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Cheap and cheerful - but that's no bad thing
Sauze d'Oulx (Italy)
Member Name: vladimpala
Sauze d'Oulx (Italy)
Date: 02/12/00, updated on 20/09/04 (3174 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap, miles of great red runs, short transfers, part of Milky Way
Disadvantages: Quite rowdy, less reliable snow conditions
Sauze d'Oulx forms part of the Milky Way ski area, which includes Sestriere and streches all the way to Montgenevre in France. As a ski area it's huge and you probably won't get to see a fraction of it in a week. If you are lucky your tour operator may run a day trip to Montgenevre which is worth visiting, if only for a change in scenery.
The slopes immeadiately above Sauze are predominantly red (intermediate) runs varying between long sweeping cruises and plunging drops with plenty to keep an intermediate happy. Experts need to go a bit further afield to find decent black runs and even then there aren't a great number of them - it's not really ideal for experts. If you do go further afield try not to get caught on the wrong side of the mountains when the lifts close - you will need to get a taxi back and that's not cheap.
The ski school I used was staffed by Italians and while the instructor was always friendly and helpful his english was patchy which made things a bit more difficult. That said he was always able to get the message across in the end.
During the week the slopes are not too crowded and the queues for the lifts are reasonably short. The italians obviously have a different approach to queuing from the british so prepeare to be a bit more easy going when queuing. Things get much busier at the weekend - because the resort is so close to Turin it is popular with the natives as well as tourists.
There are plenty of mountain cafes scattered all over the resort - usually close to the lifts with pasta and a coke available for about £5/6 -it's not haute cuisine but it's hot, tasty and more importantly quick.
Fresh off the slopes you can try out lethal fresh orange and vodka (and I mean fresh, squeezed from ruby oranges and served with bits and all) at Andy Capp's near the main chair lift. Overall there is no shortage of watering holes and night clubs, everything from ka
reoke to Irish theme bars. Unusually for a ski resort the drink is pretty cheap, so expect a few drunk people to be about later on. The resort has, as a whole, a bit of a reputation as a party town - but there are quiter parts and once you are on the slopes you probably won't notice the difference.
The resort would benefit from being a bit higher up - while you can ski into the resort most of the slopes are much higher up the mountain and the lower pistes leading to the resort can get a bit slushy.
Overall a great resort for intermediates, whether you choose to party on or not.