Livigno, an Italian resort where the apres-ski doesn’t always come after, is not a destination for the faint-hearted. AMY ADAMS takes her chances.

Barely two runs ticked off the piste map of Livigno and already our rep is frogmarching us into a bar. It’s a small, wooden shack perched just before an almost vertical slope which might explain why the clientele don’t seem to have left since last season. Pats on the back all round for Davide, like he’s brought fresh meat to the pride, and then a tray of Bombardinos appear as if from nowhere.

Next to the milky, potent cocktails is a battery-operated flashing man, which Tea Bork’s owner Gigio positions just close enough to my glass for his pecker to hit the froth when he whips open his coat. Then it’s my shout and I’m told to order pompinos. The bar erupts into laughter and it turns out I’ve demanded blow-jobs all round.

Welcome to Livigno, where life is one big stag party and winter sports are squeezed in between strip clubs and killer hangovers.

“Make sure you get some sleep, there’s no sleeping in Livigno,” Davide had warned a few days before our arrival. Aside from the odd five minutes on a chair lift, and an almost fatal doze while snowmobiling, this proved to be exhaustingly close to the truth.

Livigno, an Alpine ski resort in Lombardy, Italy was granted special privileges as a tax-free haven in 1840. It was a way to persuade residents to stay there despite the fact it was almost cut off from the rest of Italy for six months of the year. Now the roads are clear all through winter (how else would coach loads of visitors descend on the town each week?) but the exemption remains and you can make the most of it in the centre’s many duty free boutiques.

Perhaps this contributes to the general feeling of lawlessness in Livigno – a feeling supplemented by the fact that the town seems to be run, Mafia-style, by the Gallis. Davide, whose sister goes out with one of them, pays for everything with special Galli money, a currency that resembles raffle tickets. Which brings us back to his eagerness with the Bombardinos.

Three hours later we’re back to face the black run. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that it’s irresponsible to drink and ride. The difference is that in Livigno you get much of the mountain to yourself – this could be because everyone else is still in bed, but I suspect it’s also due to the fact that it’s largely a resort for beginners and park fiends.

Split in half by a main road running through the centre of the valley, it’s a very ordered resort. All the beginners’ runs lie west of the town, gently tilting up the long wide basin. Intermediates and above tend to stick to the east side where there’s a snow park and the better restaurants, so the slopes above the blue runs, when we were there at least, are virtually empty.

Livigno isn’t a big centre. Even obeying the unwritten rule of not heading up the mountain before 11am (because it’s a high resort the snow’s too hard before then – we tested the theory and it’s no excuse) you’ll have covered the area within a couple of days if you’re a competent skier or snowboarder. You just might not remember doing it.

If the action gets a little repetitive by day, the nights are bound to be more eventful, starting as they inevitably do at Galli’s Pub, Directski’s engine room and decompression chamber, and the kind of place where the beer mats say things like cold weather can make things appear smaller that they really are”.

Then, from the cowboy themed Daphne’s to the “nipples with attitude” strip club Kokodis, there’s a lethal cocktail of bars to choose from, as well as plenty of activities laid on by your hosts. I didn’t think anything could top the “what the hell am I doing?” factor more than a torchlit descent where you manage to snuff your torch out and lose everyone, but climbing on a snowmobile behind the perma-pissed Gigio did it.

I should have given him the benefit of the doubt, as he delivers us to the mountain feast at Tea Bork just fine. Any malfunction after that is no one’s fault but our own as the Bombardinos kick in and the flashing man (and his friend the knob jug) is knocked off the table by swaying, carousing, air-punching bodies.

Booking my tricks lesson at 10am the next morning probably wasn’t the best idea. Snowboard instructor Fulvio tries his best to get me spinning in the air but thanks to a huge dump of snow and hangover coordination, I’ve got about as much pop as a lame potato gun. As if this wasn’t punishment enough, the afternoon’s activity is snowmobiling.

It looks a lot easier than it is, when it’s snowing so much you can’t see where you’re going and a brief lapse of concentration sends you off the path into a snow drift. Three times. A large proportion of the local snowmobile count down, it was time to call it a day. Back to Galli’s to start the night, then.

• Amy Adams travelled to Livigno with Directski (0800-587 0945). A week’s holiday with flights from Gatwick, transfers and half-board accommodation starts at £249.”