Via Lattea

Via Lattea

Overall Rating

Via Lattea

Via Lattea4/52
Via Lattea4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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Via Lattea Ski Resorts

Cesana Sansicario
Claviere
Montgenèvre
Sauze d'Oulx
Sestriere

    Via Lattea - Voie Lactee Ski Trail & Piste Map
  • Via Lattea Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,350 - 2,823m (1,473m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    6 m+
  • Lifts (69)
    6 Gondolas/cable cars
    33 Chairlifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Dec to late April
    9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 400km
    Longest run - 9km+
    Advanced - 19%
    Intermediate - 47%
    Beginner - 34%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 21/22
    Via Lattea (Italian Sector)
    (Valid Cesana-Sansicario, Claviere, Sauze d'Oulx & Sestriere)
    Adult - €40
    Child - from €10

    Montiluna-Montgenevre
    (Valid Claviere, Montgenevre)
    Adult - €43
    Child - from €10

    Via Lattea International
    (Valid Cesana-Sansicario, Claviere, Montgenevre, Sauze d'Oulx & Sestriere)
    Adult - €50.50
    Child- from €10
    Montgenevre & Monts di Lune Ski Trail Map
  • Montiluna-Montgenevre Ski Trail Map

Via Lattea - Reviews

Via Lattea - Reviews

Huge & Affordable

24/08/2020

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Huge & Affordable

24/08/2020

It is no surprise that we love a ski area that combines great skiing, huge terrain & reliable snow with a rock bottom lift pass price. Even though we love skiing everywhere in the world, deep down, we are tight-arses (fair enough, right?). That is why we love the Via Lattea. The €38 lift pass for the extensive Italian sector is ridiculously cheap.

Our latest visit was in early January 2020. Whilst it had not snowed for a few weeks, upper mountain bases were over 2m. This was better than most places in the world at the same time, in what had been for many parts (incl. Japan, US & Canada) an extremely lean start to winter.

We based ourselves in Sestriere at the Hotel Uappala. The high elevation of Sestriere always provides a snow-laden experience, but the village design is absolutely polarising. The Hotel Uappala is a case in point. From the outside, it looks intriguing, with its twin towers synonymous with the Sestriere look (a look more at home in a quirky Japanese ski resort than an Italian resort within a few hours of Milan!). But on the inside, it is though the hotel has been designed by a lunatic. I could write a few thousand words on its design flaws. Never mind that – in short, the room was well priced, super clean, functional & quiet (ish). Strangely there was no Wi-Fi in any of the rooms (a nightmare on a work trip, but a first-world, whingey whiney problem!). The hotel made up for it with a breakfast spread that would keep Homer Simpson sated until dinner the next day! Oh, and it is just a few hundred metres stroll to the all-important gondola base.

Now why is the gondola base so important? Well its simple. One can either ski Sestriere via the various chairlifts from the village base, or head to arguably more interesting prospects in the opposite direction via the gondola direct to the 2700m summit of Fraiteve. Fraiteve is the meeting point of Sestriere, Sauze D’Oulx & Sansicario - including some of their best bits. From Fraiteve, the alpine bowl under the Sauze d’Oulx Colo chairlift is amongst the best in the region – on & off-piste. Toward Sansicario, the world-class Olimpica piste trails run uninterrupted for 1000m vertical, making it the perfect leg warmer first thing in the morning. Into Sestriere, the sunny or shaded alpine off-piste & trees or beginner/intermediate trails connect to the lower village on extended skiable verticals of around 850m.

Sestriere is the most snow-laden of the Via Lattea resorts. Elevation is king! Wonderful piste terrain on the Motta side. The full 900m skiable vertical pistes running from high alpine to beautiful larch tree lined slopes are true thigh liquefiers. There are off-piste options in the upper alpine bowls or the trees depending on conditions. The Sissa side has a much shorter vertical, with the top surface tow rarely running (from what we have observed – they seem to save it just for World Cup events & training so skinning up is the best option!). In between are wonderful beginner slopes & fun parks all close to the main shops, bars & restaurants.

