Trip Report Bormio + Livigno Italy for a few months

bluestick

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Jun 10, 2005
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I’ll try and do a semi regular update. After surviving the covid rigmaroles travelling from the UK have finally made it to Bormio in Italy, site of two World Cup races today and tomorrow. We are feeling very lucky to be travelling, let alone skiing in Europe. There is just enough snow on the pisted runs allowing top to bottom skiing, helped along by plenty of snowmaking. A very light dusting of 1cm overnight. Wanting to avoid the World Cup circus headed over to Le Motte today for day one of tow skiing. Yesterday was just spent getting orientated on the xc track which was fun. Very uncrowded, no lift queues ok piste skiing especially early. Lots of people touring up the hill on the designated up hill track. Covid wise, we needed to show a green pass vaccination certificate (not wanting to risk the Aussie one we got the Swiss one) to get on the bottom lift. Masks are worn consistently but not once on the ski runs. Off to Santa Caterina tomorrow. Photos: Bormio old church laser lights, view to Bormio runs from La Motte, telemarking.
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bluestick

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Jun 10, 2005
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The ski culture round here seems different. Hardly any snowboards, lots of keen young kids practicing racing, no hoons bombing down slopes, heaps of uphill ski tourers and have not seen a park yet. Overall quite pleasing really. Watching a bit of the super G practice today you start to realise how amazingly skilled these skiers are, just wow. The snow today was good from 3000 metres to around 2400 below that was firm early softening later. Still skiable top to bottom at Bormio, not sure how long that will last though. A balmy 13 degrees at 1200 metres. A bit of fresh up high but in general needs more snow. Apparently it’s a lot less cover than usual. So much potential for off piste in the area when the falls come. Tiny bits of ok untracked stuff but photo on piste up high at Bormio:
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bluestick

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Jun 10, 2005
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Back over to Le Motte/Cima Piazzi today. Fun skiing especially in the sun softened stuff with a bit of off piste corn. The upper lifts are not open, not sure why. Not enough people? It’s a quiet area compared to both Bormio and Santa Caterina. We like it, makes touring up there attractive. This is a very popular walk, randonee spot with lots doing it from around 1500 metres to 2500. Sort of like the local daily exercise regime I guess. Reminds me of the morning surf ritual at Lennox. On the not seen front ….no DPS skis, fat skis, ski patrol and telemark skiers. Interesting to see if this changes when (if !) some new snow comes. Apparently Livigno has a Tele contingent which will be visited at some stage. Livigno is 50 euro add on to the season pass. Magnificent day today, photos up top at Cima Piazzi and Tele fun:
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bluestick

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Jun 10, 2005
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Quick update, now up at Santa Caterina for a week after the free hot spring in Bormio and woodstack art (see photos). Snow still ok above 2300 metres but off piste needs a dump maybe tonight and tomorrow. Virtually no queues and uncrowded for a peak week. Photos showing piste at about 2600 metres and ice rink preparation.
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bluestick

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Jun 10, 2005
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Classic sunny day here. Some very pleasant pockets of fresh dry snow off the pistes. A tiny dusting overnight. After 5 hours on the tows this morning off to relax with a little xc this arvo. Photos of a couple of tourers in the valley below Mt. Sobretta (guessing it’s Monte Gavia 3230m in the background) and off piste towards the Passo de Gavia road.

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bluestick

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Jun 10, 2005
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Not quite the comprehensive reports of blueandwhite or elSpike but may as well post ‘something/anything’. Decided to go for a short tour from the top of Santa Caterina today towards Mt Sobretta. A bit of easing into it: sort the skins out, avy stuff, navigation, get a feel for conditions and perspectives in the European alps. It was low risk and fun, the snow was good in pockets with mainly windpacked powder. Cold all day around minus 10. About 6 other people about. It felt adventurous even though we were only a km from the lifts. A couple of weeks at Livigno after tomorrow, as usual more snow would be good but just grateful to be here. It looks like the NW alps around Verbier are getting the most of the next system.
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Hyst

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Nov 23, 2014
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Not quite the comprehensive reports of blueandwhite or elSpike but may as well post ‘something/anything’. Decided to go for a short tour from the top of Santa Caterina today towards Mt Sobretta. A bit of easing into it: sort the skins out, avy stuff, navigation, get a feel for conditions and perspectives in the European alps. It was low risk and fun, the snow was good in pockets with mainly windpacked powder. Cold all day around minus 10. About 6 other people about. It felt adventurous even though we were only a km from the lifts. A couple of weeks at Livigno after tomorrow, as usual more snow would be good but just grateful to be here. It looks like the NW alps around Verbier are getting the most of the next system.
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Just love the deep mountain reports even if only a km away from the lisfs. Markings are the same in the remote areas it seem.
 
