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Vialattea Milky Way Sauze Sestriere

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Intense snowfall all morning (and all last night) in Sestriere - should continue all day. Unfortunately most of the lifts are closed, including all the higher ones and the link. The only useful ones to be open are Cit Roc and Garnel. The trees under/around them are barely steep enough to ski properly due to depth of snow!

Edit for update: The Nube d'Argento slow lift from Borgata was also open, found some good powder in the trees around there. I noticed the snow was quite distinctly more heavy below about 1900-1950m. It wouldn't call it wet but it would form snowballs easily. Above that - really light, fluffy and bottomless powder in the trees.

We're due about 6 more hours of very heavy snowfall this evening before mostly stopping around midnight. Should be a complete reset for tomorrow, hopefully they can open more lifts.
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Some photos from Sestriere today:

One of the closed lifts.



I don't envy the man who I later saw digging out his van.



Cafe on the main square.



Snowy view of main square.



Tomorrow provisional lift openings are even worse than today, probably due to the updated 5/5 avi risk. Looks like they will still open three of the lower altitude chairlifts though.
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Good pix.
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Awesome!
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As above, limited pistes open yesterday, and Cit Roc was pretty windy with driving snow above the tree line.
The long blue down to Borgata was empty until mid afternoon, constantly being topped up with fresh snowfall.
Even more snow overnight, so could be a similar day today. Sun forecast from tomorrow and for the rest of the week. Madeye-Smiley
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@AdTee, Looks like everything is shut today apart from the baby drag and chairlift from Borgata Sad
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Webcams this morning are stunning. The Savoy Hotel's roof seems to have lost its lower satellite dish under snow. Fingers crossed that they get it all safe and working asap for you to enjoy.
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Sauze have lifts closed now because of trees down on lift lines, and probably on pistes too. Still, it'll be nice when things settle down.
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Reports of multiple trees falling on lift cables and electrical pylons on the Jouvecaux lift in Sauze.

More concerning reports of an apartment block in Sestriere damaged by avalanche. If true, hope all OK ☹️

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10159766392550114&id=199649850113


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Tue 9-01-18 12:30; edited 1 time in total
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http://www.gazzettadelsud.it/news/english/273513/avalanche-hits-sestriere-apartment-building-2.html
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Sestriere hotels are now ski-in-ski-out...

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On a slightly different note, last season Sauze introduced a 2€ charge for each trip on the shuttle buses that you need to get to the lifts. Discussion at the time centred round the fact that no other European ski resort we know of charges for shuttle buses, and the likelihood that this would put people off returning. The charges are still in place this year. Doesn't sound a lot, but for a family with 2 or 3 kids it will quickly mount up. No doubt some will say that if you can afford a skiing holiday with 2 or 3 kids, you can afford the bus fare.

It would be interesting to know how many complaints the tour operators get about this, and whether they pass them on to the commune. I've emailed the commune asking them why they charge - will be interesting to hear their response.
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deerman wrote:
On a slightly different note, last season Sauze introduced a 2€ charge for each trip on the shuttle buses that you need to get to the lifts.


Absurd. It's not the cost, it's the faff-factor that makes this such a pain. Who wants to rummage around for shrapnel while in full ski regalia?
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It seems rather short-sighted because you are right that the cost and hassle is a disappointing distraction. Conversely, there is always something gratifying about jumping on a bus and not having to pay (unless it’s crammed to bursting as we have experienced in Courcheval and Tignes).

I was pleased that in Sestriere we could park at either end, near the lifts, for free and a space on the main Font de Neige (not sure what it is inItalian!) was €5 per day. I thought that was reasonable for the convenience. It was between Christmas and NY and it was very busy but we found spaces each day.
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Spot the van:

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UPDATE: Over night several tress have buckled under the weight of snow and fallen on to the 3 main tree lined lifts that service Sauze. I'm not sure how many have fallen but I understand it's quiet a lot. Also electrical pylons have fallen on the Jouvenceaux chairlift along with trees. The Clotes chair lift was initially open but then closed but as I left at 10:45 people were being allowed on but expect a fluid situation. An avalanche has damaged an apartment block in Sestriere, as yet I'm not sure if anyone has been injured. These are unprecedented times and unprecedented conditions, certainly in my time here. Every afternoon around 5:30 I get a report from Sestriere telling us which lifts will be open the next day. As soon as I receive this I'll post details.

They’ve managed to clear the main Sportinia lift and Lago Nero so they’ll open tomorrow along with Clotes. Full details here https://www.vialattea.it/bollettini/2018/01/20180010_419.pdf?id=d2a26e4e-8eb0-476a-9ced-2ad15b19c874
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Unfortunately Sestriere only opened the Trebials lift (from Borgata) along with the baby drag today. Got a bit repetitive lapping that, and the powder under the chair was soon a piste. Tomorrow it looks like only 3/19 lifts are opening first thing - they've added Garnel.

