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Headed to Torino/Turin. Recommendations?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
So it looks like I'm getting sent to Torino for work in early February. I'll have two days of meetings, and probably a half day (if I'm lucky, two half days) available for skiing.

Where should I go? What are the options? If the day of the week is a factor (crowds, etc.), I'll likely be skiing on Thurs., Feb. 7 in the afternoon. If my schedule opens up, perhaps on Sat., Feb. 9 in the afternoon as well.

Do I lug my skis and boots all the way there for a half day, or just rent? Or just bring my boots and rent skis?

I won't have a car there, so I'll be relying on public transportation, cabs, etc.

I'll probably be flying Lufthansa, through Frankfurt.

Any other sightseeing recommendations in and around Turin would be welcome, too, though I still don't know how much time I'll have free.
post #2 of 26
Despite Torino's reputation as an industrial city, there is a town of sightseeing in town. Besides the usuals - the Duomo, Via Po, Via Roma, Porta Palazzo, Al Bicerin, Palazzo Reale (and about 200 others), there is the Cafe Fioro which has been open for 6 centuries, Pasticerria Ghigo (incredible pastries) and some of the best gelaterie anywhere.

Skiing you have 2 options - north into the Val D'Aosta (cervina/valtouneche/zermatt, pils, courmeyer) or the Via Lattea (cesana, sestriere, oulx). The Val D'aosta is further but more popular with international travellers due to the incredible scenery (Matterhorn, Mounte Bianco). Val d"aosta also boasts the highest concentration of castles anyhwhere in the world.

The Via Lattea is famed more for intermediate skiing and is more popular with Italians, but has some excellent skiing as well.

Snowfall varies - in the year I was there, the Via Lattea had deep snow and the Aosta region much less. Sometimes it can be the other way around.

Train travel is convenient to both. some of the areas require shuttles from the train station. Rentals are available, but I chose to bring my own gear.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
thanks, Harry. that's very helpful. It looks like my flight will be arriving in Turin at 10:15 in the morning, and then I'll have to get to the hotel, get checked in, get my gear together, etc.

Of the two likely ski destinations, which would be more realistic for an afternoon trip on that arrival day? How long does it take to get from Turin to the ski areas?
post #4 of 26
Sauze d'oulx is the closest, and really only reasonable alternative from Torino for an afternoon. Train is about 45 min, plus about 30 min from the station to the slopes. All the via lattea is interconnected, so you can explore from there.

The closest Aosta area is Valtourneche, but that is 30+ mins off the train. Pils has a tram about 1 mile from the station, so it can be convenient, but it is about 1 1/2 hours to aosta from torino on the train.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
thanks, Harry. that's helpful.

as it turns out, I'll likely have a full day of ski time (Sunday, Feb. 11). what would you recommend in that case?
post #6 of 26
What are your priorties? If you are looking to ski - go to Via Lattea. It is closer by and quite a beautiful place. And you can ski into France if you like.

If you are looking for adventure - go to Val Tournenche/Cervinia/Zermatt. There is bus service once daily from Torino, or you can take the train to Chattilon and catch the bus from there to Cervinia or Val Tournenche. From there you can get to the highest lift serviced point in the Alps on the klein Matterhorn, ski into Switzerland for lunch, take a few runs on the Matterhorn itself, ski back into Italy on the second longest run in the world and get the train back to Torino.

The downside - Torino to Chattilon is 1:45 to 2:00, plus 30-45 to get to Val T. Or there is a direct bus. Google the options, or let me know if you need translation/help.

Or you could rent a car. More expensive, and the tolls alone to Chattilon are more than the train ticket, but more time on the hill.
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
thanks, Harry. it sounds like Via Lattea may be the way to go. for just one day, it's probably better to maximize time on the slopes.

any particular resorts there that you'd recommend? I'm an intermediate skier who enjoys pushing himself a bit (I can ski all the blues and several, but not all, of the black runs reasonably comfortably at places like Cannon, Loon, Waterville).
post #8 of 26
The Via Lattea is a ski circus, it is interconnected. The English website is here: http://www.vialattea.it/en/. If you go out by train, start at Suaze d'Oulx. If you drive, you might want to go further up, to Cesana or Sestriere. Sestriere has the best skiing, but the village is 70's modern and ugly. Cesana is a really nice little town, but takes longer to get up to the skiing. From S. d'O. you can get up to Sestriere easily by skiing - quicker than by driving in fact.

