If you’re already dreaming of your next warm weather holiday, for an active family nothing says ‘summer fun’ more than a mountain biking adventure. Once all but the high-altitude snow melts in the European Alps, skiing and snowboarding give way to hiking and MTB activities, and the awe-inspiring landscape is just as spectacular without its winter coat.
MTB in Sestrière
Sestrière lies at the heart of the Alpi Bike Resort, and is a superb base for a family mountain biking holiday. The region comprises eight towns over three valleys – Cesana Torinese, Claviere, Sauze d’Oulx, Bardonecchia, Pragelato, Chiomonte, Prali, and Sestrière – and the huge network of trails is suitable for all ages and skill levels.
Taking you over mountains, past gorgeous lakes, and through wooded forests, the mixture of 50 high-altitude and gentle free ride trails above and below the tree line have been designed by experts to take on the natural form of the landscape. The region has been included as one of the “Top 10 mountain bike rides in the Alps”.
Get the Best Value for Money
From the village, the Fraiteve gondola links the Sestrière, Sauze and Cesana bike parks, and, in total, the region comprises eight chairlifts and two gondolas. The most cost effective way to get the most out of your time is to get a multiple day pass for each member of the family. As a rough guide, you can get an adult three-day pass for €42 or a six-day pass for €60 (covering several lifts) – which is far better than paying €8 each ascent, if bought singly.
Choose Your Trail
While there are myriad choices once you get out on the mountain, some of the best trails are also the most accessible, including Down Tower in Sestrière, T’s Witch in Sauze d’Oulx, La Vacha from Prali, Strawberry Field in Cesana-Sansicario, and 25D out of Bardonecchia.
For younger members of the family, or for anyone who needs a bit of a confidence boost, at the bottom of the Clotes piste there’s an excellent bike park (with instructors on hand) where you can brush up on jump and ramp skills before heading out on the more challenging trails.
Rub Shoulders With the Pros
As well as the thousands of amateur MTB’ers who flock to this area in the summer months, you may be lucky enough to bump into the riders of the notoriously tough cross-country Iron Bike race, the Giro d’Italia, or even the Tour de France – all of which pass through the region. While you might not be quite up to joining in yet, being part of the crowd for such prestigious events can be a nail-biting and thrilling experience. And it’s always good to have something to aim for next year…
Down Time in Sestrière
It’s not just out on the MTB trails that you’ll have all the fun in Sestrière – the village has a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere as well! You can dine out for a very reasonable cost (unlike over the border in France), and there are lots of family friendly options. La Baita, for example, is a family run restaurant (Mama is most definitely in charge!) which welcomes children and has a menu with all the favourite pasta staples, as well as some more sophisticated dishes (like wild boar) for the parents.
With excellent family friendly accommodation and plenty of other active pursuits (high-altitude golfing, kayaking, river rafting), by now, Sestrière is probably at the top of your summer wish list!
How to Get to Sestrière
You have a number of airport choices if you’re flying from the UK, including Milan, Chambéry and Grenoble, but the closest and most convenient is Turin. From the airport you can get to Sestrière on public transport by catching a bus to the central train station, then by rail to Oulx and, finally, a local bus connection to the resort. But if all that sounds too hard, for a more relaxed option you can book one of the competitive shared or private Turin airport transfers with Shuttle Direct and we’ll get you, your kids and your luggage right to the door of your accommodation in Sestrière in just an hour and a half.
If you decide to take a family road trip from the UK, once you reach Calais it will take around 10 hours to drive to Sestrière. The most sensible and straightforward route is through Reims, Dijon, and Chambery. Once you come off the motorway at Oulx it’s a picturesque and well-signed drive to Sestrière.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Biancaneve – You can even bring the family pet on a summer holiday with you to the Hotel Biancaneve! Very central and priced to please a family budget, the kids will love the free Wi-Fi and the delicious homemade afternoon teas, while parents will appreciate the lovely beamed ceilings, sauna and spa, storage for bikes, and the separate TV and reading room.
I Cavalieri Aparthotel – Heaven for the children and bliss for the parents, I Cavalieri makes the perfect base for an active summer holiday. When you’re not out exploring the nearby MTB trails, the children will be entertained at the mini-club, while you enjoy excellent regional cuisine in the restaurant, or relax with a cocktail in the piano bar or cosy lounge.
Villagio Olimpico Sestrière – Treat the family to the luxury accommodation of the superstar sportspeople at the Villagio Olimpico. The funky modern apartments are befitting of the Olympic heroes who have stayed here, and sports mad children will love the novelty. But it’s not just for show, and the Olimpico’s extensive sporting facilities are the perfect complement to the spacious family apartments. Your mountain biking holiday just got serious!