Reporter: Joy Parsons
This holiday took place in the Milky Way ski area with its 400km of pistes, an intermediate’s dream but with plenty for all abilities.
The Hotel du Col is 4 star rated with superb food and great ski out position near the centre of the resort near to the lifts.
The Milky Way villages of Sauze d’Oulx, Sansicario, Claviere and Montgenevre are all linked and easily accessed from Sestriere.
Two weeks before our arrival there had been a 2 metre fall of snow which had settled into excellent conditions except for a considerable avalanche risk which had closed some runs and off piste areas. The weather was fine and sunny apart from high winds on the first day which closed the gondola and several chairs.
During the first two days there were accidents which ended skiing for two members. Whitney had a serious calf muscle injury and Elaine came off a track on her new skis, landing up in deep fresh snow. Finding it impossible to get back up to the run she was taken down on a ‘blood wagon’ to the trauma clinic where 2 strained ligaments were diagnosed in her arthritic knee. Whitney was flown home but Elaine stuck it out for the rest of the holiday.
For myself I had 2 mileage days with Dave Taylor’s Piste Bombers. The first in Sauze was sunny, fast and fun. The second took us over to Montgenevre in excellent conditions and we set off back with plenty of time to spare. Our first problem was that the border crossing at the Rocher de l’Aigle was closed due to avalanche risk, so we had to return via the valley route which is much longer, involving various downhill chairs to Cesana to pick up the gondola to Sansicario. We got up through the lifts there to find that the final drag lift had closed. The buttons were still moving and a nod, wink and wave from Dave saw us move to the front of the lift access point, all seven of us grabbing the buttons to the fury of the lift attendant! We made it to a flat spot where we left the drag lift, skiing down to Borgata where we just made the last lift back to Sestriere. Phew... Good thinking Dave!
The day after this it was snowing. A good day for a rest or a swim in the indoor / outdoor pool or visiting the many cafes and shops in the town.
This fresh snow gave everyone a wonderful last day, soft sunny runs and plenty for the powder hounds to get their skis into. No wind and quite warm.
I got the impression that most club members had enjoyed a very good holiday. Some new members, Sue and Bernard reported good ski lessons and found the club members friendly and welcoming. Rachel did a black run for the first time!
The only complaints were about the poor quality of the piste maps and the inadequate signage, more suited to summer walkers than for winter skiers.
There were queues at Turin on the way out and back but the views out of the plane of the Alps in full snow were as good as it gets...
My thanks to the organisers and to the SCoM members for a memorable week.