The Milky Way is comprised of five ski areas: Sestrière, Sauze d'Oulx, Cesana, Claviere, Sansicario and Montgenèvre in the French Alps, making it the largest in Italy. Sestrières is the most popular range on the Italian side, and it hosted the 1997 World Cup Ski Races as well as the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. Although the area caters to all ages, the majority of the slopes are more suited to intermediate (55 percent) and advanced skiers (21 percent).
New skiers have a village level nursery slope at the base of the Clotes chair, with lessons taking place at short beginner drags at Sportina. Cesana and Claviere are fun for intermediates because of varied terrain and ease of access to neighboring areas. Those who are looking for the action can find it in Sestrières at Mount Sises. The run is wide in its highest part and steep, but flattens out around Mount Alpette. Sauze d'Oulx's ski area is accessible from the village at four different points, all with chair lifts linked at resort level.
When it comes to accommodations, those looking for a quieter atmosphere should consider San Sicario, while those hoping for great nightlife should look to staying in Sauze d'Oulx. Sauze d'Oulx has numerous bars and restaurants to choose from featuring Italian aperitivos. Caffe della Seggiovia wine bar is a local hotspot which opened in 2010 and offers a number of great wines, many sourced from the Piedmont region. But if altitude is your main draw, the lowest (Cesana) sits at 1,350 meters high while the highest, Sestrière, is at 2,035 meters high.
Many of the resorts also offer ski lessons and rentable equipment so you don't have to lug yours across overseas. Sestrière's ski school provides group and private lessons, with the former offered daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. No matter which ski area you choose, you're bound to have a good time, especially when you're back at your chalet sipping on Italian wines.