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Skiing in Sestriere

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Skiing Holidays in Sestriere

An Italian Alpine village located in Val Susa just 17km from the French border, Sestriere ski resort earned its name because the original settlement is sixty Roman miles from Turin ̶ the Latin derivation is ad petram sistrariam.

With a prime position at 2035m on the powdery pass between Val Susa and Val Chisone, the population of Sestriere swells from under 1000 inhabitants off-season to over 20,000 in a typical ski season. It actually comprises several small satellite villages, including Sestriere Coll at the higher reaches of the pass, Sestriere Borgata, Champlas Janvier and Champlas du Col.

The snow range stretches from1350m to 2823m and there’s a cracking 400km skiable area across the wider Milky Way with a wide range of pistes for skiers of all stripes, plenty of off-piste pow for freeriders and terrain parks where snowboarders can pit their wits against gnarly obstacles.

Sestriere’s high resort altitude and plenty of northwest facing slopes contributes to its snow reliability, but it’s also the jewel in a crown of encircling mountains which include 2850m Monte Motta, 3280m Punta Rognosa di Sestriere, 2658m Monte Sises, and 2701m Monte Fraiteve.

The local Sestriere terrain is characterised by wide expansive runs but you’ll also find some terrific tree-lined runs and rugged off-piste terrain where freeriding skiers and snowboarders will be in their element. A superb snow park with lots of well-designed obstacles completes the local mix and overall there’s something for snowsports fans of all abilities here.

Furthermore, explore the wider cross-border Milky Way and you can magnify all the pleasures of Sestriere several times over as you explore the snow-kissed delights of sister resorts Montgenèvre in France, San Sicario, Cesana Torinese, Sauze d’Oulx, Claviere and Pragelato.

Sestriere’s reputation as a ski resort of international standing was sealed when it was a venue for the 2006 Turn Winter Olympics, and it has also hosted FIS Alpine Ski World Cup events and the IPC World Championships. However, its history stretches back much further because it’s Italy’s first purpose-built ski resort and its two iconic hotel towers were designed by FIAT entrepreneur Giovanni Agnelli and date from the 1930s.

The apres-ski in Sestriere is a little more reserved than the party atmos at neighbouring Sauze d’Oulx, but there are plenty of bars for social butterflies to flutter around, there’s ample quality cafes and restaurants and the accommodation mix is excellent.

When you want an enjoyable ski holiday that can be customised to suit couples, families or groups, stunning scenery and superb skiing and snowboarding, Sestriere ski resort is a savvy choice.

Skiing in Sestriere

With a unique location completely surrounded by snowy peaks, a plethora of northerly slopes, a high resort altitude, fab snowmaking facilities and an efficient lift system to transport you around the local area and the Milky Way with no trouble at all, Sestriere is a pleasure to ski. Take a look at a few top tips for skiers in this tip-top Italian ski resort:

  • Snow quality in Sestriere is very good thanks to its high altitude and the northerly aspect of most of its slopes. There are 58 pistes here and they’re split between the three sectors of Sises, Motta and Fratieve (corresponding to the areas around the aforementioned ski villages).

  • Fratieve has few pisted runs, but its sensational off-piste terrain is the heart of the Italian side of the Milky Way and a freeriders’ paradise on all sides of the descent from 2700m.

  • At Sises, you’ll find more excellent off-piste action as well as a variety of short pistes for skiers of all abilities.

  • At 2800m, Motta is the highest part of the local ski area and it’s characterised by long, tricky runs for more advanced skiers ̶ some of which extend for the whole vertical of almost 1000m. At the highest terrain in Motta you’ll find several nice runs through the trees and more freeriding areas for powderhounds.

  • The ski school meeting point is conveniently close to the village centre and there’s a nice collection of novice slopes in the Borgata ski area.

  • You can access all other Milky Way ski resorts with ease with a standard day pass, via the Fraiteve gondola. Cesana-Sansicario and Sauze d’Oulx are reasonably close by, but even the more distant resorts of Montgenevre and Claviere are reachable within around one hour via the pistes and lift system.

With such varied ski terrain around the resort and the delights of the Milky Way on your doorstep, a ski holiday in Sestriere definitely delivers on value for money, quality and pure fun amidst some of Europe’s most snow-sure slopes.

Snowboarding in Sestriere

If you prefer snowboarding to skiing, there’s plenty to put a smile on your face. Here are some highlights for riders in Sestriere:

  • You’ll find some fab freeriding terrain to the left of the top lift in the Motta section, including some thrilling runs through the larch forests on the lower slopes. Meanwhile, Sises has some vertiginous north-facing runs as well as gentler but longer south aspect runs.

  • At Fraiteve you can head to the main summit ridge where you’ll discover some long twisting couloirs on the north side of the peak that take you all the way down to the resort. These are very challenging and should only be attempted by experienced riders, ideally with a mountain guide in tow.

