Nestled high up in the Valtellina Valley, Livigno is a lively Italian resort offering 185km of slopes for all levels, more than 30 modern lifts, and two top snowparks. The ski area hosts high-level sports competitions, which attract famous athletes from around the world.

Here are five things you may not know about Livigno . . . 

1. Awesome Freeriding

Freeriders have many opportunities to satisfy their thirst for freedom and powder in Livigno. In 2013, the Freeride Project was launched which consisted of a series of initiatives – the first of which was a local avalanche bulletin to promote satey off-piste. There are designated freerider routes marked by entry gates. One of the most spectacular is in Mottolino – Livigno’s biggest ski area – where you follow the valley Vallaccia, starting from Monte della Neve (Valfin chair lift) and ending in Trepalle, Italy’s highest village.

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2. Fat Biking

“Fat biking” – bikes with wide, low-pressure tyres ideal for cruising across the snow – is a growing trend that has been embraced in this popular holiday resort. Livigno jumped on the fat bike train quite early and has now reacted to the high consumer demand. Every year more bikers travel to the Italian resort for a winter shred. Livigno now offers dedicated routes in the woods of Valandrea and Val Federia as well as 20km of new trails for fat biking during wintertime.

The well-priced fat bike rental starts from: €15/2h15, €20/half day, €30/full day. If you would prefer to head out with a guide, costs start at €50. Once a week you can even hop on a guided fat bike night ride – an unforgettable experience for any passionate rider.

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3. Duty-Free Shopping

The village lies in a wild and secluded valley at 1,800m. Its duty-free status is directly related to its isolated position: until 1952, when the pass Foscagno (linking Bormio to Livigno) was opened to traffic in winter, the village remained inaccessible for many months a year.

The village was built along the Spöl stream and is dotted with numerous shops and mini markets - more than 250! The town calls it 'an outside shopping mall'. The shops are open seven days a week and sell everything you can possibly want or need: from perfumes to kitchenware, clothes, toys, specialty food, and electronics. You can of course buy tobacco, alcohol, and petrol as well. Many old stone and wood houses have been skilfully restored and are home to luxury boutiques rivalling those of the fashion district in Milan.

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4. Kids Go Free

"Family Week - Kids Go Free" from 21 to 28 March, 2015, children up to 12 years old accompanied by two paying adults go for free and there’s a discount of 50% for each additional child under 12 years of age. It covers overnight stays in hotels and apartments (in this case, the discount is 15%) that participate in the initiative, as well as equipment rental, ski pass, access to Aquagranda and the ski school.

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5. Cross-Country Skiing

Livigno offers 30km of cross-country ski tracks that wind along the entire valley, from Forcola to the area of the lake, passing the technical path of "Marianna Longa". La Sgambeda, the international ski marathon, officially opens the racing season every December.

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Getting there: To get to Livigno in winter you can drive through Bormio or go from Switzerland, through the toll tunnel Munt La Schera, connecting Lower Engadine and Zernez to Livigno. The single lane gallery with alternating traffic has been open for individuals since 1968 and has made the journey much easier. When leaving Livigno, consider the queues that form at the customs exit, especially on weekends and holidays: the customs officers control the goods purchased and slow down the traffic.