Often animated come nightfall, Sestriere attracts snow sports fans from all over Europe and further afield, which creates an international party atmosphere in the 20 or so bars and nightspots.
La Caverna (Via Louset 6C) and the Brahms Pub in the central square are good choices for lively après-ski in Sestriere during the evening. The only disco, Tabata (tel: +39 03 484 436 681; www.discotecatabata.com), is usually pleasantly crowded come the small hours.
If you fancy mixing it with the locals, jump on a bus down to Grangesises, a traditional village 3km (1.8 miles) from Sestriere. Here, the Grange Sax Café (+39 0122 750 821), a traditional bar and restaurant, draws a friendly, sociable crowd.
There are around 50 restaurants in Sestriere that, with a more international and cosmopolitan feel than most Italian ski resorts, offer a better selection than the usual collection of pizza and pasta places – although there are plenty of these too.
At lunchtime Marbi (tel: +39 0338 782 1551), located in Sestriere's main square, may appear to be an unassuming café but scores top marks for affordable, high-calibre homemade cuisine.
The Last Tango Ristorante Grill (tel: +39 0122 76337;www.lasttango.it) is one of the most popular venues come dinnertime, with a cosy dining room centred on a real fire and a great selection of Italian wines.
At the gourmet end of the scale, Vineria del Colle in the Grand Hotel Sestriere (tel: +39 0122 76476; www.grandhotelsestriere.it) offers both classic Italian dishes and Piemontesi specialities, with a huge variety of wines.
Amongst the many pizza outlets, Pinky (Piazza Fraiteve 5N) is fast and friendly and Zio Popy (Via Monterotta 1C) is known for its speedy service and tasty fare.
Beyond the slopes
Although primarily a seasonal ski resort rather than a year-round community, Sestriere has grown over the years and, aided by a growing cycling scene, has developed a year-round tourist appeal, boosting the resort's overall off the slopes activity offerings.
Those who like to be pampered have a host of spa facilities at their disposal, including sauna, massage, Turkish bath and Jacuzzis in various hotels around the resort.
There's also a games room, cinema, sports centre and ice rink within the village to enjoy, as well as an exhibition commemorating the 2006 Winter Olympics; numerous events were held in the resort as well as nearby host city Torino.
Outdoors, the usual ski resort offerings of snowmobiling, sleigh rides, dog sledding and paragliding are not neglected, while there's also the chance to have a go at mountain biking on snow.
The resort's Neve e Sole (Piazzale Kandahar) day care facility accepts children from age two to five, after which they can move on to ski school lessons with the Scuola Nazionale Sci Sestriere (tel: +39 012 277 060; www.scuolascisestriere.com). The school gathers at the meeting point by the nursery slopes and employs a good number of multilingual instructors. Once on the slopes, children need not pay for lift tickets until age eight, one of the most generous child ticketing deals in the Alps.
Off the slopes, Sestriere has limited facilities for families aside from the sports centre; although the large amount of affordable pizza and pasta restaurants means family meals out are possible even on a small budget.
Sestriere is a good choice for shoppers, with more than 100 stores in and around the resort. Being located in Northern Italy, and within 240km (150 miles) of fashion centre Milan, allows the stylish boutiques to offer a choice of the latest designer items.
There is also a good selection of souvenir shops in Sestriere offering a range of trinkets and handmade items, as well as delicatessens for local products, in particular regional wines - these can also be picked up at the regular market in Piazza Agnelli.
Heli-skiing, which is banned over the border in France (as well as in another leading European ski nation, Austria), is unsurprisingly a popular activity in Sestriere. Pure Ski Company (tel: +39 012 276 346; www.pureski-company.com) can organise trips, with a single lift giving access to magnificent long descents.
The Alps' first purpose-built resort isn't the prettiest but the rows of square apartment blocks serve their purpose of allowing access to the slopes. In fact, most of the accommodation in Sestriere is in the form of apartments, with some good-value options. A dozen or so hotels are also located within the resort, most of which are rated 3- or 4-star.
A well located, ski-in/ski-out 4-star with attentive and helpful staff, Roseo houses a restaurant and spa and is just a 10-minute walk from the resort centre. For those feeling lazy, there's also a free shuttle bus until 1900.Address: , Via Sauze di Cesana 3, Sestriere, 10058
Telephone: +39 0122 7941
Located in the resort centre, granting easy access to both the lifts and main amenities, the 4-star Hotel Cristallo boasts a top-quality spa and a restaurant with tasty mountain views.Address: , Via Pinerolo 5, Sestriere, I 10058
Telephone: +39 0122 750 190
Hotel Lago Losetta
This friendly and affordable 3-star features a bar, restaurant, solarium and free Wi-Fi internet. Handily located just 200m (655ft) from the nearest lift and the resort centre, the hotel is accessible to disabled guests.Address: , Strada Azzurri d'Italia 4, Sestriere, I 10058
Telephone: +39 0122 754 041
This 194-room slopeside hotel dominates the Sestriere skyline with its iconic round tower architecture. Inside, guests can choose from a range of leisure facilities, including a mini-cinema.Address: , Via Vincenzo Possetto 5, Sestriere, I 10058
Telephone: +39 0815 980 570
Located a fair distance below the slopes (requiring a relatively steep climb each morning), Club Valtur offers all-inclusive ski holiday packages that include ski lessons. The on-site restaurant serves up local and international cuisine.Address: , Via Possetto, 9, Sestriere, I 10058
Telephone: +39 0230 099 811
This family run, friendly 3-star is located a few miles from central Sestriere in Borgata, with a reputation for good food and extensive wellness facilities. The ski lifts and runs can be accessed a few steps from the hotel, and a shuttle is provided in to the resort centre on demand.Address: , Via San Filippo, 5, Sestriere, I 10058
Telephone: +39 0122 70323
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