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 70 km (44 miles) west of Turin, it comprises the five Piedmontese resorts of Claviere (1760m), Sansicario (1700m), Sauze d'Oulx (1509m), Pragelato (1518m) and Sestriere (2035m) and additionally the French resort Montgenèvre (1850m). Altogether there are 400 km (250 miles) of skiable pistes, 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 zero-fare 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. Skipasses for the entire area are also available. Coach trips are also organised to the Serre Chevalier ski region near Briançon in France.
Pragelato is connected to Via Lattea Ski by a gondola that in five minutes brings riders in the center of the ski slopes of Sestriere.
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.
Closely connected to San Sicario and available from Sestriere by a gondola lift, it offers a range of mostly red pistes with a few black and blue ones as well.
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.
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.
- "Italian Ski Resorts Overview". 2006-10-20. Retrieved 2006-10-20.
- Official Via Lattea site (English)
- Official Via Lattea site (Italian)
- Unofficial Sestriere site (English)
- Unofficial Sauze d'Oulx site (English)