Surrounded by the majestic alpine slopes and picturesque valleys of Piedmont, among the winding slopes of the famous Milky Way and just a few kilometers from the French border, the popular ski resort of Sestriere is located, combining excellent infrastructure and excellent conditions for winter sports. This small village, founded in the 30s of the last century and later becoming a venue for world-class competitions, has become a real mecca for ski lovers in its not very long history, attracting them with numerous slopes of varying difficulty, cozy comfortable hotels, lively nightlife and fabulously beautiful nature of the Alps.
The name Sestriere comes from “Pietra sesteria” (Italian), which means “sixth stone” – one of the landmarks on the road from the nearest city – Turin. In fact, Sestriere was founded in 1934, with the opening of the municipality of the resort village. However, the history of this picturesque mountainous area goes back to the distant past – back in the days of the Roman Empire, when the first inhabitants appeared in the Chisone and Susa valleys. Then the territory was under the rule of the Saracens and Vandals, retreated to France, the path of the Napoleonic army lay through Sestriere during the campaign against Piedmont in 1814, and archaeological excavations prove that the great Hannibal made his passage through the Alps in these places. However, the founder of Sestriere is considered to be the Italian senator and industrialist Giovanni Agneli – it was he, one of the owners of the Fiat concern, who in 1930 became the founder of Sestriere.
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Sestriere is the main resort of the Alpine ski area of the Milky Way (Via Lattea), located in the north-west of Italy, in the province of Piedmont, between the Chisone and Susa valleys, a few kilometers from the French border, at an altitude of 2035 m, covers an area of 2580 hectares. The resort unites four main ski areas: Sestriere Colle, Sestriere Borgata, Champlas du Col and Champlas Janvier.
How to get
there The nearest international airport is Caselle in Turin (105 km, a little over an hour from the resort).
Slopes, pistes, lifts
The entire Milky Way ski area has 400 km of pistes (blue – 95 km, red – 218 km, black – 87 km) with 900 guns, 92 lifts and pistes with lighting for night skiing.
Skiing altitude difference – 1400-2823 m.
Sestrier’s own ski area includes three areas: Monte Sises (2600), Monte Motta (2823) – located on the northwestern slopes and Monte Fraiteve (2701), located on the southeastern slope.
The Monte Motta area has over 10 km of cross-country skiing trails.
Nearby there are several slopes for beginners, as well as a snowboard park with an excellent pipe and boardercross track.
The region’s most famous off-piste descent is Rio Nero, leading from the top of Monte Fraiteve along the river gorge to the Ul Cesana road.
Also famous is the “black” descent of Kandahar Banchetta – Giovanni Nasi, starting from a height of 2800m.
The resort has: a sports complex with a swimming pool, a sauna, a Turkish bath, a swimming pool with outdoor and indoor sections, tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, an ice rink, squash, volleyball, basketball courts, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, football, table tennis, paragliding, fitness, fishing on a mountain lake, rafting.
Olympics in Sestriere
In 2006, Sestriere became one of the seven settlements for the XX Winter Olympic Games, the opening of which took place in Turin. Competitions were held in two zones – Borgata (Sestriere Borgata) and Cholle (Sestriere Colle). Borgat hosted men’s Super G Slalom, Downhill and Combined Downhill tournaments, which were held on the famous Kandahar Banchetta. Cholla hosted men’s and women’s slalom and giant slalom competitions. The giant slalom took place on the Sises slope, considered one of the most technically difficult in the world – this exciting competition attracted about 9250 spectators.
Ski schools and kindergartens
In addition to group and private lessons for adults and children, the school in Sestriere offers night skiing, freeride tours and tests of new equipment. There is a kindergarten for children from 2 years old.
Chapel Madonna “Regina Pacis” – a chapel built in 1922-24. designed by the architect Carlo Chardonnnet, in memory of the soldiers who died during the war of 1915-18, dedicated to the Madonna of Peace, who is the patroness of Sestriere.
Obelisk to Napoleon – the obelisk was erected in 1924 in Kandahar Square in honor of the 100th anniversary of Napoleon’s crossing of the Alps.
St Edward’s Church is a church built by Giovanni Agnelli in memory of his son Edward, who died in a plane crash in 1935. The author of the project is the architect Bonadè Bottinoe Chevalley.
The Tree of Life is a unique 13.5 m high sculpture donated to Sestriere by the sculptor Mario Ceroli. It is a tree of 2000 glass leaves with a length of 3 to 0.5 m – during the day the leaves play in the rays of the sun, and in the evening they are illuminated by a special lighting system.
Restaurants and bars
Sestriere offers guests a wide range of entertainment with 33 restaurants and more than 30 bars, pubs and nightclubs. The resort’s mountain-side restaurants serve local and international cuisines with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Traditional Italian pasta is excellently prepared at the Rifugio Alpette restaurant, and at the Chisonetto restaurant, delicious polenta is prepared. Local delicacies can be tasted at Du Grand-Pere, Antica Osteria and Le Lanternes, and from the cozy restaurants Lou Brachettes and La Tana della Volpe, located near the upper Banchetta station, you can enjoy stunning scenery. The resort’s bars are a great place to relax and meet, one of the trendiest bars is Kandahar, and the Black Sun, Irish Igloo and Tabata discotheques are especially lively.