The trails in Italy are rated blue-red-black. You can see almost everything there is blue or red. Overall the ratings are pretty gentle, so it really is an intermediate's paradise.
post #9 of 26
I wouldn't bother trying to ski the day you arrive. With a flight in at 10:15, you won't have much time when all is said and done. Italy doesn't exactly go like clockwork in terms of ontime arrivals, getting bags, trains, all that. For your single day, the world is your oyster, though I'd consider renting a car.
post #10 of 26
I agree. If I were in Torino with one day to ski, I'd rent a car, regardless of where you decide to go. A bit more expensive, but you don't get to the Alps everyday, do you? The real downside though is driving in and out of Torino. Get a good map before you go there, and plot your route carefully. And remember, when in Italy, drive like an Italian...
post #11 of 26
I always drive like an Eyetalian

Seriously though, very good advices havebeen given to you.
I'd rent a car too and drive to, say, Gressoney in Valle d'Aosta. There you'll have the choice to ski Alagna...oh, but you said you're a intermediate, ok, may not a good idea to ski Alagna. Still, Gressoney and Champoluc are good places.
Remember that on Sunday all resorts will be full of people. Be careful.
BTW, that customer of yours in Turin...it may be worthy to ask if they have an internal "club" which organizes dayly ski trips (if you're lucky they may have one organized for that sunday).
post #12 of 26
So while you're there, could you pick up a couple of jars of Stroppiana Gianduja Bianca? All I can get around here is Nutella.
post #13 of 26
I've never heard of that...
post #14 of 26
I've only seen it in Torino. It's a locally made white gianduja creme. They have about 40 flavors of gianduja cremes there...the white is great on crepes with strawberries.
post #15 of 26
Ah, OK, it's more of an Albany thing...
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
So I'm here in Torino. Thanks again for all the great suggestions.

I'll be skiing on Sunday. I'm thinking the Via Lattea makes the most sense for a day trip, particularly Sestriere (I like how the resorts are all connected by trails).

Now I just have to figure out the best way to get there. I'm staying here:

http://www.isi.it/main.php?liv1=about&liv2=reach_us

The best train connection to Oulx is via Porto Susa, which is a bit further from me than Porto Nuova. I could take a taxi to the train station, then the train and shuttle bus to Sauze d'Oulx and ski to Sestriere.

Or I could rent a car, which would be more expensive but also more convenient, as you guys have pointed out. Are there expensive tolls between Torino and Oulx?

Harry, I'll see if I can pick up any Stroppiana Gianduja Bianca, but my luggage was packed pretty tightly on the way here :-)

Oh, I've heard great things about chocolate here. Any specific recommendations that I should sample while I'm here?

Torino is quite nice, and the weather is great (sunny and crisp).

P.S. I wonder if there is a bus that goes direct from Torino to Sestriere: http://www.sapav.it/ (the site is in Italian, so I can't quite make it out).
post #17 of 26
No clue about tolls over that way, but I'd get the car. Skiing by train and bus is a ball and chain.
post #18 of 26
Try "Gianduiotti", these are chocolate chips wrapped - usually- in a golden coloured thin tin foil.
I don't know about choosing between a car or a bus... butthe site you point at reports
http://www.sapav.it/upload/orari/invernali/000276.pdf
That's the schedule for busses from Turin to Sestriere...but it says that
the leg Turin-Oulx is active only on week ends from Dec 1st till March 31st : * IL TRATTO Torino Oulx si effettua soltanto nei gg festivi dai 1/12 al 31/03
Usually Saturday is considered "festivo" but you better clear that beforehand with the bus company (ask soemone working with you to call them) lest you show up tomorrow morning at the bus station only to discover that theres' no bus on Saturdays...
About tolls, if you take the motorway there's certainly bound to be some
keep in mind that Sestriere is one of the maj destinations for People living in turin, so you'll most probably find heavy traffic one way or the other, regardless of the mean of transportation you'll choose...
I will wait for your TR!
post #19 of 26
I would guess the tolls are around $12, if I remember correctly. Torino is all about chocolate. They claim to have invented it. Also try to find time to walk the Via Po. There is a cafe there that dates back the the 15th century, very worth seeing. They (and most of the other nicer cafes) serve a drink called a Bicerin which is a layered drink of chocolate, espresso and whipped cream; and sometimes a local liquer. It's worth walking around a bit in that part of the city anyhow - there are dozens of bookstores featuring antique books, nice pastry and such.
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks again, folks. It turns out this is getting more difficult than I expected. It seems that it is tough to rent a car for the time period that I want without renting it for two days and/or paying exorbitant after hours fees, b/c the rental agencies are closed when I would need to pickup and drop off. (I'm in meetings until Sat. evening and my flight leaves at 7:20 on Monday morning.)

