The skiing is all things to all people. While Sauze is largely an intermediate’s dream, as part of the wider Milky Way (400km), it offers Olympic downhill in Sestriere and small-resort charm up the road in Claviere.
Many newbs tend to stick to the lower runs especially Clotes, which leads into the village. This is a mistake. Clotes, while seemingly gentle and easy, is also very busy and has a nasty bottle-neck near the bottom. Much better to head up to Sportina – the main junction – above which you’ll find sweeping gentle slopes with the best snow and wide, open runs where you can practise free from the throng.
Start on the open reds at 2500m and 1km later you can be sipping hot chocolate in the bar at the bottom of Clotes. On the way, above and below Sportina, you’ll find some pretty tree-lined runs that twist and turn and crisscross. The selection of reds should keep you interested for two or three days then if you’ve had enough you can head over to Sansicario or Sestriere.
Good skiers tend to head for the unpisted skiing off the top of Fraiteve or the off-piste through the trees. Sauze will amuse for a while but the Milky Way is a big ski area and if you’re looking for something a little more challenging, then then first stop would likely be the Olympic Kandahar Slalom run in Sestriere (an easy connection on skis). Other challenging slopes include the Kandahar Barchetta runs and the blacks on top of Mt. Motta and Mt. Sises.
Most of the off-piste are made up of pretty tracks through larch and fir woods. A particular favourite is the Rio Nero off-piste trail between Oulx and Cesana, but the downside is a bus ride back to the lifts. Sauze also offers heliskiing on summits over 3000m (Dormillouse, Terra Nera and Clausi). A group of four heliskiers should expect to pay around €1000.
The Double Black Park at 2400m is accessed via the Nuovo Basset four-seater chair. Sestriere and Montgenevre also have snowparks.