More of a large village than a town, Sauze d'Oulx has a traditional village centre full of attractive cobbled streets and huge stone slab roofed houses. The modern part of the village sprawls along the sloping mountain shelf with plenty of apartments and nice little restaurants tucked between the trees. The village views are fairly impressive, sat at the end of the Milky Way with balcony style views down the valley.
The lower slopes are carpeted in trees and runs are split by woods and ravines, it gives you a real sense of travelling around and the tree cover means you'll get great visibility in bad weather and fantastic Instagram shots when the suns out - Sauze gets more days of sunshine than your average ski resort, we're not complaining. Sportinia sits just above the village in a clearing at 2,000m; around here the runs open out to sweeping panoramic views and links over to Sestriere and the rest of the ski area.
With around 15 local restaurants on the mountain there's plenty of lunch options. Try the Ciao Pais for a picturesque off-the-beaten-track location and great speciality dishes, though be warned, not all restaurants are marked on the piste map which can be a little frustrating.
Skiing in the resort
If you're a confident intermediate skier that loves to eat up the miles all day long then this could just be the perfect resort for you. It's a cruisy red run paradise and most of the blacks aren't too challenging either. The lower slopes covered in great swaths of larch tree forests are home to some of the best runs winding back through the trees to the village.
Beginners have more scarce offerings, the ski schools are great and there are a couple of magic carpets to get to grips with planks on your feet, however, it's the progression terrain that's lacking, there are a few bits but the dodgy piste classification doesn't help. Though if you are confident in your turns you should have no problem, with 32% of runs classed as blue there's plenty to test your technique.
For advanced riders, the easy connections over to Sestriere are where you should head. They open up the black runs at the top of Mount Motta and Mount Sises, as well as the Kandahar Olympic standard slalom course and Barchetta, runs. Fraiteve offers some challenging northern face skiing and off-piste opportunities if you take a guide. Though possibly the best fun to be had is between the runs and in the trees side-country, there's plenty to hunt out.
An entertainingly varied après scene, Sauze d'Oulx has stepped away from its lager-fiend reputation and into a more sophisticated world. There's still plenty of bars run by Brits and tonnes of happy hours all over the place, but the clientele has grown up, no longer 90's ravers but Turin's weekend crowds and grown up 90's kids.
Anything from rewarding tea and cakes to cocktails on sunny terraces and late night live music, Sauze's après and nightlife is as lively as you wish to make it. The centre still goes onto into the early hours so cheap beers and ski boots on the table can be found. But the more laid back vibes on sun terraces such as at Scacco Matto or relaxed atmosphere at the Scotch Bar are where we'd be heading.
What we like
- Extensive slopes with great tree coverage making some picturesque skiing
- Entertaining and lively après scene with a fantastic choice of bars and restaurants
- Short transfer from Turin, you can arrive in an hour on a good day
- Around the village can be some steep walks, you may want to take proper shoes rather than heels on a night out
- Weekends can be busy with the crowds coming up from Turin - at least the après is lively
- Beginners be wary - it's a resort more suited to intermediates or advanced skiers and boarders