Piemonte’s main, purpose-built ski areas – Oulx, Claviere, Cesana, Sestriere, Sansicario, Sauze d’Oulx and Pragelato – collectively constitute some 400km of interconnected runs, known as Via Lattea (The Milky Way; wvialattea.it). They are well used by British tour operators and all had their facilities upgraded in 2006, when they hosted the alpine events of the Winter Olympics 2006. You can gain access to the ski area from Pragelato on the Pattemouche-Anfiteatro cableway: a daily lift-pass covering all the resorts costs €36.
Sestriere was the dream resort of Fiat baron Gianni Agnelli, who conceived it as an aristocratic mountain retreat. Today, the reality is a bland resort dominated by two cylindrical towers, though the mountain is impeccable – the choice for World Cup and Olympic ski races. Nearby modern Bardonecchia is a weekenders’ haunt, with small chalet-style hotels and more than 100km of runs – it's not directly connected to the Via Lattea, and is run by the Bardonecchia ski company (wbardonecchiaski.com).