Mountain Layout Skiing
Here is a larger, more detailed map.
This overall ski area, the Via Lattea, or Milky Way, comprises more than 129 lifts and 400 km. of interconnected skiing. The main areas are Sestriere, Sauze dOulx, Sansicario, Cesana-Claviere and Mont Genevre (in France).
This is a major area, and though the lifts have improved dramatically for the Olympics, it is very difficult to even ski all the regions in one week. the distances between the resorts by snow are much less , in most cases, than by road.
There is plenty of skiing and riding for those searching for long cruising runs. Most of the area trails have been cut for beginners and intermediates. There are a few black trails here and there, but for the most part, Italians come to ski for enjoyment rather than challenge. These resorts reflect that state of mind. That said, real expert skiers and riders can keep themselves busy off-piste. With an area this large any real expert skier will find plenty of challenge.
Sestriere, by far, has the best access to the slopes and the most challenging skiing in terms of marked terrain. A dozen liftssix of them quadstake skiers from the town to the upper reaches of the mountain. Monte Sises has more advanced and expert trails. Monte Motta/Banchetta is a bit mellower filled mainly with intermediate cruisers and some advanced trails. Much of this sector is above tree line.
Take the Col Basset gondola to connect with Sauze dOulx and the rest of the Via Lattea. That one lift or a shuttle bus is the only connection for most skiers and riders.
Sauze dOulx has beautiful winding trails through forests. The best skiing and lift service is higher on the mountain. Access to the town, whether skiing down or trying to get a lift up, is torturous. New lifts being installed for the Olympics will help, but all skier and riders from Sauze dOulx need to catch one of two double chairs, neither of which is convenient, or a quad lift that is hike or bus ride from the center of town. This is a town where getting to the lifts is a chore, but finding a wild bar is childs play. Almost all of the trails are intermediate and beginners dont really have an easy time of it. There are beginner trails winding down snow-covered mountain roads. Expert can make their own challenge by ducking off-trail whenever they choose.
Sansicario, a purpose built resort, lying on a mountain face between Sauze dOulx and Sestriere has excellent intermediate and beginner trails. The lift access from the hotel areas is fine with two quads and a triple from the base. There is also a new gondola that takes skiers and snowboarders from Cesana to the hotels of Sansicario.
The rest of the Milky Way can be reached by a series of five lifts rising from Cesana-La Comba in the direction of France. Here long trails drop through the trees. At the top of mountain range the lifts interconnect with the French sector, Montgenevre.
This is a different world. The French lift systems are space-age compared to most of the Italian side of the Milky Way. From Cesana to Montgenevre is very full day of skiing.