St Sorlin Les Sybelles

Turin Airport

Flight to Turin booked 4 weeks prior £175 March 2011. Hertz car hire for 5 days £96. Exiting Turin , head south towards the city before taking the motorway West to Bardonechia / Frejus. The Hertz cars are easy to find and the exit to the motorway efficient. Bring a map as the Italian map provided does not cross into France. Be aware the Frejus tunnel is expensive - 40 euros each way. Once into France, turn off at St Jean de Maurienne - there are no obvious ski resort signs - it is easy to overshoot and bizarelly the resorts are signposted from the French side. The road to the resort is winding but spectacular - one turn off required but signposted.

St Sorlin. Demonstrates proximity of hotel to piste - March 2010 good snow cover.

St Sorlin is on a hill - stay in the middle to avoid walking - there is a resort bus but its seemed to stop at 19-00. We stayed in the Hotel Beausoleil - booked direct 348 euros for 2 for 4 nights b and b. Hotel is ski in ski out - the best position in the resort - walking distance to bars , shops and restaurants. Very French with no English spoken. A good Continental breakfast and an excellent sauna and whirlpool - clothed ! Lift pass 34 euros per day in March 2011 for the Les Sybelles pass. Note you can only purchase a St Sorlin pass for a morning.

The tourist office is in the centre of town and the torist shop Lolita sells cards and stamps even on a Sunday. Ski hire shops are everywhere - 100 euros for 3 days with a 10% discount for 2 in Ski Set at the top of the village close to the Yeti. Range of premium skis reasonable but not as varied as for instance Verbier.

The skiable domain is huge - with good snow cover as in 2010, the off-piste skiing opportunities would rival the big-name French resorts. The only black runs that were open in March 2011 were Etendard between Le Corbier and St Sorlin - serious bumps to rival Tortin in Verbier but nowhere near as long a run. If these prove too much, drift left onto the off-piste; the black leading to the restaurants in Le Corbier was steep and well groomed even with poor snow cover.

Be aware the blue Combe Balme returning to St Sorlin is long and narrow and very cut up towards the end of the day - I would grade this as red in places. With good snow, the approach to Le Corbier has endless opportunities to safely drift to the side of the pistes. Facing the row of cafes in Le Corbier, stop for coffee in the typical bar to the left of the Snack Bar kiosk - again I was suprised by the welcome for non-French custommers - Brits really are a rarity. The salads looked excellent.

Le Tetras, at the bottom of the red run Tufs in St Sorlin is a small but friendly brasserie. The food is made to order - a huge omlette paysanne and very large pile of fries 9 euros, assiette savoyarde 13 euros - a large beer 6 euros. The plat du jour the next day was well worth the visit.

Restaurants and Bars

This is not Val d'Isere and not even Chatel but it has a quiet charm. Try Le Centre bar and drink the Abbaye beer - by far the best beer we sampled. The pizza is also good. Bar staff are friendly and nodded to us as locals after a couple of days !

The Avalanche Bar was uninspiring and the Yeti at the top of the town reminded me of a Student Union with table football as the only redeeming feature.

La Ferme des Neiges adjacent to the Beausoleil serves good restaurant quality food.

A venue that surprised me was the restaurant / bar in the basement of the apartment complex at the top of the resort - Le Barock - mass catering for a large group was excellent - the beef quite superb and the hot stone option excellent 25 euro inc a large beer.

View from bedroom window of Hotel Beausolei.

Returning to Turin, after entering Italy via the Frejus tunnel, stop at Oulx for lunch. Drive past the square on your right and take the right turn down Via Roma. Follow the road around to the left and you will pass a mens clothes shop on the right. Pizzeria Le Scoiattolo is 100 m on the left. It does not look very enticing from the outside but venture into the red-brick cavern and have a fantastic lunch for 10 euro including wine ! No English whatsoever but very welcoming .

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