Resort Profile: Sainte Foy

By adamrowden, 3 Dec '12 at 11:38

Sainte Foy was once rated as one of the top 10 ski resorts in the world by The Sunday Times and it is often referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Tarentaise Valley. It is a cracking small unspoilt resort that is located at 1550m with lifts that take you up to 2840m.

It is a resort that offers you very few lift queues and no hoards on the pistes, so the conditions stay good and it is the place that many of the instructors from Val d’Isère head to on their days off. There are quite a few fast red runs and long blue runs plus three separate nursery slopes for beginners. The resort is best for off-piste enthusiasts as it has large areas of unmarked runs.

It is a lovely traditional resort that offers you excellent skiing in a wonderfully natural environment. The village is located within the trees and there is a real ‘everyone-knows-everyone’ atmosphere, which makes for a nice vibe throughout the resort.

On the Piste

The north-west exposure of the resort means that Sainte Foy has great snow quality. If you are doing a season here, then you will have a choice between skiing or snowboarding between the mid-altitude forests or on the marked runs which all vary in size and difficulty.

The intimacy of this resort is a definite bonus and by the end of your season you will know the area like the back of your hand. As mentioned earlier lift queues are pretty rare and if you do get a bit bored of the local area, you have plenty of access to several large mountain areas.

Within the resort of Sainte Foy, there is plenty of variety on the pistes and there are plenty of drops and hits for snowboarders and freestyle fans. The pistes are set from 1550m up to 2650m, and they almost all maintain excellent snow throughout the winter. The top of the mountain is a large powder bowl, above the treeline, and the lower pistes slice through the forest.

There are some decent and difficult black runs that are situated from the Col de l'Aiguille summit at 2620m that are sure to test your ability. There is also the opportunity for a top to bottom descent which takes you over a lovely set of reds including L’Aiguille down to Creux de Formeian which both take you down to the bottom at La Savonette.


There are great opportunities for local off piste skiing around the resort. If you enjoy a good day out then the run down from the summit of the Foglietta back down to Sainte Foy Village on the road from Bourg St Maurice is well worth checking out. It can take up to three hours to complete a lap and it really is stunning.

Shaper’s is most probably the most accessible of the three designated off-piste areas and is also the one that tends to be opened first after fresh snowfall. If you head down the marker poles then you can have a decent run and there are even some nice small jumps on which to play around. The finish of this run is pretty steep and there is also a lovely natural half pipe nearby.

Directly below the Aiguille chair you can find the Morion, which is pretty steep, but it can also be prone to being very icy as it is very exposed to the wind. It is also known to be quite prone to avalanches, so you should always be careful before deciding to head over.

Living in Resort

The resort is small and compact and can easily be assessed in all areas on foot. There is a free underground car park towards the Centre of the village, with a cash point just above it. If you are doing a season here then you will most probably be interested in what the local bars are like. So, here we go...

Bars and Restaurants
Chalet la Foglietta is located at the top of the Arpettaz chair and it is here that you'll find hot and cold drinks, paninis, lasagne and other snacks at this lovely wooden chalet. A complete take-away picnic can be prepared for you on reservation. La Bergerie is also a great place to go for food and they also do take aways. La Maison a Colonnes is a nice traditional restaurant in a typical XVIth century Savoyard chalet. Overall the resort is fairly quiet with a couple of bars. There is an excellent Pool and Spa at the Balcons Apartments. There are a number of marked snowshoe trails around the resort. Pedestrians can make use of the Plan Bois lift for a small fee.

Away Days
Many visitors to Sainte Foy use the resort as a base for a ski safari to other resorts in the Tarentaise Valley. Holders of a six day or more lift pass can take advantage of unlimited days in La Rosiere/La Thuile and Les Arcs as well as one day a week in Val d’Isere or Tignes and one day a week in La Plagne.

Thanks to John Matson for putting most of this guide together.

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