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Vialattea Milky Way Sauze Sestriere

 Poster: A snowHead
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Any news from the Italian side of the Milky Way? Looks like they are slow as ever to open the lifts and links compared to most other places but have they had the snow that everyone else has?
Anybody out there?
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I'm off there on Xmas Eve for a week, been looking at the webcams etc. Looks promising Madeye-Smiley
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Iím there Boxing Day and the snow looks really good. Sestriere had the cannons on in November and lots of snow since. Our place is 20mins down the valley and there was 1m of snow at 1250m 2 weeks ago with small top-ups now and then.

Prali down the road is also looking pretty nice with snow piled up even at the bottom lift station. It seems to be one of the major beneficiaries of the retour díest.

From what I read elsewhere, Sestriere seemed to be unwilling to open earlier because the hotels arenít ready, so those unexpected early days are run at a loss. Itís a shame because even last year when the snow was poor elsewhere, Sestriere had a good base from November - we have a photo of pistes complete to the Town on Nov 13th.

Not sure why via lattea is not more popular with the Brits - itís only an hour transfer from Turin airport, the people are lovely and everything is great value. Even driving, itís only 10-10.5. hrs from Calais. I guess itís just not in vogue at the moment? Not helped by most local websites not being in English so very little is returned by Google (although personally I love it that when you leave the resorts, English is not common).

Enjoy!
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I thought Via Lattea was quite popular with Brits? Sauze d'Oulx, Montgenevre and Sestriere seem to feature in quite a few TO packages.
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Always had the reputation as Blackpool on Ice, which was unfair but clouds judgement...........
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it is nothing like blackpool on ice nor is it even a great party town. Donno where all those comparisons came from, must have been a long long time ago.
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Quote:

it is nothing like blackpool on ice nor is it even a great party town. Donno where all those comparisons came from, must have been a long long time ago.


Agree with this

I was in Sauze last year (first week in March) and it was very quiet at night time. Zero party atmosphere in the place.
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Happy Christmas to those going out this weekend - Agree that the webcams look good so hopefully lots more will be opened up including the links. Let us know back here in storm torn Blighty!
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Hmm, been doing a bit more research as it's only a few days away now... It isn't looking as good as I thought, a lot of runs & lifts shut Crying or Very sad

I kind of thought the whole alps was getting a heap of snow?
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The webcams are showing a lot of snow - but few lifts open ??!!

https://www.vialattea.it/Multimedia/Bollettino?IdLoc=2
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Hopefully they will kick on this weekend as the peak period starts. But they do seem a bit behind everywhere else.
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When I looked at the link, there is a table setting out the various degrees to which the resorts are open and it looked like it is all open from tomorrow. It seems that outside key tourist weeks and weekends, they close some of the lifts. I can see that some lifts might cover much the same terrain and be used to increase capacity at peak times. That seems sensible economising as long as they are not closing off chunks of terrain by switching off the only lifts to an area.

QRZbuddah, I have been watching the weather there on the Italian site 3BMeteo which has a ĒneveĒ button that shows you the snow depth forecast. So far this year itís been pretty accurate, but that could be either local expertise or luck - not watched it for long enough to offer a view. Currently suggesting 58cm from the 26th. As far as I can see, Sestriere gets less frequent snow than some parts of the Alps, but when a storm comes from the Med, it gets truly plastered. Wepowder has an article on this phenomenon ďretour díestĒ (not sure what the Italians call it).

In terms of resorts, I think Sauze had a rowdy reputation 20+ years ago. Not sure Sestriere has ever been like that. To me it seems a bit under rated at present and a lot more reasonable than places weíve skied in recent years. Iíll report back in the New Year.
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Yeah, been looking at the snow depths, they'll be fine I'm sure..

Turns out a lot of lifts opened today, looks like it'll be a good week, at the airport now.. can't wait Very Happy
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Have a fantastic time. Iím driving out tomorrow night in an old Panda 4x4 with a disassembled snow blower in the boot. Like Top Gear, I have to arrive ahead of the family who fly into Turin Boxing Day evening. What could go wrong? Very Happy
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So: how actually is it on the VL? - I'm out in late-January and hope that it rocks (asin: snows and provides great skiing; not "rocks") for everyone before then.
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sauze online do a video snow report every now and then (last was 22nd Dec)

https://www.sauzeonline.com/sauze-doulx-weather/
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Weíve had our first day at Sestriere today. It snowed last night, probably 10-20cm in Sestriere but only a few centremeteres down where we are (1200m and 20km away). The sun was out and the snow lovely, light and dry. The downside was the wind which made -10 feel like -20 and Iím told the gondola to Sauze was closed until it calmed down a bit. The pistes we tried were on Ranchetta and Alpert and had a nice mix of terrain. In terms of off piste, the top of Ranchetta had been stripped of some snow by the wind -lots of blown crusty stuff, but lower down there was a decent blanket, albeit well tracked in the central areas we skied today.

