Sauze d’Oulx, Sestriere, Claviere Pragelato, Sansicario, Cesana (all located in Italy) and Montgenevre (located on the French side of the border). If you were wondering whether it was possible; the answer is yes, you can actually ski across two countries in one day! Wouldn't it be great to visit Italy and yet still be able to ski across the border to Montgenevre for a tasty lunch before heading back for a traditional Italian-style dinner?
The Milky Way is an incredibly impressive ski area and is actually larger in size than a lot of other ski areas in Europe. It covers 400 kilometres of snowsure slopes and has a lot of off-piste opportunities. It also peaks at a very impressive 2,823 metres at its highest point (Mount Motta) and 2,035 metres at its highest ski terrain located in Sestriere. It is no surprise then, that it was selected as the host of the 2006 Winter Olympics with the resorts of Sestriere, Cesana and Sansicario playing the main hosts for most of the games. Hosting the Winter Olympics did bring the Milky Way to light as well as the additional benefits of the new installation of lifts and additional facilities.
The resorts in the Milky Way vary from one another with each resort offering a slightly different experience. Apart from the difference in size, they each offer a uniquely different atmosphere; as some of the villages are peaceful and calm whilst others are a bit more lively.
Sauze d’Oulx is probably one of the most well-known resorts in the Milky Way. Located on the Italian side of the border, it is a very traditional village with a rich ski history. Its village centre is an impressive mix of old traditional buildings, cobbled streets and modern architecture. Definitely a charming sight for appreciators of culture. Sauze d’Oulx is also the resort to be at for an impressive apres ski experience in the Milky Way.
Montgenevre is the Milky Way’s only French resort. Less popular and a lot smaller than most other resorts in France, Montgenevre is a total surprise package. Its high altitude allows it to have one of the best snow records in the French alps. It is also appreciated as a hidden gem by some, thanks to its incredible charm, accommodation location on the slopes and its overall adorable atmosphere. Montgenerve is the ideal ski destination with, fantastic ski slopes, excellent conditions and non-crowded slopes.
Claviere is reputed to be one of Italy's oldest resorts. It has an incredibly preserved traditional centre with modern buildings and infrastructure seamlessly blended in. It is family-friendly and like the other smaller resorts on the Milky Way, it is much favoured by beginners and cautious intermediates.
Sestriere is the highest point of the Milky Way and is best positioned in the ski area for skiers aiming to cover the entire area. Sitting just below Mount Motta, it is centrally located with Sauze d’Oulx, Sansicario and Cesana on one side and Claviere and Montgenevre on the other. With red and black runs it is most suited to advanced skiers and confident intermediates. It has some of the best snow conditions in the area due to its north-facing slopes. It's serious business at Sestriere; it is known as the first purpose-built resort for sporting reasons only. It was also one of the locations of the Winter Olympics.
Sansicario was also one of the locations of the Winter Olympics, Located in between Sauze d’Oulx and Cesana, it was on the Winter Olympics downhill run from the 2701m summit of Mount Fraiteve. Interestingly, its terrain suits almost all skiing levels from advanced blacks to beginners on its nursery slopes.