There is a train to and from Porto Susa with times that work reasonably well (well enough, anyway). How easy is it to take the bus from the train station in Oulx to any of the Via Lattea slopes? How would I go about finding/taking it?

Are the slopes going to be so crowded at Via Lattea on a Sunday that it's not worth it? I'd hate to miss it, seeing as how I lugged my boots and helmet all the way here.
post #21 of 26
Here's the autobus schedule. It looks like the bus from oulx to sestriere starts in torino, so if you can get to the autostazione on corso vittore emanuelle, you wouldn't need to change in oulx. Otherwise, it appears the bus stops at the train station. worse case- get a taxi from the train station to suaze d'oulx and ski down the backside and into sestriere that way.


http://www.sapav.it/upload/orari/invernali/000276.pdf

It might be crowded, but it will be worth it...besides, all the Italians take a 3 hour lunch, so get all the skiing in you can while they nosh.
post #22 of 26
Uh, BTW, Today there was a WC race (Women's DH ?) held in Sestriere...So at least one piste was closed to the public...Dunno about tomorrow...
Check WC race schedule too...
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
thanks, Nobody. it looks like the women's super-G is tomorrow:

http://www.vialattea.it/en/impianti_aperti.html

I can't quite tell from that link which runs will be closed for it, though. It notes the WC event tomorrow, and then lists some runs that will be open, but it's not clear to me what the bottom line is. guess I'll just have to wing it.
post #24 of 26
Not to worry. Sestriere is on three seperate hills, and only borgata should be closed for the super-g.
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ok, I've been a bit remiss in reporting back, but I had a great trip to the Via Lattea. The term ski circus captures it nicely!

I decided on Via Lattea b/c renting a car would have been very expensive and logistically difficult for a Sunday trip, and public transportation was much easier to the Via Lattea.

I left my hotel in Torino early Sunday morning, and took a cab to the Porta Nuova train station. Took a train to Sauze d'Oulx, and then a bus into town. Piecing together the schedules took a bit of figuring, but everything went smoothly.

The skiing was excellent. Started at Sauze d'Oulx, but I wanted to head over to Sestriere. I asked a gentleman on the lift what the best way to get over there was, and he said he'd just take me there. We skiied Sauze d'Oulx and Sansicario on the way to Sestriere, and a little over an hour later, we were at the Olympic Village in Sestriere. My new friend Massimo (a retired Fiat employee, and a great ambassador) left to meet up with his family and head home to Torino, and I enjoyed the rest of the day on the slopes. (What a guy to spend such a big part of his ski day getting me to Sestriere.)

The women's WC races in Sestriere were over by the time I got to that part of the hill, and crowds weren't too bad, so it was a great day of skiing. Conditions were very good. It took a bit longer to ski back to Sauze d'Oulx than I had planned, but I managed to get back, return the rental skis (I brought my boots but couldn't justify bringing skis for just one day on the slopes), and pick up some t-shirts for my kids before taking the bus back to the train station and the train back to Torino.

Thanks to all for their input--it helped make for a great outing!
post #26 of 26
Thanks for posting the TR. I'm happy that you met someone nice who took his time to ski with you. I also hope you'll be back.
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