Sestriere Lifts & Terrain

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Sestriere Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Via Lattea Ski Resorts

Cesana Sansicario
Claviere
Montgenevre
Sauze d'Oulx
Via Lattea

    Sestriere Ski Trail Map
  • Sestriere Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)(Via Lattea)
    1,350m – 2,823m (1,473m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    6m+
  • Lifts (70)(Via Lattea)
    6 Gondolas/cable cars
    34 Chairlifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Dec to late April
    8:45am - 5:00pm
  • Terrain Summary (Via Lattea)
    Runs – 400km
    Longest run – 9km+
    Advanced - 19%
    Intermediate - 47%
    Beginner - 34%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 20/21
    Via Lattea (Italian Sector)
    Adult - €39
    Child - from €10

    Via Lattea International
    (incl. Montgenevre in France)
    Adult - €50
    Child - from €10
    Via Lattea Ski Trail Map
  • Via Lattea Ski Trail Map

Sestriere is a high elevation ski resort that is both compact, but skis BIG. The Olympic heritage at Sestriere indicates its on-piste strengths.

Sestriere Skiing & Snowboarding

As with all Via Lattea ski resorts, Sestriere should never be viewed individually when it comes to terrain. It is intrinsically linked to its neighbouring resorts of Sauze d’Oulx & Cesana-Sansicario. Locally, the skiing & snowboarding at first glance appears to all be in the high alpine zone (the village is over 2,000m elevation after all), but the lower ½ of the expansive Motta is beautifully tree-lined with larch forest. Several long, fast advanced pistes are a feature of the resort. Challenging off-piste terrain is available for the adventurous & fresh snow can lay unsullied alongside piste runs for days. Skiable verticals in Sestriere, as with much of the Vialattea are all less than 1,000m, and usually substantially less than that!

See here for the Sestriere ski trail map.

Sestriere's local ski area may be relatively compact, but its standard (& ridiculously cheap) lift pass includes 305km of piste trails. At Sestriere itself, there are three main sectors: Sises (directly in front of the Sestriere village), Motta (above the Borgata village, down valley from Sestriere) & Fraiteve (rising behind the village). Motta is the highest sector (at 2,800m), has more skiing options, and is best known for its long challenging piste trails. Letting it rip down these runs for the full 960m vertical is a wonderful eye watering experience. A range of skiable tree runs & alpine freeride terrain are available up high. Sises provides good off-piste action from the summit, plus a series of shorter pistes for all abilities. The fun top section of Sises area (similarly to Motta) is served by a longish surface tow which may challenge some snowboarders. Fraiteve may have a limited number of on-piste trails, but it is the true centre of the Italian sector of the Via Lattea. Sensational off-piste freeride possibilities are on all aspects from its 2,700m summit.

Sestriere is a snowboard friendly destination, however the high elevation surface lifts on Sises & Motta may challenge some riders. The broader Via Lattea has several long traverses connecting the different ski areas which may similarly challenge riders to keep sliding. Or you can just walk. The Sestriere terrain park is small but good & well sited in front of the village for extreme bouts of showing off, or epic fails!

Sestriere Skiing Highlights

The Sestriere skiing (& snowboarding) highlights are many & varied, plus extend well beyond the boundaries of the local ski resort. Tick off the following when in the region.

