Overview of Sainte Foy
Yet because it’s so close to larger, well-known resorts like Les Arcs, Val d’Isère and Tignes, it’s somewhat overlooked ̶ which is a shame, because it’s a great resort with lots to offer skiers who appreciate a serene and scenic village with bags of Savoyard charm and some of the best powder snow and off-piste skiing available anywhere in the Alps and beyond.
Snow conditions are excellent thanks to its north west facing slopes and forest, and new snow cannons were recently installed on the lower slopes to enhance the natural offering.
Sainte Foy’s ski area ranges from 1550m to 2520m and as well as the ample off-piste skiing available, there are 26 regular pistes catering to skiers of all styles and aptitudes. The area might seem small compared to neighbouring resorts, but quality beats quantity here ̶ many of the superb slopes are high altitude and there are 800 hectares of forest to explore, which is particularly useful in inclement weather conditions. Chalet-style accommodation options in the traditional Tarentaise style (stone, wood and slate) are comfortable and convenient for families and couples and there are fab facilities and activities for kids as well as laid-back après-ski for adults.
Sainte Foy is of the best kept secrets in Alpine snowsports ̶ if you take the road less travelled and turn in here instead of choosing its more famous competitors, you’re guaranteed to be charmed .
Skiing in Sainte Foy
There might only be around 35km of pistes in Sainte Foy, but they’re so quiet and such good quality that everything feels much bigger than the sum of its parts.
The slopes here cater for skiers of all abilities, although the resort is perhaps best suited to family groups with novice skiers or experienced adults who enjoy off-piste action. Here’s some more information about skiing here:
One amazing advantage of choosing Sainte Foy is that skiing on the village slopes is free for adult and child beginners ̶ this makes it an economical choice if you’re a family of novice skiers that wants to take your time building your confidence and polishing your technique before paying to ski on more advanced pistes.
The Marmots and Gallopins green slopes have magic carpets which are free to use, and these conveyor belts are much easier for novices to hop on to than ski lifts.
Once you’re ready to develop your skiing to the next level, the resort has several cruisy blue runs which are ideal for beginners working gradually towards intermediate status ̶ these include the natural, ungroomed Natur’Renard, Crêt Serru du Bas, Grand Solliet, Charmettes, Chapel, Combes and Plan Bois. You’ll need to shell out on a ski pass to access these pistes, but it’s worth every penny and you’ll also have saved significantly if you’re an adult skier who has taken advantage of learning the basics for free here.
If you’re a fan of natural skiing, another three ‘nature pistes’ are left ungroomed ̶ Shaper Paradise, Natur’Crystal and Natur’Morion. The rest of the pistes are very well maintained, with Sainte Foy grooming experts prepping them perfectly overnight so that you can start afresh every morning.
As well as the aforementioned blue runs, there are also several red runs for intermediates, while advanced skiers embrace off-piste areas like the otherworldly deserted farming village Le Monal and Foglietta’s fantastic 1700m vertical drop.
You’ll also find superb off-piste skiing if you venture off the back side of the main ridge towards Val d’Isère ̶ as well as trees, there are chutes, couloirs, jumps and expansive bowls. Furthermore, if you hike the ridge to the right from the top of the lift system, you can find fresh powder and further adventures in the north west facing bowl nestled above the village.
Please remember that, unlike North American resorts, most of the off-piste here isn’t avalanche protected, so stay safe and hire an experienced local guide to help you make the most of it.
If you want to push yourself even further, ski touring can take you to terrific slopes at heights of 3800m plus ̶ you might visit the Ruitor peaks or even Italian Valleys like Val d’Aosta.
Keen to clock up even more skiing miles? The powder hound playgrounds of Tignes, Les Arcs and Val d’Isère are around 20-30 minutes away and you can access discounted deals with your Sainte Foy pass. As you can see, skiing in Sainte Foy has much to recommend it!
Snowboarding in Sainte Foy
The awesome off-piste here means that Sainte Foy is a freestyle snowboarder’s paradise ̶ especially when there is fresh powder. Here’s the lowdown on snowboarding in this resort:
The natural Shapers Paradise is a dedicated area for freestyle skiers and snowboarders, so you’ll be in your element perfecting your moves here.
Yearning to practice your boarding technique off-piste? You can do so safely in the Techniride Zone and Off-Tracks Zone freeride areas.
There are three lifts running in succession which take you from 1550m at resort level all the way up to 2612m at the Col de L’Aiguille. From here you have an endless variety of ways to carve up the slopes on the way down ̶ you can wind your way through the woods, tackle wide open faces or take on rock shoots. Plus, if you’re prepared for a bit of a hike, you’ll love the thrilling vertical drop down the back side of the Rocher d’Arbine.
There are banked walls and drop-offs aplenty here, so if you want to catch some big air you’re in the right resort ̶ take a buddy with you to stay safe though, as there’s no guarantee what lies beneath your impromptu landing zone!
Again, you’re strongly advised to hire a local mountain guide when snowboarding off-piste here. You’ll have peace of mind in terms of safety and also be able to relax and enjoy yourself more.
Val d’Isère, Tignes and Les Arcs are close by if you want to switch things up a bit with a larger piste network and terrain parks. It’s evident that for boarders who adore off-piste freestyling, Sainte Foy is one of the last unspoiled spots in the world ̶ you can thank us later!