The powder is excellent, especially above 2000m - it's slightly heavier below that but not as heavy as yesterday just after it fell. There's a top layer of very light dry snow that fell after temperatures dropped last night. I tested the depth in several places with my pole at 90 degrees to the slope and pushed it down no less than 150cm each time before hitting a hard layer.

I saw a couple of groups today skinning up on the piste under the Nuova Nube lift. Not sure how far up they went.
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Any recommendations on whether it is worth buying a 6 day ski pass for Milky Way for skiing next week (based in Montgenevre) or would it be better waiting to see what conditions are like in case lifts are closed? I see there have been reduced prices on certain days this week because of limited lifts being open. Do you get a refund if lifts are closed if you have a 6 day pass?
Thanks
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I'm pretty unimpressed with the Sestrière lift company today. It's a beautiful clear, still day and 24 hours since the snow stopped. Still only 3/19 lifts open. I see Val disere and tignes have managed to open up way more despite having at least as much (maybe more) snowfall and 4/5 avi risk.

Large queues at the two open chairlifts as many are out skiing today.

Probably good for the people hoping to ski powder tomorrow and Friday but I'm leaving this afternoon.
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@musehead, presumably your next trip will to France then.
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@esaw1, Possibly, I try to go last minute to follow the snow. Perhaps Sestrière isn't a good option for powder chasing. The tree skiing here is great but it's a moot point if they can't open the lifts.
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You may be right but I am a bit wary of the capacity of the average skier from british isles to really understand the decisions and exigencies of safely opening a ski resort. We tend to superimpose our stereotype of the given nationality (lazy, incompetent, not arsed) when we're frustrated but we don't really understand what the risks are or may be. We take it entirely for granted.
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In my honest opinion, Sestriere is one of the worst ski resorts I have been to in my 12 years of snowboarding. Most of my time I am in Colorado but since I married an Italian and we are in Italy this year we went to Sestriere for the season. Here they close connection to Sauze anytime the wind gets over 25 Kmph leaving you with 1/4 of the resort to ski. They didn't even open the resort until Dec. 8th while all the other resorts in the area were already open. Still they didn't even open 80% of the resort until Dec. 23rd including any high-altitude lifts even though there was plenty of snow. From Dec. 27th --> Jan. 6th the resort was packed so anytime between 10:30 AM - 2:00 PM was crazy queues for all ski-lifts. Then the snow came and they pretty much closed down the resort entirely, I haven't even heard any explosions to set off avalanches like I would normally hear at a ski-resort especially after heavy snow. It's the 3rd day since the heavy snows and still only a small fraction of the ski-resort is open. There are no single lines for the ski-lifts and no organization to the queues for the ski-lifts whatsoever, in fact most of the time you will see ski-lifts go with just 1 or 2 people on them. It's almost half-way through January and the terrain park is half-ass built with barely a lip and a gap to jump from. They say "Ski without confines" as their motto and that there is over 400km of pistes but none of that means poo-poo when the connection has been closed over half the time its been open. There are tons of flat and up-hill areas that means for snowboarders you better be good at pushing or you better haul ass if you know what you're doing but still on powder days that can be hard with all the drag.

The city is a huge eyesore, and terribly designed.

And after all that, you would hope that in the evening there is some fun to be had? NOPE. No good parties, no good music until Midnight at Tabata. Who the Be Nice please! wants to party starting at Midnight and then get up to go snowboard the next day?

All-In-All the only thing Sestriere has good is their 37 euro ski-pass.
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Hard to argue with that!
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With regards to the buses in Sauze, you could buy a weekly ticket for around 8 euros last year making it easier.

Doesn't make it right though.
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@BlueCoder77, "..There are no single lines for the ski-lifts and no organization to the queues for the ski-lifts whatsoever..." That's Italy for you, but have to say it applies to most European resorts -- except Scotland !
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@musehead - "The tree skiing here is great but it's a moot point if they can't open the lifts." -- You are absolutely right, this whole area has epic off-piste tree-runs and on powder days like today you can just bomb down the off-piste and rip some epic jumps. I got some big air today while the powder was fresh, but they barely opened the mountain so we just get to watch all that beautiful powder on top soak up the sun with no boards or skis shredding it. I haven't been over to Montgenevere yet, the farthest I have gone is between Montgenevere and Claviere. But from where I have been Borgata and Sportinia / Sauze are some of the best off-piste. Watch out in Borgata, they got some nasty cliffs hidden in those trees.

