Exploring Sauze d’Oulx, Italy and the Milky Way, December 2022!

Short Break Ski Holiday to Explore Sauze d’Oulx in The Italian Alps.

Exploring Sauze d’Oulx

The ski resort of Sauze d’Oulx had been on my “Places I want to ski” bucket list for years. I had heard fanciful stories of wild, apres ski nights, similar to those enjoyed in Spanish sunshine resorts such as the infamous Magaluf and a huge ski area called The Milky Way, of 400km with runs to suit all abilities spread over 2 countries. However, I had also heard the resort had undergone quite a significant change over the past decade or so and returned back to its former glory as a beautiful ancient village, with chocolate box cute old buildings and charming, friendly locals, underneath the huge Milky Way ski area which straddles the Italian/French border.

So it was with a curious mind that Helen and I set off to explore Sauze d’Oulx resort and the ski area in mid-December 2022.

Lots of snow!

The first thing to say is that we were lucky with the snow conditions. We left Stansted on a crisp, cold morning with the thermometer reading -6 degrees as we boarded the plane bound for Turin.

Photo on the snowy runway at Sauze d'Oulx
Exploring Sauze d’Oulx

The Alps had been covered with a thick layer of snow from the storm over the preceding few days and snow at the side of the runway as we landed in Turin was a really encouraging sign. Indeed, as we drove our hire car on the super short journey to Sauze d’Oulx, (just over 1 hour on excellent roads), we had snow all the way which just got deeper and deeper.

On arrival we were greeted with over a foot of fresh snow. Our excitement grew!

Aerial view of mountains at Sauze d'Oulx
Aerial view of mountains at Sauze d’Oulx

Amazing accommodation

Our base for the next 5 nights was the wonderfully comfortable Hotel K2*** and we were lucky enough to be given a fabulous, spacious, newly renovated room, with the biggest bed I have ever seen. (VIDEO). We sampled the wonderful half board menu offered by the hotel’s chef, I had an amazing rabbit dish, followed by an Aperol Spritzer, (seems to be trendy drink right now though I have to say I am far from convinced) and then it was to bed dreaming about deep, power snow!

Photo accommodation at Sauze d'Oulx
Accommodation at Sauze d’Oulx

Closed Links

Photo in skiing gear
All the gear for skiing

So, it was a little disappointment that we found that there was only a very limited number of slopes open in the Sauze d’Oulx area and furthermore all the links to the wider Milky Way pistes of Sestriere, Montgenevre etc were closed. Looking at the deep snow lying on the ground it was not immediately obvious why this was the case and over the coming days we never really did get a definitive answer. Suggestions from a variety of ski instructors, hotel managers, bar staff, lift operators etc ranged from “lack of snow”, “saving the snow for the Christmas week”, “the electricity cost of running the lifts is too high”, “not enough people to justify opening the lift” etc etc.

However, I have to say as we took our first turns of the 2022/23 ski season it did not seem to matter. The snow was awesome and the perfectly groomed pistes, through the trees underneath dazzling sun and brilliant blue skies was perfect.

Fantastic ski lesson

Photo smiling faces on the slopes
Having fun on the slopes

It was not long before we were skiing to our pre-arranged ski lesson with Emily through the fantastic Maison Sport directory of independent ski instructors. I cannot recommend the Maison Sport website enough. It is a straightforward, simple way of getting in touch with hundreds of highly qualified ski instructors in dozens of resorts. You get to read a personal message from the instructor about their ski philosophy and found out about which groups they work with best. All instructors are verified by Maison Sport before being listed and are reviewed by clients. You can even contact the instructor direct before booking your lesson to ask any question you might have.

We were lucky enough to have a lesson with Emily, a wonderfully jolly, friendly instructor with a huge amount of local knowledge and a very keen eye for picking out just enough of a fault in your technique without damaging your confidence and then giving super clear instructions of how to improve matched with very appropriate drills. The 2-hour lesson whizzed by and at the end of it we felt we had a least of couple of takeaways as well as a great deal of knowledge of the best on the mountain lunch spots and apres ski bars.

Great lunch and tree skiing

After a great lunch stop, of polenta, (a wonderful meat, potato and vegetable stew served with fresh bread) and a beer we hit the slopes again. What struck us was the fantastic tree lined runs between the altitude of 1600m – 2000m. They perfectly suit the keen, enthusiastic, energetic intermediate and above level skier and boarder and were on average of red run gradient. Carving through the freshly packed powder snow was a real treat, though it did strike us that the resort has a very limited range of skiing for beginners and nervous intermediates. The gradient of the slopes was just a little too steep and the nursery slopes could only be accessed by a 4-man chair lift which is hardly ideal.

Apres ski and nibbles

Photo bars and restaurants at Sauze d'Oulx
Don’t forget the bars and restaurants!

