High in the Susa valley, surrounded by larch and fir forests, Sauze is a large village with a long winter sports history. The first skiers from Switzerland arrived in the 1890s and it was a favourite destination for Turin’s aristocracy in the early 20th century.
No longer notorious as the domain of the British lager lout, today it’s still the liveliest resort in the Via Lattea where the après-ski still gears up early and buzzes till late.
But there’s also a charming old centre with some very good restaurants and bars. There’s no heavy traffic in the village and a ski bus services the resort area, which is free in 2009 / 2010.
There are a few chalets mixed mostly with 2- and 3-star family-run hotels, but with a couple of 4-stars including the excellent Capricorno at Clotes (00 39 012 285 02 73), located directly on the slopes and which has also has a gourmet restaurant. In Sauze itself, the Relais des Alpes (00 39 012 285 97 47) and Stella Alpina (00 39 012 285 06 80) are centrally located.
Ski/Snowboard equipment hire
There’s a cinema, ice rink, sports centre, games room and excursions to see Turin’s Juventus play, just over an hour away. Skidoo jaunts are very popular and the ski bob at Sansicario Cesana-Torinese is always a thrill.
Sauna, massage and other wellness facilities are available in the larger hotels. Try the Grand Hotel La Torre (00 39 012 285 98 12) for a splash-out including turkish bath and hydromassage —claimed to purify both body and mind.
There is a park opposite Moncrons Cocktail bar where children regularly play. While there's a nursery slope at the base of the Clotes chairlift, most teaching takes place at the Sportina Plateau where lessons are available from age four.