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Sbooker

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Sep 28, 2015
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Not quite the comprehensive reports of blueandwhite or elSpike but may as well post ‘something/anything’. Decided to go for a short tour from the top of Santa Caterina today towards Mt Sobretta. A bit of easing into it: sort the skins out, avy stuff, navigation, get a feel for conditions and perspectives in the European alps. It was low risk and fun, the snow was good in pockets with mainly windpacked powder. Cold all day around minus 10. About 6 other people about. It felt adventurous even though we were only a km from the lifts. A couple of weeks at Livigno after tomorrow, as usual more snow would be good but just grateful to be here. It looks like the NW alps around Verbier are getting the most of the next system.
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Beautiful.
Im not experienced in ‘back country’. As far as safety is concerned if one chooses a low avi risk day and only skis low angle terrain (under 30 degrees) I believe the odds are well in favour of not having problems?
 
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bluestick

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Beautiful.
Im not experienced in ‘back country’. As far as safety is concerned if one chooses a low avi risk day and only skis low angle terrain (under 30 degrees) I believe the odds are well in favour of not having problems?
Yep pretty much although we are usually super cautious. It helps a bit if others have gone before you of course. Interestingly (scarily?) I ‘felt’ the danger was low with no obvious hard layers and a relatively shallow snowpack. The avalanche bulletin at Livigno however, is moderate at tree line and alpine, mainly windslab. None of the slopes we travelled through ‘felt’ avalanche prone. Saw a minor shallow avalanche well away from the pistes at Santa Caterina this morning, I’m thinking it was deliberately triggered, maybe 30cm deep to ground level. No new snow in Livigno this evening.
 
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bluestick

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Livigno up date. Very cold and windy yesterday -16 ish with cloudy periods. Much nicer today with some fun ‘just’ off piste wind blown pockets. Probably had 5 cm of natural snow. Much less than other parts of the alps. It’s a pretty big resort with the bonus of 30 km of XC tracks. The ‘real’ extensive off piste is still not really happening yet. The snow making keeps the vast pistes in great nick however. Photo views over the valley from the east side pistes to the west side.
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Kletterer

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Yes its been cold in the Arlberg too. We have calf to knee deep though. hope you get some more soon.
 

bluestick

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Regarding broken heels, it’s like the good old days here, you see a free heeler and you say hello. Share the stoke. To be honest though, there is so much firm piste skiing that it’s the land of classic downhill. Lock the heel, no more than 80 underfoot with skis, bindings and boots that weigh god knows how much. I picked up a ski in the ski room and it felt like something weightlifters would use. Great for carving turns. Regular ski tuning is essential. The cross country track skiing seems well patronised. Telemarking really is best suited to soft untracked snow (IMHO) so while my son in the pics enjoys it I mainly parallel on the hard pistes. Magic windless cold (max -5) day today the just off piste still worth a try but nothing like Ketterer’s pics. A few pics from the other side of the valley, the Mottolino side with a view east of Trepalle. While (so far) it ain’t no Japan snow wise, it’s such an amazing place to ski.
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Rabid K9

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Jul 15, 2008
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Have only briefly passed through Livigno, but liked it's potential.

Bit of a snow shadow, being so 'deeps in the Alps, one place the partners parents said they would come & look after the kids due to the open sunny valley being warm enough for their camper.
 

