The milky way is a massive ski resort, spanning 400km of pistes over Italy and France. We skied here in February half term and fell in love. The milky way is very picturesque especially when there is still snow on the trees and really quiet, even in the school holidays.
The milky way initially attracted us because there were some good last minute deals here. The milky way offers a much cheaper lift-pass than some other big resorts, such as the three valleys in France. You can tell that there is not quite so much money here (for snow maintenance, etc). However, hosting the 2006 Olympics led to an improvement in most lifts across the resort, and despite it’s popularity, it never feels too busy.
Nicknamed the intermediate skiers playground; the milky way has a good level of challenge – with the option of olympic-standard black runs or gentle green runs through the trees. Off-piste skiing is very popular here. There really is something for everyone and there are a number of different places to stay to get the most benefit out of the resort. The milky way lift pass allows you to ski Sauze D’Oulx, Sestriere, Sancisario, Claviere in Italy and across the border into France to ski Montgenevre. Click here for the piste map: Milky way piste map.
February skiing was perfect and all links were open but after a week of sun, the snow was already changing and I’d question the quality at the start/end of the season. However, this cheaper option also has a bonus of better value for money meals up the mountain. A definite bonus for skiing in Italy – although watch out for the huge portion sizes!
It is possible to ski all the way from Sauze to Montgenevre… however we were advised not to bother as it’s a bit “boring” with so much of the journey being taken up with lifts. There is also the worry that some links could close throughout the day!
Skiing at least a day in Montgenevre is definitely my recommendation though, a beautiful ski resort and beginner’s paradise with lots of wide green runs. Staying in one of the Italy milky way resorts is a cheap way to ski the upmarket Montgenevre without the price tag. We stayed in Sauze and took the Crystal ski bus down for 1 day which was very worthwhile for 20€. I loved Montgenvre so much I’ve actually written a separate post about it!! You can read more about skiing here by clicking this link: Skiing in Montgenevre (including GoPro video).
Stay in Sauze
Sauze has a reputation for being the “party location” and there are certainly plenty of free drinks vouchers being handed out as you leave the slopes… but we stayed in a lovely family-run hotel and definitely didn’t feel like we were in a big apres-ski resort (although of course the option was there!) Sauze is a great location to stay, the town is very pretty with cobbled streets and access to the slopes is easy enough.
Lots of skiers walk up through the town to the Clotes lift but there is also the option of the ski bus (8.50€/pp for a week pass) that went up to the Sportinia lift (better for beginners).
I loved the long runs down into both Sestriere and Sansicario from Sauze (although not the slow, rickety, windy 2-man chair link). However, lots of my favourite runs were in Sauze D’Oulx itself, so I’m glad we chose accommodation in Sauze. We loved skiing in the tree line and found the snow was good in Sauze all week (it was getting a bit patchy/slushy on the way down to the other resorts).
The only slight downside of the milky way is the piste map isn’t always totally clear so we did find it slightly harder to navigate than normal but we got there by the end of the week!
Overall I would rate Sauze very highly especially in the middle of the season! Hope you enjoy our video (thanks Rob for the drone footage!)