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Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

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3 great ski areas you’ll reach from Turin

I regionerna Piemonte och Aosta i nordvästra Italien ligger några av Europas äldsta skidanläggningar. I 200 år har alpinister, kungligheter och turister kommit till den här delen av Alperna för att uppleva det dramatiska landskapet, njuta av hälsobringande källor och utöva vintersport. Samtliga nås enkelt från Turins flygplats.

The villages of La Via Lattea and the Aosta Valley now house modern hotel facilities and ski networks, but the tides of time are still all around, among cobbled streets and older buildings. And the neighborhoods offer more than just skiing. There’s a tempting range of food and culture here, in the form of restaurants, pubs and specialty museums.

After a long day on the Italian slopes, there’s nothing to rival a freshly baked pizza. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

   The area of La Via Lattea, which consists of six ski resorts, extends across the French border. Claviere on the Italian side shares lift systems with France’s Montgenèvre and many tourists move back and forth between the resorts.

  Courmayeur, the gem of the Aosta Valley, similarly has a “sister village” in the form of Chamonix in France, which you reach through the Mont Blanc tunnel or via a tour with a guide over the mountain massif.

   With a transfer time of about 90 minutes from Turin airport, now you can quickly and easily reach all of these French and Italian alpine villages. For families with children, Montgenèvre is an attractive option with its wide range of activities, while experienced skiers tend to head for Courmayeur and beginners perhaps feel more at home in Claviere.

Courmayeur – for the experienced

Retired cable car in Courmayeur. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

High above Courmayeur, which is nestled down in the valley. With the help of a guide, you can ski on the mountain massif between Courmayeur and Chamonix. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

At the foot of Mont Blanc, (or Monte Bianco as the Italians call it), lies this splendid, classic ski resort. -Surrounded by high peaks and glaciers, it’s a real favorite among professionals. If you’re looking to challenge yourself, take the cable car from La Palaud, 2.5km north of Courmayeur, up to Punte Hellbronner (3,462m above sea level) and work your way through the Mont Blanc massif with a guide. The tour, which takes about five hours, is best ended with a beer in Chamonix, before your return by bus back through the tunnel under the mountain.

Outside of the snowy season, Courmayeur is a renowned center for hiking and climbing, and you can find out about many of the famous mountain expeditions from around the turn of the last century at the little Museo Alpino Duca degli Abruzzi.

Courmayeur also has a rich nightlife, with many bars, cafes and nightclubs along the main street. For those after a serious after-ski, this is a safe bet.

Montgenèvre – snow safe for the family

Canadian skier Chad Sayers enjoys pristine powder between Claviere and Montgenèvre. In the background, 3,841m Monte Viso is the highest peak in the area. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

Renowned for its reliable supply of snow and sun, Montgenèvre has long been known as the family-friendly option in the La Via Lattea area. In addition to its wide range of slopes of varying difficulty, there’s also a skating rink, a popular snowboard park and a snow garden for children. The recently built Durancia Spa is beautifully situated and offers breathtaking mountain views. Here you can swim outdoors even when the landscape around is covered in snow, while if you fancy taking a longer excursion, the late 19th century Fort du Mont Chaberton, one of Europe’s highest forts, is well worth a visit.

Claviere – for all levels of skiing

High above Claviere, professional skier Henrik Windstedt leaves the pass between Claviere and Montgenèvre on the French side behind him. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

The more relaxed Claviere suits anyone looking for a more quiet breath of nature during the ski season. Here, the slopes cut through varied landscapes with deep forests and open views. For those who want a break from the slopes, there are also some 35km of cross-country tracks. Claviere is renowned for its ski school which offers courses for beginners and children, and the majority of the slopes here are light to medium in terms of difficulty.

At the resort, you’ll find the best pizza at At Kilt Ristorante, while Golf Club Claviere, with its classic Italian cuisine is also worth a visit. A Via Lattea lift pass gives you access to Sestriere, Sauxe d’Oulx, Sansicario, Cesana and Montgenevre, the neighboring French village, just 2km away.

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