We rate Montgenèvre in France. Whilst it costs extra to get it included on a Via Lattea lift pass, the consistently deep snowpack & wonderful terrain diversity are worth it. The lift system is the most modern & efficient in a region not renowned for it. (Old, crappy lifts are a great way to keep the lift pass prices down at the ridiculously cheap level, but Montgenevre bucks the Via Lattea trend). The village is a comfortable mix of old & new but has started trending toward too much new development. The resort is easily the best for novices, progressing beginners & intermediates. The off-piste has soooo many awesome & easily achievable options: the fluted spurs coming off the perfect Le Chalvet ridge (with random hoodoos thrown in for good measure ); the backside of Serre Thibaud (try to avoid the protected wildlife habitat – it is well signposted); the couloirs, bowls & trees from the high border crossing at the Roche de l’Aigle ………the list goes on.

In between the Sestriere & Montgenevre are many, many miles. Cesana-Sansicario & Claviere provide the link, but also extensive cruising piste trails. Sansicario has the best intermediate runs in north-west Italy (Kronplatz in the Dolomites would be better) & they are mostly tree-lined for poor visibility days. The low elevation valley at Cesana will mean lift downloads in all but the deepest snow season, but it is no bother. Claviere is the quietest sector of the entire Via Lattea. A touch limited in the off-piste realm; its long, easy rolling terrain will delight most snow enthusiasts. Coming back into Claviere from the top of the Roche de l’Aigle chairlift in Montgenevre provides a sensational opportunity for freeride shenanigans ………. it just takes a long time to get back there. In fact, it is only 4 lifts, but the journey seems a world away via another country no less - such is skiing the Via Lattea.

If interested in skiing the Via Lattea as a whole, it is a worthy question to ask where one should overnight. Somewhere central like Cesana in Torinese allows superb access to the entire Vialattea, allowing more time to be spent skiing each location & less time clock watching to avoid getting stuck in the wrong valley or country! Cesana is a lovely town too. Quiet & traditional, but not as old as Oulx or the original San Sicario (between Cesana & the Olympics era Sansicario 1700). If more interested in the Italian end of the ski region, Sestriere & it’s important gondola link makes it a worthy location. It is possible to ski to the Claviere & French border within an hour, making the most of a foray into the excellent Montgenevre, but putting a powder day at risk if that is what you are chasing! Whilst we love Oulx, aside from a few excellent newer hotels, the alpine village at Sauze d’Oulxis looking & feeling incredibly tired. Still well patronised by UK-based skiers & snowboarders (who call it Sow-zee) & with a few fun bars after hours, it has seen better days & needs a refresh before we would recommend staying there.

One massive notable difference between the Italian & French sides of the Via Lattea is the plethora of mountain rifugio style bars, restaurants & lodgings in Italy & the relative lack of them in France. Italy – 1, France – nil!

If looking for a wonderful European ski experience with low crowds & on a budget, it is hard to look past the Via Lattea. Milk never tasted so good! Unless one is an advanced rider or looking to inhabit the terrain parks, we do not generally recommend it as a premium snowboarding location though – long linking trails can be killers for snowboarders in all but the best snow conditions.

You can see our thoughts on the pros and cons on the Via Lattea overview page and also see our European ski resort ratings regarding how we score it compared to other skiing areas.

Cheap Lift Pass & Great Diversity

19/02/2017

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    5

Cheap Lift Pass & Great Diversity

19/02/2017
On the Italian side, the brash, tawdry looking Sestriere, the utilitarian Sansicario, lovely old Oulx, Claviere and Cesana, plus the purposeful Montgenevre just across the border in France, combine for a wonderfully diverse interlinked ski region.

The Via Lattea has the best value lift tickets in Western Europe, fantastic larch forest tree skiing, quality high altitude snow, huge off piste, a ski school a with a excellent reputation for looking after children and wonderful accessibility by fast train from Paris or Milan/Turin.

All this is let down by some seriously pushy weekend lift queues, low quality ski lifts and a few poorly designed lift and piste choke points at critical locations (in Sauze d'oulx particularly). There are also the newer resort village architectural disasters that one kind of get used to if you squint and tip your head sideways!! Crowded at weekends, quiet during the week.

The Vialattea is worthy of an extended midweek visit by all Powderhounds.