We decided to ski all the way down to the base and finish our day with an apres ski drink in one of the many bars at the foot of the slopes. This is something we certainly loved about Sauze d’Oulx. There was a wide choice of bars, all of them slightly different in ambiance, but all offering the same combination of a warm welcome, incredibly cheap prices compared to The Alpine norm and amazing appetiser boards of food.

We chose the “Ghost” bar which offers a “Happy Hour” from 4:00pm – 7:00pm each day and a large beer, (just less than a pint), cost an amazing 3 euros! Imagine that in Meribel! More amazingly though was the food we received for free. A platter of various breads, cheeses, cold cut meats, olives and crisps that could easily have been our evening meal!

Exploring Sestriere

Next day we decided to take a private taxi to the nearby slopes of Sestriere. Now of course it would have been much better/quicker to do this on skis and lifts with our Milky Way lift passes, but with the links closed we did not want to miss out on the Olympic slopes and so we took the 40-minute trip. I like Sestriere. It is not the prettiest place in The Alps and yes, the lifts are mainly slow, 4-man chairs but you are at a base altitude of 2000m meaning the snow is nearly always in good condition and there are precious little crowds on the slopes or lift queues. We skied all day found a great hidden away mountain lunch spot Ristorante Da Cassewhere we had panini’s to die for and then made our way down the mountain to have a quick apres ski drink in my favourite Sestriere bar, QB.

Vive la France

Photo smiling faces in ski gear
Smiles all around for an incredible trip

Next day we decided to head off for another of the Milky Way resorts, this time Montgenevre just over the French border. An easy 30-minute drive took us right into the middle of resort and we were struck by how much more snow there was on the ground compared to Sestriere and Sauze where, as described previously, it was certainly not in short supply. Montgenevre is renowned as having its own microclimate which delivers huge amounts of snow.  I have to say we loved the skiing here. It was a revelation to be back on French slopes with their excellent on lift and piste signage, where the pistes have actual names not just numbers and the piste markers tell you how far it is to the bottom. The snow was awesome. We skied for a few hours on a great range of green, blue, red and black pistes, there really was something for everyone. We took lifts up over 2600m and had a great lunch in Les Terrasses restaurant under beautiful blue skies.






Nightlife in Sauze

Each evening followed a similar pattern. APres ski drinks in the many excellent bars in resort, back to the hotel for a quick freshen up/shower, evening meal in the excellent hotel restaurant and then out for a few cheeky drinks. All of the bars we went in offered a really warm welcome, very reasonable prices and a lively ambiance. We probably went in about 10 different bars in total, some were great for live sport, (we watched the World Cup Final France v Argentina with 50 French students in the Sports Café, had amazing bar nibbles in Bar Assietta, listened to great music in Bar Derby and fantastic local Gin and Tonic in the Scotch Bar. Overall,  I think this was probably the greatest strength of the resort as a whole, there really is a bar for every age group and taste.

Adventure in Turin

Photo of Turin
Adventure in Turin

It was raining on our last day so instead of having a half day on the slopes in the clouds we decided to go and explore Turin and this turned out to be a master stroke. We drove the 1 hour journey down the mountain and first off headed to the rather bizarre indoor shopping centre of Centro Commerciale Lingotto. This is housed in an old Fiat car factory and is a fantastically odd building, a bit like a Charlie and the Chocolate factory oddity. There are loads of high street shops, some great fast-food outlets and a cinema. From here we drove into Turin, an experience not to be missed to fully appreciate the madness of the driving in a major Italian city. Once safely parked we explored this truly beautiful city on foot and were amazed by the incredible, ancient architecture. (PHOTOS). A bit of people watching in a wonderfully authentic Italian café and it was time to head back to the airport.






Sauze d’Oulx in Summary


  1. Really friendly, lively, pretty resort, easy to spend time in at the end of the ski day.
  2. Low on the spot prices for food, drink and lift passes in comparison to French and Austrian resorts. Eg Milky Way 6 day lift pass for 400km is £210. Val d’Isere 6 day lift pass for 300km is £360!!
  3. Short transfer of just over 1 hour from Turin airport.
  4. Huge ski area with lots of different resorts to explore.
  5. Great slopes for intermediate and above skier and boarders both in and above the tree line in Italy and France on the same liuft pass.
  6. Excellent range of accommodation choices for all budget levels.
  7. Base altitude of 1600m and a top altitude of 2800m make this is a fairly snow sure area.


  1. Lots of slow, old chair lifts which does slow down your progress around the ski area.
  2. Terrible piste sign posting which is really confusing and very difficult to follow.
  3. The lift system is prone to closure due to high winds.


  1. Complete beginners have to ride a 4 man chair lift up the mountain to access the nursery slopes. The nursery slops is tiny and the jump up in difficult for the next slope is huge. Sauze is not a resort for complete beginners and early, timid intermediates.
  2. The Milky Way lift pass does not cover most of the slopes in the French resort of Montgenevre. It is easy to upgrade on the door but is a shame it is not all on the same pass.











Get in touch now for more details on how you can explore Sauze d’Oulx too.