  • On your first morning if there is no fresh powder to be plundered (always the priority!), conduct your own Tour del Sestriere. Start at the Fraiteve gondola, taking it all the way up. Scope the entire region from the summit. Take the pistes all the way back down, passing the gondola mid-station & continuing into Borgata. Load onto the Nuove Nube chair, exiting stage left to head down to the Pattemouche cable car top station & slide on all the way to the lowest part of the resort at Pattemouche & Club Med. Take the cable car up & do a lovely tree-lined run back down to Borgata. Ride the Nuove Nube up again, but this exit stage right & (if up for it) take the La Motta tow up or alternatively just go out wide coming back down toward Borgata for a third time. This time though, stop for a quick coffee at Da Casse hut before saddling up again. In Borgata, load onto the Trebials chair. At the top, take in the close-up view of the village, then slide down the ‘Baby’ slope (do a few leaps in the terrain park!) before loading onto Cit Roc chair to ascend Sises. At the top either continue up the Sises tow to the top (& then head down the advanced pistes from there), or if not up to it, pick an easy trail down to the gondola base. That’s it, now you have your bearings ….. go forth.
  • Spend half a day skiing all the piste permutations in the Motta sector - there a lot more than at first appears.
  • Ski or board the high alpine steeps off the Motta & Sises peaks either on or off piste & top to bottom without stopping. It should induce tears through your goggles & go some way to liquefying your thighs.
  • Explore the broad alpine off-piste on all aspects from Fraiteve, Sises, Motta & Pietre de l'Aigle summits.
  • On a powder day find the best aspect & plunder away. Unlike some resorts, you will have little competition!
  • Head off the piste and into the trees, particularly in the lower Motta area & Sauze d’Oulx. Larch forests line all the lower runs & most are spaced well enough for exploration (with all due care). Wonderful on a powder day, exciting & challenging otherwise.
  • Once you have fully explored the on-piste possibilities at Sestriere, whoop & yip down the longest piste trail in the area - the 7km run into Sansicario from the summit of Fraiteve (2701m).
  • Complete the full ski tour of the Via Lattea by following the aptly named Giro della Vialattea. The route includes all five ski areas in the Vialattea, utilises over 21 ski lifts & requires the purchase of the more expensive ‘international’ Via Lattea ski pass which includes Montgenevre. The journey takes between 6 to 7hr, so an early start is necessary. Don’t attempt the Giro on a weekend, you may find yourself taking a bus or taxi home!
  • End the day by skiing to the frontside I.GLOO sky bar for après ski looking up to the peaks as the sun goes down.

Ski Lifts

Sestriere has the best lift infrastructure of all the Italian Via Lattea ski resorts, thanks largely to the Winter Olympics. One can access the Italian Via Lattea ski resorts of Sauze d’Oulx & Cesana-Sansicario directly from Sestriere via the Fraiteve gondola using the standard daily ski pass. The gondola is the best access to the other resorts in the area, effectively tripling the Sestriere ski area off one lift. From the top one can head left to the long fall line intermediate pistes of Sansicario and (then eventually Claviere) or right into the excellent Sauze d’Oulx.

As with everything, there are exceptions to the rule and at Sestriere the exceptions are the two surface tows high on Motta & Sises. We assume the rationale is to limit access to better skiers & boarders, plus be able run more often in high winds. Hang on tight, particularly on Sises.

Club Med has a few minor beginner lifts mid-mountain on Motta for the exclusive use of their guests. A tad strange in our view, but there it is……

The broader Via Lattea ski lifts are of a generally modest quality. Far & away the best are in the international sector at Montgenevre.

Lift Tickets & Passes

There are two types of basic day lift passes at Sestriere. The Via Lattea & Via Lattea International ski pass. Both are exceptional value by world standards.

See here for the full Via Lattea ski trail map.

Via Lattea

One can access all the major Italian Via Lattea ski resorts directly from Sestriere via the Fraiteve gondola using the standard daily ski pass. The gondola is the best access to the other resorts in the area, effectively tripling the Sestriere ski area off one lift. From the top of the gondola one can head left to Sansicario - Cesana (& then eventually Claviere), or right into the excellent Sauze d'Oulx. The total ski trails in the Italian sector of the Via Lattea is a hefty 305km.

Via Lattea International

Beyond the Italian sector (past the border at Claviere), a supplement is required to be paid for the ski pass to cover the lifts at the Montgenevre ski resort in France. A journey here is highly recommended. Skiing all the way to Montgenevre and return can be a tough day for some. It may be better to drive to Claviere or taking the bus and starting at Cesana. From Sestriere, Montgenèvre can be reached within 1hr by lifts & pistes. It is possible to buy a Via Lattea International ski pass, rather than paying the supplement.

Snow & Weather

Whilst Sestriere sits on a delightfully sunny plateau, its mainly north-facing slopes enjoy guaranteed quality snow cover. Thanks to reliable natural snowfall, a high base altitude over 2000m and one of the world's most extensive snow making operations, the piste trails here have amongst the best coverage in the region. Southerly aspected slopes on parts of Monte Fraiteve above and behind the village can get sun-affected, so after a snowfall, ski the off-piste there earlier rather than later.

Ski Trail Map

The Sestriere ski trail map provides a very simplistic representation of the lifts & pistes It should NOT be utilised for backcountry planning & anyone skiing the resort should pay close attention to the signage. The broader Via Lattea ski trail map attempts to cover over 400km of trails across two countries. Whilst it does an admirable job, new visitors to the area may lose their way on occasions - but how bad can getting lost in such a great ski area be?

On-Piste Trails

Sestriere is the best all-round ski resort for on-piste, groomer sliding in the Italian sector of the Via Lattea. We reckon Montgenevre is the best overall, but shh, don’t tell anyone!

