Livigno Skiing in Depth  

A good study of the ski map will reveal all of Livigno's secrets. They are a out in the open for all to see. What you see is what you get. But it is precisely that openness, that capability to be easily accessed and easily tamed that makes the skiing at Livigno as popular as it is with recreational (read most of us) skiers.

A look at the main ski map will quickly show you a long, basically two sided ski area divided cleanly on both sides of the town. One side, that closer to the Swiss section of the Alps nearest the Bernina range provide the greater expanse of skiing and, arguably, the most challenging.

Here the lifts marked with the numbers from 23 to 30 provide a perfect selection of very short lifts that provide access to some immaculate beginner's terrain. First timers will build their confidence and skills here, most often under the tutelage of one of Livigno's various ski schools. Also here, and at every other cluster of ski lifts running the whole length of the village are facilities galore. These include hotels, restaurants, ski pass sales, ski rentals, ski schools and whatever else you may need.


Those with a greater degree of experience and talent will get more
enjoyment by taking the chairlift to Costaccia at 2368m. One can opt to return by a very easy run back to the various starting points, or indeed continue on up the Costaccia chair arrival point and from there make the short traverse to the chair to Vetta Blesaccia at 2796m. Again there are a suprisingly large amount of options. Ski the slightly more taxing runs around that lift, ski the easier run from the arrival point of the Vetta Blesaccia all the way back to your original starting point or play on the immediate area to your heart's content. Alternatively you can easily ski down to the lifts located more in the centre of town and join the mainstream of this big, wide, friendly ski area.

The Carosello 3,000 cable car is basically a two stage effort that runs between a whole slew of short beginner's ski lifts toward the end of town closest to the Valle Della Forcola. This lift combination will provide better skiers probably their best chance of getting a decent challenge to their talents on this side of the village divide. The second stage of the chair lift will deposit skiers at an altitude of almost 2,800m and at the same time provide access to the relatively large number of middle difficult runs in this area, as well as the lead in point to the most challenging selection.

First you might like to take in a drink or some sustenance in the restaurant at the arrival point. From here, as you see, there are a number of possibilities. Ski the short, pleasant run to the Blesaccia 1and use it as transport to Blesaccia 2, which in turn takes you to the Vetta Blesaccia and its possibilities. Besides connecting you with the skiing from Costaccia, this lift also is the start of one of the area's black, or most difficult runs. This is a long challenge that can be broken half way allowing you to rejoin either Blesaccia 1 or 2, (recommended for late spring or less than perfect snow conditions) for the ride back to altitude. Alternatively ski back to the bottom and rejoin your beginner friends as they learn the tricks of the trade on the gentle slopes at the foot of the mountain.

Here's a tip that will allow beginners to enjoy the restaurant at 2797m. and enjoy some high altitude skiing too. Take the lift to the restaurant, ski the tiny beginner's area at Lago Salin, stop for another well-deserved drink, and then take the Carosello twins back to terra firma.

An alternative for good skiers is the double T-bar system on Federia. This can provide some decent, but not too difficult skiing, or, if you have the confidence, ability and stamina you can sample a wonderful bit of ski touring. Pick up the off piste trail marked 16 from the Bocchetta Di Federia (15) and tour your way down to the Ponte Della Calcheira, far towards the tunnel end of the skiing. A word to the wise though. Be good. Be fit. Be careful. This is, after all unmarked and ungroomed high mountain terrain. Proceed at your own risk.

While we are on the subject there is a tremendous selection of ski touring country in Livigno, much of it accessible from normal ski lifts, some of it not. If you decide to try your hand here, please ask about taking a guide with you. They know the terrain, know the conditions, and know the risks.

The IL Mottolino portion of the Livigno skiing is wide open and great "cruisin'" territory and most recreational skiers will enjoy this area to the max. Beginners too have plenty of scope. There are a couple of very pleasant baby lifts at the foot of the mountain, and some very easy jaunts leading from the restaurant at the arrival point of the cable car to Il Mottolino. These run down to Psso Deria and the T-bar that takes you back to the main action. This action, by the way, all takes place at altitudes from 2210m to 2570m. These figures help to illustrate why Livigno has consistently good snow records.

Better skiers, not experts mind, but skiers with a decent degree of confidence, will have a field day in this region. A combination of normally good snow, long moderately difficult runs, and wide open slopes make this a utopian confidence and form building piece of mountain real estate. One has the opportunity to ski down to Trepalle and return by T bar from there, or indeed to connect to the long chair lift to Monte Della Neve at 2875m.

There is a third and most attractive opportunity from your Il Mottolino base, namely ski touring. As illustrated on your map it would even be possible, given the right weather and conditions to tour on skis all the way to Bormio. This would take you through some of the most rugged and startlingly beautiful mountain terrain in The Alps. Of course it is not absolutely necessary to tour all the way to Bormio, this writer, for one, has not made the journey. However it would be a highlight to one's skiing career. Again we implore you to hire a qualified guide. You will be traversing and skiing unmarked and wild sections of mountains that reach almost to 3,000m. This is reserved for good, confident and fit skiers. All others should stay on the prepared slopes.

From its arrival point at 2785m, the chair lift running along Monte Sponda to Monte Della Neve is your transport to all kinds of skiing suitable for those from just above the beginner stage to those boasting quite defined skills. There are too some more challenging possibilities for even better skiers.

We'll tackle the easy skiing first here, as that is always the better way to get warmed up. Simply stay to the right of the chair lift on you way down. A long, gentle hump of mountain will get you right back to the chair lift, from where you can either go back to the valley via the gondola, or ride back up and repeat the pleasure of the run down.

Middlin' and good skiers should veer left after arriving at the starting point. From here you can ski the most challenging skiing on this side of Livigno simply by staying farthest to the left. Some moderately steep and bumpy terrain will provide fairly difficult challenge and lead you to the Monte Sponda T bar, and its transportation back to the action.

Skiers with even moderate abilities can stay closer to the chair lift line and navigate their way without too much difficulty to the same T bar. Toward the end of this run it joins for s short bit with the more difficult section. This need not cause undue concern provided you have a good degree of control over your boards.

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