Via Lattea

The Via Lattea (Milky Way) is a winter sports area in the Italian and French Alps, straddling the French-Italian border at Claviere/Montgenèvre. Located some 70km west of Turin, it comprises the four Piedmontese resorts of Claviere (1760m), Sansicario (1700m), Sauze d'Oulx (1509m), and Sestriere (2035m) and additionally the French resort Montgenèvre (1850m). Altogether there are 400km of skiable pistes [cite web|title=Italian Ski Resorts Overview|url=http://www.holidayhomesinitaly.co.uk/smx/areas/ski-resorts/|author=|publisher=|date=2006-10-20|accessdate=2006-10-20] , 120 of them with artificial snow, and 88 lifts. The lowest lift begins at 1350m in the service village of Cesana Torinese; the highest point is Mont Motta in the Sestriere ski area, at 2800m. Claviere and Montgenèvre are connected at the lower limit of their ski area in the frontier pass, and at their highest point below the top of Mont Gimont but are not easily reachable from the other areas, relying on a slow lift system up from Cesana. There are regular free bus services between the resorts.

A standard 6-day lift pass for one resort on the Italian side gives two free days skiing elsewhere in the Italian Via Lattea; otherwise, a supplement is payable, as it is for Montgenèvre. Coach trips are also organised to the Serre Chevalier ski region near Briançon in France.

The Via Lattea region hosted many events during the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, including most alpine, freestyle, and nordic skiing events, bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge.

Claviere

Located in the pass linking Italy and France, this is a small resort tucked under Mont Chaberton. It is best-suited for intermediate skiers with a majority of red runs and little area for beginners.

an Sicario

This resort hosted all of the sledding events during the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, along with the cross-country skiing events and biathlon.

estriere

This resort has Olympic-standard slalom runs and some long black pistes. A flat area at the bottom is suited for beginners, but the majority of skiing is for intermediates. It is the highest and one of the busier resorts in the area, and underwent a large building programme in preparation for its hosting of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Montgenèvre

An old fort perched above the pass suggests the region's bloody past. This resort is well suited for beginners with many gentle slopes leading to a wide area by the bottom lifts. There are many intermediate runs and the chance for off-piste skiing.

References

External links

* [http://www.vialattea.it/en/ Official Via Lattea site (English)]
* [http://www.vialattea.it/ Official Via Lattea site (Italian)]


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