If seeking lessons for on or off-piste skiing or snowboarding, check out the options via this link.

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Novices & Beginners

Novice skiers & boarders are restricted to safe learn to ski areas on the immediate ‘frontside’ of the village. Beginner runs and a snow-park are above the ski school meeting point near, which is nice and handy if you are starting out. There are several easy blue runs in the Borgata ski area and longer trails coming down from the Fraiteve mid-station behind the village, one of which runs alongside the moving traffic on the road - always good fun. Opposite the gondola base, the lower section of the Garnel chair has some easy sheltered slopes.

Intermediates

The intermediate piste trails are concentrated on the Motta sector. A solid diversity of beautiful groomers are spread across the mountainside, all heading into Borgata. A few reasonable rifugi & mountain restaurants dot the terrain too, allowing for comfortable breaks. Beyond that the real intermediate on-piste ‘juice’ is at neighbouring Sansicario. Take the Fraiteve gondola up first thing in the morning for super turns.

Advanced

Advanced on-piste trails at Sestriere are the best in the region. It is best known for the 2.5km Kandahar run. Letting it rip down this run is a wonderful eye watering experience and will test the stamina of the best groomerhounds if done at a pace! Several of the longer intermediate pistes will please any advanced groomerhound that is keen on ’stepping on the gas’ too. On Sises, the lower advanced pistes below Alpette accessed from the Cit Roc chair are well-pitched, but relatively short. The steep, fun, top section of Sises is served by a longish surface tow which may challenge some snow-sliders. Fraiteve has no advanced pistes, but there is an option over in Sansicario or further afield, Montgenevre has a few beauties.

Off Piste & Freeride Terrain

The resort of Sestriere has three distinct freeride zones based on the mountain complexes of Motta-Rognosa, Sises & Fraiteve. Beyond these, the broader Via Lattea off-piste includes the wonderful larch forests of Sauze d’Oulx & the complex options through the Moon Mountains between Claviere & Montgenevre, plus further out in the excellent Chalvet sector of the French resort.

Motta

From the top lift, the broad alpine area to the skiers left has oodles of freeride possibilities, all linking back easily. Lower down, the larch forests come into play. A good adventure run is the long bowl out of the rest boundary behind the Hotel Tana Delle Volpe on Motta. It heads into Val Troncea & than with a bit of effort reaches all the way to the bottom of the cable car near Club Med Pragelato for an easy return to the resort.

Sises

Sises has super steep north-aspect terrain plus some long gentler descents on the sunny south-aspect descents that can either return into the resort or keep heading all the way down to the SP215 road where a skin, hitch or car shuffle is required.

Fraiteve

The summit Monte Fraiteve dominates the Italian sector of the Via Lattea ski area. Everything on the eastern side of the main summit ridge leads back into Sestriere, although care needs to be taken heading down to the south or you will need to skin, bus or hitch hike back into the village. In safe snow conditions, numerous steep couloirs can be skied back into the resort on the north side of the peak. Care should be taken!

Sestriere Backcountry

The Val di Susa is loaded with backcountry terrain that we will never be able to explore in any meaningful way. That is why there is a heli-ski company exploiting it (read below). However, close to the resort, the most obvious ‘backcountry’ feature is the looming 3,280m Monti Rognosa. The ridges running up to it from Sises & Motta hold a multitude of descents including numerous couloirs.

From the Sises ridge, the south-facing slopes lead down to the SP215 road or further along into the isolated Valle Argentera. From Motta, wild alternatives are over the ridge into Val Troncea. There are feasible descents all the way down toward Pattemouche/Pragelato via Laval. The Val Troncea itself is a remote place to explore in winter, plus there are a few rifugi in prime positions too. There are further ‘backcountry’ options all leading down toward Pragelato on the ‘backside’ ridges accessed from Sauze d’Oulx ski lifts (i.e. the Sestriere/Pragelato side of Pietre d’Aigle, Colle Basset, Mt Triplex & Mt Moncrons), effectively heading into the upper Val Chisone. If staying in lovely Allevè above Pragelato, we reckon it would be a delightful adventure skiing back to it from the top of the extensive ridge. Plenty to explore if one uses their imagination.

As with all backcountry & off-piste skiing & boarding, if in any doubt get a guide via our Via Lattea Ski Lessons & Guiding page.

Heliskiing in the Val di Susa

At least one heliskiing company is based in Sestriere. Single run, full day and multi-day options are available on a vast number of peaks in the Val di Susa. See here for a heliski tour option .