- 22 Resorts
- Consistent Snow
- Diverse destinations
- Resorts open before those of many other states
- Home to Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper Mountain
Situated at one end of the lift-linked Milky Way, Sauze is one of the bigger and more popular resorts in the 440km ski area. Sauze has been reinventing itself over the last decade or so: it has shaken off its 80s image as a haven for the worst excesses of British lager-louts abroad. This charming medieval village – at least one half is charming and medieval – now appeals to families as well as party-goers: walk into one bar and you’d see seasonaires chugging cement mixers – a nauseating cocktail of baileys, lime and gin – and down the street you’d find waiters decanting bottles of fine Barolo – the local Piedmontise wine. 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.
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.
Albergo Assietta (+39 0122 850180) is located in the village square and is open from early morning serving great coffee and croissants. Takeaway or sit out on the terrace
Paddy McGinty’s (+39 0122 858119) is the place to go for a great value, big British fry-up on your way to the slopes (located very close to the Clotes chair).
Ciao Pais (+39-0122 850280) This traditional mountain eatery in the woods above Sauze serves delicious local dishes include antipasti starters such as chestnuts in balsamic vinegar and warm red peppers with anchovies. Eat lunch outside on the sun terrace.
Sugo’s (+39-0122850861) Pasta-lovers, head to Sugo’s in the old town where you’ll find delicious, reasonably priced fresh pasta dishes cooked to order. Sit outside on the terrace or in the warm, pine-clad interior.
La Griglia (+39-0122850344) Serves excellent pizzas in a wood burning stove, as well as a full menu of pastas and other typical Italian dishes.
L’Ortiche (+39-01220850329) This is the place to go for fine Italian cuisine such as pheasant stuffed with foie gras or the beautifully cooked Black Angus Steak. You can also eat less fancy food like pizza and pasta.
Straight off the slopes, head to Ghost Bar, a lively spot for snacks and happy hour. Mira Bar is the place to go for live sport and après-ski snacks. Then head on downhill to the New Cotton Party Bar – one of the liveliest bars in town with live music, drink promos, DJs, and late-night opening hours. Before dinner, the Caffe della Seggiovia is a wine bar and the best place to sample the Italian aperitivo scene. For relaxing drinks in front of an open fire, head to The Derby Bar with its great selection of skiing/boarding videos.
For an unforgettable day on the mountain, catch the first lift up to Sportinia at 9am and ski all the way across the Milky Way to France (Montgenevre) for a tartiflette lunch, before skiing all the way home for free aperitivos at the Mira Bar (olives, pizza and bruschetta). Don’t leave Sauze without tasting a bombardino – a favourite Italian drink with hot advocaat, brandy and whipped cream.
MI Night Skiing
Corso Novara 96, 10152 Torino
I 10050 Winter Olympics
Phone: +39 0122 858009