Little Tibet in Europe

If you had asked me (a non skiier) to recommend a European ski destination Italy would not have come rushing to mind. Instead my mind would have wandered to the usual suspects of Val d’Isere, Zermatt, St. Moritz, Klosters etc. in France, Switzerland and Austria. Italy is more famous for ancient ruins, breathtaking architecture, Tuscan countryside, vineyards, olive groves, crystal blue mediterranean waters, Geary pasta dishes, picturesque villages….the list goes on….but snow????

5 days into our Easter break, our first ski holiday as a family and I am already planning next year’s holiday in the home of the Azzurri!

Livigno is an unspoiled, tranquil resort comprising three side by side villages nestled in the Italian Alps, a stone’s throw from the Swiss border. Known as ‘Little Tibet’ because of its comparatively remote setting, Livigno’s charm lies in its relaxed, laid back pace. Climbing to just over 1,800 meters above sea level, Livigno’s slopes are practically guaranteed good skiing and boarding conditions until the first week of May!! The promise of snow so late in the year was the main reason DH chose this resort for our Easter trip.

On our arrival the Alps’ crown was covered and just enough snow lay on the main slopes to make skiing fun. At the village base, the roadsides sheltered exhaust fume dirtied slush and the pathways were bare and dry. The sun shone. The sky was electric blue. Skiing conditions were pretty good.

A couple of days of non stop snowing and blustery blizzards ensured a generous snowfall of up to 15cm, thus making for a lighter powder through which my little skiiers could glide and hone their skills.

The resort appeals to all levels of ability: 115km of ski area is home to 12 black runs (advanced), 37 red runs (intermediate) and 29 blue runs (beginner). Ski schools run lessons in the mornings and the afternoons, and the instructors will have the most green of beginners on the red slopes in no time!

The village itself reminds me of a distant era gone by. It is a place where neighbours take the time out of their day to stop and talk to each other, where the supermarket cashiknows on first name basis with his customers and is never too busy for a chat (irrespective of the queue forming), where grandparents push buggies containing their precious next generations. Church bells ring out every half hour. Shops close for a couple of hours to mark the afternoon siesta, allowing weary skiiers to ‘down tools’ and recharge. There is no distinction between high street fashion and haute couture here – fluorescent ski jackets, pants and fleece lined waterproofed footwear are the order of the day. There are fruit and vegetable shops selling just that and supermarkets do not stock over the counter medicines – a 2.5km trip to the nearest pharmacy is necessary for a pack of panadol. Small, boxy cars like Opel Corsas and Fiat Pandas zip though the one way streets; there are no moster 4x4s here. I think this is where lemon cars come to retire!

We have had a fabulous time in this snow haven. It has been a wonderful introduction to ski holidays, and with the kids declaring skiing as their new number one sport, I think we can safely say it has been an all round success!

Note: this is not a sponsored post!

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