Sauze d'Oulx's low prices, buzzing nightlife, and easy-skiing pistes keep people coming back year after year...
Officially, the Milky Way's lift system covers a mighty 400km of pistes, though chances are you'll never make it to the more far-flung corners of the area due to the somewhat outdated lift system.
It's a shame, because getting between Sauze d'Oulx and the other four ski resorts in the ski area isn't nearly as easy as it should be.
Resort height: 1,510m
Another problem is snow cover. Some seasons, the snow in Sauze d'Oulx can be good - sometimes there can be blizzards in the Milky Way when the rest of the Alps are bone dry. But its idiosyncratic weather patterns can work against it, too, and in years when resorts in France, Switzerland and Austria are buried beneath a deep white blanket, the cover here can be patchy and/or slushy. What's more, there aren't enough snow cannons to make up the shortfall. So the general rule of thumb is don't book a skiing holiday in Sauze d'Oulx months in advance. Wait until the winter is underway, and you've read the snow reports.
That said, in a good snow year, intermediate skiers will have a ball here, building their confidence on the fast, flattering cruisers beneath Monte Fraiteve, and tearing down the Olympic downhill run of the Motta in neighbouring Sestriere.
It's a quick transfer to Sauze d'Oulx from Turin airport - between 75 and 90 minutes on a good run...
This makes flying and driving by far the easiest way to get to the resort.
Intermediate level skiers will get the most out of the ski area surrounding Sauze d'Oulx...
It's also not bad for beginners and experts, although there are other resorts offering a much larger choice of suitable slopes.
If you're after wild nights out, Sauze d'Oulx will not disappoint. There's not much else in resort for non-skiers, though...
Many Sauze d'Oulx regulars would say the nightlife is half the point of coming here: beer is sold by the pint in many of the bars, and the atmosphere midweek is very British and/or Irish. Things get a little more Italian at the weekend. Paddy McGinty's, the Derby, and the Queen's Lounge are all heaving from early till late, and are supplemented after midnight by dancing at Ex Schuss. For a different, more understated atmosphere, try the Gran Trun wine cellar in the little hotel of the same name.
If you're prepared to put on your drinking hat and get mucky with the après-ski crowd, then all well and good. But if you're after the restaurants and cocktail bars of a glamorous Alpine resort, or the quiet of a rustic mountain village, then don't come to Sauze! As well as partying, there's fun to be had snow-mobiling, ice skating and even bobsleighing. Day trips to Turin and Milan, for shopping or football, are also a possibility, and several tour operators offer excursions.
Cost of living 8/10
It's not exactly cheap: but for the Alps, Sauze is very affordable.
Attractiveness of the resort 6/10
Sauze d'Oulx still has a historic village core, but for the most part accommodation is in functional hotels and apartment blocks. The mountain scenery is pretty, but not nearly as dramatic as the likes of Chamonix of Mürren.