Milky Way Ski Holidays

Milky Way Ski Area Overview

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.

Each resort within the Milky Way showcases individuality, presenting a slightly varied experience. Alongside the size distinctions, each resort creates a distinctive atmosphere. Some villages offer a serene and calm environment, while others embrace a more vibrant and lively ambience.

  • Positioned on the Italian side of the border, Sauze d'Oulx is undeniably one of the most distinguished resorts in the Milky Way. This quaint village is steeped in a rich skiing legacy, offering a distinctly traditional atmosphere. The village centre presents a captivating fusion of ancient buildings, charming cobblestone streets, and modern architectural elements—a picturesque treat for admirers of cultural heritage. When it comes to an exceptional après-ski atmosphere in the Milky Way, Sauze d'Oulx stands as the premier resort destination.
  • Renowned as one of Italy's oldest resorts, Claviere showcases an impeccably maintained traditional hub where contemporary buildings and infrastructure harmoniously integrate. Catering to families, this destination, similar to other compact resorts within the Milky Way, is a preferred choice for beginners and skiers approaching the slopes with a degree of caution.
  • Occupying the summit of the Milky Way, Sestriere stands as the optimal hub for skiers aspiring to explore the entire ski expanse. Positioned just below Mount Motta, it enjoys a central location, bordered by Sauze d’Oulx, Sansicario, and Cesana on one side, and Claviere and Montgenevre on the opposite flank. Tailored for advanced skiers and confident intermediates with its red and black runs, Sestriere boasts exceptional snow conditions attributed to its north-facing slopes. Recognized as the pioneer purpose-built sports resort, Sestriere proudly hosted the Winter Olympics, cementing its status as a serious destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
  • Hosting Winter Olympics events, Sansicario is strategically positioned between Sauze d’Oulx and Cesana. It forms part of the Winter Olympics downhill track, descending from Mount Fraiteve's summit at 2701m. Noteworthy is its versatile terrain, accommodating skiers across proficiency levels, from advanced black slopes to beginner-friendly nursery slopes.
  • All accommodation in the Milky Way Ski Area
    Skiing in the Milky Way

    The Milky Way is suitable for skiers of various abilities and preferences. It caters to a diverse audience, ranging from seasoned skiers to beginners and those at intermediate levels aspiring to progress. Families seeking a tranquil retreat and individuals desiring vibrant apres-ski experiences are equally embraced. In particular, snowboarders can appreciate the excellent park in Sestriere. Following the Winter Olympics in 2006, significant enhancements, such as new high-speed lifts connecting Sauze d’Oulx, Sestriere, Claviere, and Montgenevre, have been introduced. This ensures not only reduced wait times but also ample time for skiing across the expansive 400km of snow-assured slopes and 598 marked pistes at the Milky Way ski area.

    With a combined 400km of snow sure slopes to explore across 598 marked pistes, there is something for everyone at the Milky Way ski area.

  • Advanced skiers and adventurous types will find some excellent but daring black runs coming down the slopes of Mount Motta just above Sestriere. Feeling confident? Take on the steep drops and winding pistes to retrace the ski marks left in the snow by Kandahar Banchetta in the 2006 Winter Olympics. The Olympica is another challenging black run coming down Mount Fraiteve into Sansicario; although this run opens up into a red just about halfway down. This was the women's downhill race at the Winter Olympics and is a popular test for skiers in the Milky Way.
  • Intermediates looking to build confidence will feel very much at home in Montgenevre. They can find testing reds that run through the wooded area, particularly the Clavirere run from Pian del Sole. Otherwise, take a chairlift from Claviere out to access the massifs above for some challenging red runs back into the village. Sansicario is excellently positioned as it has convenient ski links to the rest of the Milky Way and its tree-lined runs make for a good winding run down to Cesana.
  • Beginners are well catered for in the Milky Way ski area. The nursery slopes in Sansicario have easy steady blues perfect for beginners and the resort also has a host of reds that can test beginners and help build up confidence. Claviere also has large open runs well suited to beginners and is a favoured destination for beginners in the Milky Way.
  • Fancy some night-skiing during your visit? Night skiing takes place in some of the resorts in the Milky Way so head over to Sestriere or Claviere for some well lit night skiing which may also involve skiing with flares which makes a beautiful spectacle.
  • Snowboarding in the Milky Way

    Snowboarders are well catered for in the Milky Way from snowparks to off-piste areas, snowboarders have a lot to look forward to in the Milky Way. There are snow parks in Sauze d’Oulx, Sansicario, Sestriere and Montgenevre that offer snowboarding experiences.