  • The wildest backcountry terrain at Sestriere is found on the 3280m Monti Rognosa, where there’s a clutch of challenging couloirs in the ridges that that descend to Motta and Sises.

  • If you’re a freestyler you’ll love the 250m long Sestriere snow park, which is packed with rails, jibs and jumps, with lines for experiences riders and beginners.

  • If you want to carve up the pistes, practice your turns and perfect your balance, there’s a vast network of blue, red and black runs that extends from Sestriere right across the entire Milky Way, so you’ll always find a new challenge.

Snowboarding in Sestriere has something to tempt all types of snowboarders ̶ whether you prefer gorgeous, groomed runs, gnarly freestyle obstacles or spectacular off-piste, you’ll have an action-packed time.

Snow conditions in Sestriere

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A 2035m resort altitude and commanding position surrounded by sky-scraping mountains means that Sestriere and the rest of the Milky Way resorts are amongst Europe’s most snow-sure, certainly during the main part of the ski season. Here’s some interesting info on historical snow conditions in Sestriere:

  • The iconic high-altitude runs on Motta Sises and Banchetta (2823m, 2600m an 2555m respectively) tend to boast brilliant powder from the beginning to the end of the season.

  • The main peaks here have a north-westerly aspect, which is excellent in terms of snow retention.

  • In the unlikely event that Mother Nature doesn’t deliver the white stuff, there’s an impressive snow making system here which can cover 60% of the entire area in artificial powder.

  • Sestriere had a 119cm total snowfall in the most recent season, 132cm average summit depth, 180cm average summit depth, 41 cm average base depth, 80cm maximum base depth and 40cm largest snowfall.

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Facilities in Sestriere

As a pioneer of purpose-built ski resorts, amenities and facilities in Sestriere are as practical, hospitable and stylish as you would expect, with everything on hand to make you feel completely at home.

Ski hire in Sestriere

There are ski hire outlets aplenty in Sestriere but most of our first time and returning customers prefer us to make their ski gear arrangements for them. With existing contacts in the resort, we can source the best quality equipment for competitive prices and arrange pickup from a store nearest your accommodation. Then when you arrive, all you need to do is collect your equipment ̶ rather than waiting in a chilly queue!

Ski passes in Sestriere

Buy a Milky Way lift pass in Sestriere and you’re covered for every resort on the Italian side, but when you purchase a six day pass, one day in Montgenevre in France is also thrown in. Passes are available for 1-15 days and there are special rates for children and seniors. We can often secure great deals on Sestriere ski passes, so we will let you know what savings are available for your particular dates.

Spa & pool in Sestriere

Several hotels and apartments in Sestriere have onsite spa and wellness facilities. One interesting complex is the former Olympic Village, where you can stay in a serviced apartment and use the top notch pool and gym created for elite athletes when the games were in town.

Shops in Sestriere

As well as supermarkets selling everyday essentials and delis selling tasty local fare, you’ll find fashion boutiques, furniture stores and jewellers in Sestriere, so there will definitely be something to tickle your fancy.

Facilities for children in Sestriere

Sestriere is set up well for kids and there’s everything here to make your young ones feel comfortable, safe and happy. Italy has a family-oriented culture, and this extends to its ski resorts, where there are always plenty of cafes and restaurants that are particularly welcoming to young ones and every effort is made to ensure that the slopes are accessible and inclusive for young explorers.

Ski schools in Sestriere

Scuolo Nazionale Ski School specialises in kids lessons and they operate a mini club to introduce younger children to the slopes at Sestrieland, the dedicated kids fun piste. Yes Snowboard School is another super option for kids who prefer boarding to skiing. Many kids prefer the social aspect of learning from peers in group lessons, but Sestriere private lessons are also available if you feel these will be more suitable.

Children’s entertainment in Sestriere

Choosing an all-inclusive hotel in Sestriere can be a savvy option for families, because all the entertainment they need is on tap thanks to specialist staff and there are usually programmes for younger children and teens. Alternative activities include ice skating, husky dog sledding, cinema and ten-pin bowling.

Childcare in Sestriere

The Neve e Sole daycare centre on Piazzale Kandahar caters for children aged two to five and other options are available. It’s always worth checking that staff speak English at any such facilities and remember that some of the ski school classes for kids effectively act as childcare for the duration. Either way, a professional childcare provision means you can spend some rare time exploring the slopes and socialising solo or with your partner.

Mountain Stats in Sestriere

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Total Pistes:
249 (in Milky Way)

Travel Info

Distance to Calais:
Driving time to Calais:
9 hours 42 minutes
Approx tolls from Calais:
€80 each way
Gateway Airports:
Turin (TRN)