Sestriere is busy (especially with the Sauze link closed because of the wind) but we found parking on the Font de Neige easily enough and there was a nice selection of coffee shops and bars. Lunch at Borgata Sestriere was reasonable value - Ä9 for a big bowl of pasta and hot chocolate was Ä3,50. Overall feel was nice. People looking chic alongside families like us. So far, we are loving it.
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Much better conditions today with less wind and a bit of sun. My wife is raving about the snow quality. We stayed on piste around Sauze and Cesana mainly and it was lovely with a nice variety of pistes. Great views towards Clavier and Montgenevre too. No ice and just a very few areas of harder-packed snow. Lifts a bit busy at times, but pistes not that busy. Another decent lunch at a sensible price.

Snowing at 5pm as we left, with a bit more than a foot expected imminently. I noticed they had the snow cannons on this afternoon which seemed unnecessary as the snow was great and deep, but Iím sure they know what they are doing.

Iíve got to say the family have really taken to this area - conditions are great, high tree line means itís pretty and fun, lovely food and the people are warm and unpretentious. Iíd prefer that the lifts had greater capacity, but I guess this is a peak week, and the queues were only for a minute or two.
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Apologies for the lack of updates during the week.. we had very patchy WiFi in our hotel which led to very little phone watching which made the trip better if I'm honest Madeye-Smiley

Had a wide range of conditions throughout the week, but we're able to get full days in pretty much every day.. the ability to drop into the trees is fab to get away from the wind and low visibility.

It was my 2nd trip to Sauze and I'm really liking it as an area, the folk are really friendly, there's just enough nightlife (for an old fart like me Laughing ), the grub is good, mountain eating is good value too (although avoid the Monsoleil restaurant in the Calviere area.. total omnishambles, on the flip side, try the Soliel Beouf in Sansicario, hot chocolate and panini's to die for) and there's skiing for everyone.. did some touring too with some locals who let me join them, even got waved through by the Carabinieri when we were heading off piste at the end of the day NehNeh
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One grumble I do have is that the Via Lattea webcams are pretty poor. I love the panoramic HD ones with temperature, time, orientation etc but this area only seems to have old style cameras, generally not that well positioned and often not very clear. I was really pleasantly surprised by the pistes and really felt the webcams had not done them justice at all.

Given that a lot of overseas visitors will look at the webcams of prospective holiday venues, this is something the management should improve urgently - and I guess itís not that expensive to do either (compared to lift infrastructure).
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Sounds great - thanks for the eye witness reports!
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I think the best recommendation is that my wife really enjoyed the skiing. We haven't been there for 17 years, but we got engaged in Montgenevre and our recollection is that it was a pretty nice ski area with quite different weather to the Italian side. Together, the resorts do seem to have the bases covered. If we didn't have accommodation down the Chisone valley, I would probably hire a car at Turin airport and pick Cesana Torinese as my base - you can access both sides of Via Lattea very quickly. Having driven through it a few times, it looks quite pretty, but I'm not sure what it offers in terms of accommodation, bars and restaurants.

I see that the next week or so could bring another 1-2 m of snow to Sestriere - not as crazy as some other areas, but I would have thought "ample"!
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Looking good over the next few days:

https://www.3bmeteo.com/neve/sestriere (as at 8am 3rd Jan 2018)

I know these things change a lot as events unfold, but this suggests about 3m of snow in a week. Even half that would be splendid. http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif
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Anyone in Sestriere this week coming? I'm thinking of going solo. Madeye-Smiley
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We arrive in Claviere this Sunday (canít wait) at present we only have the MontgenŤvre lift pass does anyone know what area this covers and would it be worth us upgrading to full area?
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@Ramma666, You need the Monts de Lune lift pass which covers Montgenevre and Claviere and includes 1 day in the rest of the milky way eg. Sauze. There is the more expensive galaxie pass that covers the whole milky way but I wouldn't bother with that. The snow conditions in claviere/montgenevre are excellent at the moment and you will have enough to keep yourselves happy there for a week.

