After a two hour drive from Milan Malpensa airport we arrived in Souze d’Oulx, after a brief and clueless drive around we found our quaint little hotel down one of the side streets in the old part of the town. Situated opposite a very modern looking design shop was our hotel, The Gran Trun. At first glance it advertised itself as more of a wine bar than a hotel, however we went in, bags in tow and were met by a lovely woman from Liverpool. We collected our keys and went to our rooms, tired from all the travelling we had done.
Every year, at about this time, we head somewhere into Europe for a long weekend of skiing. Normally for about three or four days. Each time we go, it is easily one of the best weekends of the whole year.
This year our destination was Souze d’Oulx, a small village in the Milky Way ski region in Italy. About a two hour drive from Milan Malpensa airport.
Souze d’Oulx itself is a village of two halfs, one side is a classic Italian village, full of fine restaurants and crumbling old buildings full of beautiful architcture. Walk through this part and things change a little into a bustling ski village, full of, I thought quite surprisingly, cockneys and scousers. This part of the town is made up of countless bars, all catering to the apres ski crowd.
As with many Italian towns food is a large part and you can find some great places to eat in Souze, I shall get into some of the best places in an upcoming post.
So check back in the coming days for many more posts of my time in Souze d’Oulx.
Just imagine; your hands are freezing cold, you just need a quick caffeine boost to get you to the end of the day but you don’t want to go to the hassle of stopping and taking your skis off. Oh, and you fancy a spiced Vanilla Latte. Well, if you happen to be in Squaw Valley in California, then your in luck!
Starbucks have just opened their first ever coffee shop 8,000 feet up a mountain and you will be able to pick up your coffee of choice without even taking your skis off. Impressive.
Now, when will they be coming to Europe?
If you are a first time skier then before you set off you should have a look at the types of runs that are available in the area you are going. Normally, in Europe, there are four different colours of runs, ranging from beginner to expert. Here they are:
Green – Learner/ For the first day
These tend to be quite rare and are often situated in the learner area of the slope. They are where you would normally get your first experience of skiing. They tend to be almost flat and cover a big area to allow plenty of room to manoeuvre around.
Blue – Beginner/ For the relaxed
The first of the ‘big three’. A blue run will normally consist of a medium to long length slope with plenty of room for big sweeping turns. A great way to get your confidence up if your a first timer or simply haven’t been on a slope in a while. They are also good for long, leisurely trips looking at the scenery.
Red – Intermediate/For the more confident!
Now they start to get a little more tricky. Red runs, I find anyway, can often be quite varied. Some can only be a small step up from blue runs, while others can be downright tough. They are often narrow and can be very winding, however the steeper ones tend to be wider to allow for more turns. Once you master the red run you should be able to explore the majority of the resort.
Black – Experienced/ For the very daring
Black runs are the toughest in Europe and can be found in nearly all resorts. They are often quite small, narrow and very steep. Sometimes they are full of moguls, small bumps of snow, and this causes them to be difficult to successfully manoeuvre. Black runs are great for a rush of adrenaline and to really show how far you have come.
Note : Runs normally have more than one way of getting down, so if your going with a large party and some feel more confident than others then don’t worry. A few can attempt a black while the other can go down the red or blue.
Unmarked or Off Piste – For the adventurous
Not all parts of the mountains are marked runs, many often have areas which are not flattened by the Piste bashers, the large tractor like vehicles which compact and spread out the snow. These unmarked runs are normally full of thick snow and can be difficult to plough through. However you do get to see a less touristy version of the resort and there can be some stunning scenery to be had when your skiing through the trees.
So there is plenty of choice, for whatever level you think your at. Just work your way up and your confidence will build. Enjoy!
A typical first day of skiing consists of mainly two things: Falling over and getting back up again! Simply repeat this until it starts getting dark and then start over again the next day. I remember my first day on … Continue reading