Generally speaking, Italy tends to be cheaper than many of its competitor countries France, Austria and Switzerland, and its laid-back ambiance makes it a great choice for families and anyone who is more interested in just enjoying the snow rather than skiing faster, further and steeper than the next person.
Tucked away on a high alpine plateau, and known colloquially as “Piccolo Tibet” (or Little Tibet) Livigno’s location has given it two crucial advantages: the first is that it’s snow sure, with a long season that lasting from late November well into May. The second is that the whole village is duty free, making après, alcohol and cigarettes significantly cheaper than they might be otherwise.
These days, getting to Livigno still involves a significant transfer time, but there’s no danger of the destination lacking appeal. There are two large, separate ski areas, one on either side of the broad, gently sloping valley. The majority of Livigno’s pistes are middling reds, with a couple of short black runs; the pick of the runs are the long descents from the Carosello sector down to the base area at San Rocco. There are plenty of beginner slopes scattered around the resort and good blues to progress onto, making this an excellent destination for beginners and intermediates.
But there’s also plenty here for advanced skiers and snowboarders to sink their teeth into. The Mottolino side of the mountain is home to the best snowpark in Italy, and one of the best in the Alps, which serves as the winter training base for the British Freestyle Ski & Snowboard team.
There’s plenty of off-piste to explore too, and the resort even allows heliskiing.
The village is made up of three original hamlets: Santa Maria, San Antonio, and San Rocco, now rolled into one resort that stretches for around 4 km along the flat valley, with ski areas on either side. If you can tear yourself away from the duty-free shops, there are some lively bars to choose from, including Daphne’s Pub and Helvetia, all of which benefit from the VAT free prices. Eating out is good value too – and as tasty as you’d expect anywhere in Italy.
Check out ski specials to Livigno for the coming season.