If there is a Montgenevre only pass that will be no good to you staying in claviere.
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@snowymum thanks for that we are travelling with Crystal and thatís the pass they recommended to cover Claviere and MontgenŤvre- I will take it up with the rep once we get into resort

We are a group of 12 with a 50/50 split between good intermediate and first timers would you recommend Claviere or MontgenŤvre as the better area for beginners?
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@Ramma666, The beginners would definitely be better off skiing in Montgenevre as there is a green from the top to the bottom of the mountain, and more in the way of beginners lifts, whereas most of the runs in Claviere are reds. Will Crystal provide transport for them to have lessons in Montgenevre? They would need to be based at the main ESF meeting point at the front de neige. It would be too hard for complete beginners to ski from Claviere to Montgenevre as they would need to do a red between the two resorts. If Crystal only offer them lessons in Claviere they will probably be restricted to skiing there and not going over to Montgenevre.

The intermediates will enjoy the whole Montgenevre/claviere area. We were there last week (based in Montgenevre). The reds in Claviere were in excellent condition and hardly anyone about. Montgenevre had plenty of snow (and has had even more since) but the wind was blowing some of the snow off the top of the highest runs. Nevertheless conditions were still excellent there with almost every run open.
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I think Montgenevre is a great place to learn and there is a nice range of pistes to progress onto. I think it is on a shortlist somewhere of good/reliable beginners slopes.

Wet the Italian side of Via Lattea:

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Sestriere/9day/top

https://www.3bmeteo.com/neve/sestriere

The forecast is now close enough to be realistic and this looks pretty awesome. Prali expecting even more according to snow-forecast, but not 3bmeteo. Not quite as much as Val DíIsere and others have had in the last 48 hrs, but hopefully a bit more manageable/less disruptive.

Iíve also seen some nice photos of deep snow in Montgenevre as a result of the present storm. This should even things out across the border. Correct me if Iím wrong, but I havenít noticed rain in Via Lattea, so it seems that is an upside of missing the brunt of storm Eleanor... I know objectively rain isnít all bad for the snowpack, but it is hard to see the positives....

Enjoy.
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@snowymum thanks for the advice, not actually booked any lessons do you know of any private instructors who we could contact to take 4 people? They have been on the dry slopes but we all know itís not quite the same!
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All the links open today after very limited stuff in Sauze all week. Very crowded lifts early on but Sauze to Sansicario in the sunshine and then onto Sestriere. Normal service resumed and a base to last all season long!
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@Ramma666, I don't know of any instructors in Claviere as we have always stayed in Montgenevre.

I would recommend contacting Philippe who is based at Chalet du guide in Montgenevre who does private lessons (he is not affiliated to ESF or Apeak). I have lost his business card but you can contact him at his shop in the following link.
https://www.skiset.co.uk/ski-resort/montgenevre/shops/au-chalet-du-guide-obelisque

I would also contact Apeak ski school in Montgenevre to see what they can offer. My sister had some adult beginner lessons with them a few years back and they were very good.
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@snowymum, thanks for that Iíll give them a shout
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@sergeantslow,

Good to hear. Three weeks and counting.

Any idea on the local forecast for the weekend? Is Sauze village going to be snowed in or drowned?
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How's the weather now in the SdO / Sesteriere areas/ - is it hoofing down, or have the forecastsbeen a little optimistic?
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@SnowVillan, it's hoofing it down in Sestriere. Constant heavy snowfall since I arrived around 4pm. Hard to gauge accumulation due to drifting but I get the impression there has been more snow than forecast so far.
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Sestriere due about 100cm on Sun to Tues.

But it may rain hard in the village on Mon.
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@Whitegold, I'd be very surprised if it did - it was snowing down to 1000m this afternoon! The Italians are going for "intense" snow above 1200-1400m tomorrow, locally 1000m.
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The forecasts I am reading all suggest heavy snow tomorrow above the valley floor (and Sestriere is just over 2000m).

As musehead has said, snow line is supposed to be below Sestriere so letís hope that turns out to be correct. I note that a Pragelato might get rain in the village, but it is in a narrow valley and known to be a cold spot, so fingers crossed for Pragelato too. The local forecast (which I think is pretty reliable) puts tomorrowís freezing level at 1600m but snow level at 1100m which would mean no chance of rain in Pragelato....
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@Game of Snows, @musehead, Sounds good; thanks for the update. A couple more like that in the next two weeks would be fab! Very Happy
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