@albob - "That's Italy for you, but have to say it applies to most European resorts." -- You know I keep hearing that from a lot of people I talk to, even my wife keeps telling me, "You don't understand, this is Italy." I guess I am just spoiled growing up snowboarding in Steamboat Colorado.
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BlueCoder77, you make some good points. At the least, I fear Via Lattea might want to invest in slightly better information flows. I notices Tignes and possibly other places were quite hot at issuing notices on their websites. I would be very frustrated in your position. I also share your concerns about the inflexibility in opening the resort and then only partially, but I assume that is all about bare economics.

We’ve been there when it’s busy, and didn’t find an issue edging forward as singles for chairlifts (which were being filled-up) and the Sauze cabin did have a sort of singles line, but it wasn’t as obvious as some I’ve seen.

I can’t comment on the blasting but I did notice there were the usual gas-powered devices at various points. Perhaps having had an avalanche hit a building, they wanted to let the snow settle before blasting? Again, better information from the resort would help.

I do slightly disagree about the town itself. I quite like it. It’s not Mayrhofen or another quaint postcard town, but Ive been to a lot of places that are far less attractive or convenient. Perhaps not a party place though.

My hope is that Via Lattea see your post and think on it. It wouldn’t hurt to email them when you return if you have time.

Hope you get more out of the rest of your trip.
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I will email them some comments / suggestions. I'm here all season.
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It looks like they finally opened most of the available terrain today, plus the link lift, 72 hours after the snow and wind stopped. Still only 9/19 lifts running though, and none of the 3 highest ones.

@8611, I am very wary of being an armchair pisteur and I can't claim to understand the complexities of making a resort safe. However it's clear that Sestriere has been far worse at re-opening compared to other resorts that were badly hit by the same weather - such as the Espace Killy, Zermatt and Cervinia. From @BlueCoder77's comment it sounds like this wasn't a one-off.
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@musehead - Yeah they did and it was glorious.

I was over in Sauze and there was basically no waits on the Ski Lifts. Vialattea is beautiful and some damn good off-slope snowboarding when it's open and not-packed. Even the second-hand powder was nice to play around in the trees. wink
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deerman wrote:
On a slightly different note, last season Sauze introduced a 2€ charge for each trip on the shuttle buses that you need to get to the lifts. Discussion at the time centred round the fact that no other European ski resort we know of charges for shuttle buses


Apart from Serre Chevalier, which introduced a €2 charge this season to much uproar...................
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Hi, all. Any updates on conditions and lift operations? From what I see on these pages most places seem to be back to some degree of “normal”

That said, I was looking at some threads for other areas and in Cervinia (I think) a whole lift bottom station was erased from the mountain, bar the huge concrete anchor. It might have been there or somewhere in France that people were also noting a lack of blasting. Have they been blasting in Via Lattea now that the immediate aftermath has been dealt with?
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Just got back from Sauze perfect conditions all weekend no queues on lifts and dead quiet slopes. Had a great weekend. I see now they have had to close some lifts today due to high winds and they were expecting more snow. Had a great weekend Very Happy
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Off to Sauze next Sunday 28th, really excited now snowHead
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I was moaning about communications from Sestriere when the snow hit. I did some searching and actually found some detailed press releases, but in Italian. I shouldn’t have grumbled - part of the charm of the place is that it retains genuine Italian charm.

Anyway, here is a link to the Comune website news page. It is in Italian, but if you open in Chrome it will translate it for you (safari on my iPad won’t). Hopefully this is helpful to Via Lattea fans.

http://www.comune.sestriere.to.it/it-it/avvisi/2018/news-comunicati-stampa/dopo-la-grande-nevicata-prosegue-al-top-la-stagione-dello-sci-interamente-riaperta-la-sp-23-83106-1-abb0b2773a70ec8bcd8927c7af72aa2c

What is fascinating is that the avalanche was actually snow falling off a roof, hitting the slope behind the apartments and breaking open the windows through which the snow subsequently flowed. Shocked

Feefee, have a great trip and we look forward to your report.
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Any updates for Sauze? Also flying out on Sunday 28th . . .fingers crossed for another dump midweek followed by sunshine . . snowHead snowHead snowHead
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Belch

https://www.3bmeteo.com/neve/sauze+d'oulx

Looks like a foot of snow and then solid sunshine. Nice!
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Hi, not a weather-related question, but has anyone ever used Sauzeonline to book transfers from Turin to Sauze D'Oulx and would you recommend? Or of course does anyone have better / cheaper suggestions?

Return transfer for 4 people with Sauzeonline including ski bags looks like being 300 Euros so not a lot different to hiring a big enough car plus fuel plus tolls etc

Thanks.
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