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Author: Steve C
Date: Late Feb/Early March 2007
Our group: 4 guys + 1 couple. 3 or us are "good intermediates" (whatever that means!), 2 lower intermediates, 1 beginner
Getting there: Flight from Brum to Bergamo followed by a monstrous 4 hour transfer. Not the shortest trip to resort that was not helped by the fact that our accommodation was the last drop.
Accomodation: Stayed at La Locanda. Itâ€™s a fairly small place, 11 rooms I think. It's right on the free ski bus route, took about 10 minutes to get to the Montellinio side of the mountain, 20 to Costa dal Sol side. The rooms were basic, but clean, with a very good shower and comfy beds. There was a sauna on site that we used, and continental breakfast was included. The in house restaurant was also rather good, though not cheap.
Lift system: Each side of the valley is primarily served by a gondola each. The Mottolino you get about 10 people in standing, the Costa dal Sol side is a 6 seater. Neither were particularly busy even first thing. As for the rest of the resort, the blue runs at the bottom of the valley are served by pomas, whilst the higher runs are mostly dealt with by a good few 4 and 6 man high speed chairs. There is a particularly "interesting" 2 man chair that goes from the top of the Mottolino gondola to the top of that side of the mountain, which I developed something of a love/hate relationship with - love it because there is no better hangover cure, hate it because it is an old, slow and very exposed chair lift. You have been warned... Overall, we were very impressed, there were few queues; the longest we encountered all week was for 5 minutes, most we pretty much walked straight on to.
The terrain: Mostly fairly exposed stuff, high in the mountains. Not very much tree skiing to be had high up, but there was some to be found lower on the slopes. There are lots of reds and blues, mixed in with a few blacks to keep you on your toes. There is a park as well, and some natural pipes to play in. Some of the best skiing (if you like red runs in spectacular scenery) is to be had at a very quiet bowl at the back of the Costa dal Sol gondola, which tends to be very quiet and in the sun is stunning.
The snow: Lots. It snowed everyday and we had no issues. As soon as it looked half thin a new dump arrived. We found waist deep stuff off piste, and some knee deep snow on the pistes first thing. Couldnâ€™t have asked for more.
Off-piste: Not really my bag, but we did have a bit of a play and it was great fun. There was a lot of snow to be played in, waist deep in places, and Iâ€™m sure there was even more for the really brave and/or adventurous
The resort: Livigno is a strange places, being sat in a valley with skiing either side, you have a long, but not very wide resort. It takes over an hour to walk from one end to the other, but as there is a free bus itâ€™s not an issue. There are lots of nice restaurants and bars to enjoy, as well as skidoo riding, XC skiing and ice skating. As it is a tax haven there are some very nice deals on booze to be had, like Â£6 for 1 ltr of Bombay Safire gin.
The AprÃ¨s: Lots. The best place we found was Bar Stalet at the bottom of the Costa dal Sol gondola. Here the served Bombardinoâ€™s, Jager and ice-cold lager until 8pm, all to the tune of bad Euro-pop. Most enjoyable. Other than that, Daphneâ€™s was an older looking pub that was good fun, Gulliâ€™s was another cheese fest with a good happy hour on cocktails, and Roxiâ€™s Bar was a superb place which played great rock and Indie music with good beer. Mickyâ€™s also deserves a mention due to the fact that you have to slide down a slide to get in. Overall, itâ€™s a great fun place, with plenty of beer and bad music to be found.
Food: In resort, we liked The New Snack Bar, which despite itâ€™s name was a very nice Italian restaurant which did mighty fine pasta and pizza. The restaurant in our hotel (La Locanda) was also very nice, though not cheap. There were plenty of other places in the town that looked ok, as well as most of the bars offering toasted sandwiches and the like. On the piste, the food at the top of the Mottolino was ok but expensive. I ate sandwiches made at breakfast most days anyway to save a few Â£â€™s
Costs: Cheap in a word. We paid Â£300 for B&B, flights and transfers. Lift passed and ski hire added about another Â£150 to it. Food and drink were ok, not mega cheap, but not in the French ballpark either. Good value for what it is I think.
Conclusion: I liked it a lot. There is not huge amounts of skiing, but there is enough to keep you entertained for a week. The cost was good, as was the snow. If you donâ€™t like to ski the same slopes twice you may get bored, but I certainly didnâ€™t. The food was good, as was the aprÃ¨s. The best skiing is definitely to be found high up, and Iâ€™m sure there is a good amount of off-piste if you know how to find it. Overall, itâ€™s a great place, I liked it a lot and will I doubt Iâ€™ll go back next year, Iâ€™ll certainly be back at some point.
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