bluestick

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Bormio and Livigno both have quite a few non skier options and are attractive towns, Bormio especially. From Livigno you can go to St Moritz Engadine easily , even as a day trip. At the moment as much as we would like to go there for a week or so with the covid regimes it’s a bit of a hassle for a short period. Tests before and after both ways. In terms of snow, this area does seem to be in a bit of snow shadow, ( actually seems not that much different to St Moritz) . Fortunately whatever they get stays around particularly in Livigno and Santa Caterina. Bormio is too low at 1200 but all of these resorts make snow which helps a lot. (photo) If you like piste skiing all of the resorts are great with good solid pitch intermediate and upper intermediate runs. If you like off piste (like us) it’s a little frustrating so far this season but there is heaps of potential. According to today’s avalanche bulletin “Along the whole Livigno area, the snowpack thickness is below the seasonal average for the period “ . Gives us lots of time to scope out options when the snow does arrive hopefully. The days lately have been amazing with all pistes and lifts open. Loving our current accomodation - self cater, 50 m walk to lift, very short walk to supermarket and xc tracks and shuttle buses if needed at $900 per week for 2 people.
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bluestick

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Putting it bluntly, it needs a really decent fall. The stuff that is reasonably easy to access is very very variable and chopped up. Some might like it but no one is skiing it. Being used to Japan for a few years it just spoils you for fresh, here it’s fine blue days and piste at the moment. Looks good in Austria though. A report on Diavolezza would be good.
 
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bluestick

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From a lift perspective there are no queues, no need to share gondolas, chairs at all. The shuttle buses can be fullish at times. To me it seems quiet civilised, I have no idea what it’s like normally ….I like it how it is though. Mask compliance is pretty good but you get a few slackers.
 
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bluestick

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Jun 10, 2005
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A fun day today, as they say any day on snow is a good day. First our quick regular tow assisted 1 hour resort ‘circuit tour’ which links up 5 odd lifts on the western side, kinda like the morning surf.
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Then get on XC tracks to head up towards the Forcola pass into Switzerland on the winter closed road. Just so peaceful and on a ‘fantastico’ day. You can see the avalanche tunnels of the road in the background.
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Had son 2 with us this week and in contrast to son 1 he prefers the XC tracks and touring to downhill lift skiing which I get. It’s something about the environment being so much more all encompassing and slow paced. You just take more in.
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bluestick

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Jun 10, 2005
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Gonna be in Livigno for a month now so TR title change … exciting stuff. A day off skiing yesterday, which involved farewelling our son at 6.30 am to make his 12 hour trip back to London and walking 10 km around the valley. Still taking it all in and finding it hard to believe we are actually here. It snowed a tiny bit last night and there was some small (5 or 6 turns) pockets of windblown dry stuff near the pistes. Better than nothing. BTW it took a few days of tow skiing and boot tweeking but now loving the TX pros and Meidjo bindings. This arvo cruised downtown on the xc tracks to get some better striding skis. It’s all built in skins for grip now and they glide well too. Pattern bases gone gone gone. We do like to skate ski but classic is just a little less committing and flexible. Can only carry so many skis with you. Photos of the tracks near town and the snow farming thing that apparently means they can have a summer xc race.
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Armarda

First Runs
Jan 18, 2022
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Hi Bluestick,

I'm heading back out to Livigno in Feb, wanted to know if the covid restrictions have killed the small apre ski scene? Mainly at the bottom of Caresello 3000? Any insight would be great, cheers!
 

bluestick

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Wow what a question. Sorry not the right dude (maybe I was 40 years ago and even then only about the Oxford Tavern and Radio Birdman and maybe the folk club in Elizabeth St) to ask about the quality of apres ski at C3000. Its open with a very dedicated bull suited person and a DJ doing their best to rev it up. Actually they were offering free shots the other day.
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Meanwhile why not take the dogs for a late afternoon walk in the park.
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bluestick

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Jun 10, 2005
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Went for a tour today up the valley just off the xc track. So good to get relatively OBT. Some great snow in the direct north facing slopes in the trees, totally hoar frosted. Bugger all turns worth unfortunately. Bit of avy stuff around pretty much down to ground. These mountains are so belittling.
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On another note, got the (nearly) final hire car bill from our family Xmas journey in UK. Gotta love travelling for unexpected surprises. $200 for scraping the wheel rim on a gutter, $300 for congestion fine and car hire company admin eventually worked out $300 per day for the vehicle. Have to admit it was a great car, Peugot GT premium diesel needed ad blue which was totally new to me, another $50 or the car warned me it would die!!! Shit going on around the world and having an ‘absolutely fabulous’ trip around Bath, Cornwall, Stonehenge puts these surprises in perspective of course. Just humbled to be here. Coastal town Cornwall Xmas lights:
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