    • Sauze d'Oulx has a great snow park in the Sportinia area that caters to all ability levels. There are great nursery slopes for beginners, excellent tree-lined reds for intermediates and a great off-piste for advanced borders and free riders.
    • The snowpark at Sestriere is fully decked out with wall rides, kickers, boxes and twist jumps. It's the perfect park for all skill levels. The nursery slopes in the Borgata area are hardly ever crowded so it is great for beginners trying to practise and develop some confidence. There are also black and red slopes well suited to intermediates and more seasoned snowboarders as well as great off-piste opportunities.
    • Snowboarders in Montgenevre will find open bowls, a great choice of off-piste terrain and can also enjoy the snowpark there which is kitted up with pro-jumps, quarter pipes and rope tows.
    • On the southern ridge of Sansicario, there are freeriding tracks that weave through the forest. Excellent off-piste opportunities can also be found on top of Mount Banchetta but all skill levels are well catered to at Sansicario's snow park with up to 40 marked trails (mostly red and a couple of blacks) but there are enough for

    Snow Conditions in the Milky Way

    The Milky Way is generally known for its good snow condition and this may also be one of the deciding factors for hosting the Olympic Games there. Its high altitude allows for some excellent snow conditions for most of the season which usually runs from December and all through April. More than half of the area's slopes have snowmaking machines on standby to provide cover for any snow shortages during the season. Sestriere is the highest positioned resort and boasts of some of the best conditions in the region.

    Apres Ski in the Milky Way

    The Milky Way apres-ski is a varied experience but overall a more relaxed affair. The resorts ( Montgenerve) are relatively smaller than their French counterparts over the border and the general theme in most of the resorts is more family-friendly. There is still a general excitement in the air and there are bars and restaurants available for an evening drink but the raucous party atmosphere is largely subdued in most areas around the Milky Way.

    For the best apres ski experience, Sauze d’Oulx takes the trophy for the liveliest apres-ski in the Milky Way. Against the beautiful traditional buildings and the historic charm, there is a party atmosphere on the rise.

    • Caffe Della Seggiovia is a lovely wine bar with an impressive wine selection; most of which are locally sourced from the Piedmont region. They also have beers from a local microbrewery from the region. Not too keen on wine or beers? Check out the great cocktail menu and kickstart a great evening. Favoured by locals and visitors alike.
    • Snugmost of children’s and cosy haven on cold winter nights due to its large open fire and friendly atmosphere, The Derby is a bar and lounge that offers a range of cocktails and other drinks. Famed for its themed party nights, live music and friendly staff, The Derby should be on your apres ski list.
    • For travelling Brits looking for an overseas ‘local’, look out for the Moncrons. Present in Sauze d’Oulx for over 30 years, this friendly bar has a great drink selection and pub feel. Catch all the football and other sporting events on live satellite TV.
    Facilities in the Milky Way

    There is a range of facilities available in the Milky Way. We have listed a few that you may be interested in.

    • Ski Hire in The Milky Way

      There are a host of ski hire shops in the Milky Way from where you can arrange ski equipment for your trip but why not secure your ski equipment hire directly with us here at Erna Low. We have longstanding and established relationships with ski hire operators which allows us to easily arrange a ski equipment rental on your behalf. Let us take care of the hassle and save you the time and effort of getting to the resort and then going into the ski hire establishment. Book your ski equipment hire with us and we have them waiting for you on arrival at the Milky Way.

    • Ski Passes in The Milky Way

      Get in touch with us for your Milky way ski passes and pick them upon arrival at your chosen resort. Whether you are after the Milky Way ski pass that grants access to the entire ski area or perhaps you may be after the local area pass of the resort you are staying at, we can very quickly and efficiently arrange either for you. We will be best positioned to secure ongoing deals and discounts on the different available passes.

    • Spa and Pool in the Milky Way

      There is hardly anything better than relaxing your muscles in a series of spa sessions. Relax and recharge in several spa and wellness centres available in the Milky Way. The majority of the spa’s and pools in the Milky way region operate within hotels or apartment styled hotels and regardless of whether or not you are a guest of the establishment, you will most likely be able to get an appointment for a treatment. If you are located in Sauze d’Oulx, the recently refurbished Chaberton Lodge & Spa is home to the Regeneration wellness centre which has a spa, sauna, steam room and external plunge pool. Massage treatments by trained masseuses can be arranged as well. Hotel Majestic in Sansicario also has a top-quality spa featuring a range of facilities including an indoor swimming pool for relaxing sessions after a day on the slopes.

    • Shops in the Milky Way

      There are a few places to shop across the Milky Way. The smaller resorts of Cesana and Claviere may not have the extensive variety of large shops; you are better off heading to Sauze d’Oulx or Sestriere for more variety. Sauze d’Oulx has a range of shops from clothing, sports equipment, gifts and souvenirs available. Not known for its large shopping centres or viewed as a shopping destination, the Milky Way is made up of purpose-built resorts focused on skiing and other outdoor activities.

    Childcare in the Milky way

    Known as a family-friendly area of the alps, there is a good selection of childcare services in the Milky Way. The children's clubs aforementioned in Sestriere and Montgenevre also offer childcare services as well. There are also private nurseries and private nanny’s offering services directly via the tourist offices; most are multilingual but please ensure that you confirm this first.

    All accommodation in the Milky Way Ski Area