Snow Conditions in Sainte Foy
Sainte Foy is reasonably snow-sure throughout the season, but here’s some more insider tips on snow conditions here:
Its 1550m altitude means Sainte Foy has very good snow cover and even its lower slopes are protected from the wind.
The resort benefits from its own microclimate, created by easterly winds entering from the Italian Alps and bringing heavy snowfall with them.
To top up the natural cover, Sainte Foy has been improving its snow production capacity steadily over the years ̶ there are now 100 snow cannons across the entire ski area and they’re in place on all slopes below 2100m.
Official snowfall statistics for the most recent season indicate a total snowfall of 260cm, a total of 20 snowfall days, largest snowfall of 35cm, average base depth of 54cm, maximum base depth of 85cm, average summit depth of 147cm and maximum summit depth of 220cm.
Apres-Ski in Sainte Foy
Sainte Foy might not make for quite as lively an evening as larger resorts like Val d’Isère and Les Arcs, but for a bijou location it’s blessed by a decent blend of quality bars and restaurants. Here are some après-ski hotspots to look out for:
Yeti Boots Café is a great place to chill out on the terrace, have a bounce on the trampoline and play petanque with friends and family. The food is fab too ̶ you can tantalise your taste buds with gourmet burgers followed by delicious pancakes and ice cream.
1580m is a new restaurant in Sainte Foy where you can indulge in smoked foods, artisan coffee and craft beer from the in-house pico-brewery. Located near the top of the old village, you can enjoy panoramic views over Mont Pourri and the Tarentaise Valley as you tuck into your tasty lunch.
Chez Léon is close to the Grand Plan chairlift and affords awesome views of Mont Pourri from its south-facing terrace. This popular spot serves sumptuous salads and gorgeous grilled meats but book the day before to bag a table or you’ll probably miss out.
La Maison à Colonnes is housed in a homely rustic farm at the bottom of the Grand Plan chairlift and serves authentic French cuisine lovingly prepared with fresh local ingredients.
Le Monal has been serving local Savoyard specialities since 1888 and offers a superb seasonal menu in relaxed and amiable surroundings. The wine bar has a huge selection of wines available by the glass or bottle ̶ not to be missed!
Facilities in Sainte Foy
Sainte Foy is quiet and serene, but there are still plenty of activities and facilities for the whole family ̶ read on to run through what’s on offer.
Ski Hire in Sainte Foy
The most convenient way to arrange ski hire in Sainte Foy is by booking your gear through Erna Low. We’ve established excellent relationships with local ski hire operators so we can always locate the best quality equipment for the skiing style and level of aptitude for every member of your party and arrange pickup from a location close to your accommodation. If you’re interested in adding ono equipment hire to your holiday booking, feel free to contact us via live chat.
Ski Passes in Sainte Foy
Erna Low can also easily arrange your Sainte Foy ski passes as part of your customised ski holiday passes and we regularly offer special deals such as free child passes, group discounts and savings for early booking ̶ ask us what’s on offer when you book.
Spa and Pool in Sainte Foy
Many of the accommodation options at Sainte Foy have in-house spas and pools and several are open to the general public ̶ Spa Altitude Ô Des Cimes at Les Fermes de Sainte Foy has a spa, pool and face and body treatments or alternatively, you can pamper yourself at Ahimsa Le Spa with adult and child massages and all manner of nail and beauty treatments.
Shops in Sainte Foy
You’ll find all your essentials here, so there’s no need to stray further afield unless you really want some serious retail therapy. Les Délices de Sainte Foy offers outstanding organic baked bread, Sainte Foy Nature and Health is a well-stocked pharmacy that caters for your wellbeing, you can grab groceries at Épicerie Le Campaillou and newspapers, magazines and souvenirs at Le Santa Fé tabac.
Facilities for Children in Sainte Foy
Free skiing on the village slopes for novices simply scratches the surface of everything that’s on offer for kids in this compact and traditional resort ̶ find out more below.
Ski Schools in Sainte Foy
You’ll never be stuck when you’re looking for quality children’s ski instruction in Sainte Foy ̶ here are a couple of examples:
ESF Ski School operates in Sainte Foy and it has established an amazing reputation for providing inspirational instruction to youngsters across the French Alps.
Evolution 2 Ski School meets outside their office close to the Intersport shop ̶ private or group lessons are competitively priced and if your kids are learning in a group, there’s a limit of 6 participants, which means they’ll get plenty of attention.
The ski area in Sainte Foy is also funnel-shaped, which means all runs lead back to the centre of the resort and your little ones are always within easy reach during lessons. In addition, the chairlifts are equipped with kid-stopper fittings for extra comfort and safety.
Entertainment in Sainte Foy
Off the pistes, kids are kept busy with husky dog sledding, bowling, swimming and ice skating, but they can also enjoy the Natur’Squirrel snowshoe discovery trail, where they’ll learn about the native trees and wildlife, and a fun free toboggan run on the Galopins village slope.
Childcare in Sainte Foy
Les Petits Trappeurs Nursery is operated by ESF and caters for kids aged 3-6 and 7-11, offering a range of fun and educational activities before and after their ski lessons. Alternatively, Jelly and Ice Cream has experienced and CRB-checked nannies who can pick up your young ones from their lessons and look after them at your accommodation, offering freshly prepared lunches and arts and craft activities to keep them occupied.
The Sainte Foy ski area ranges from 1550m to 2620m at the Col de l’Aiguille summit and benefits from a unique microclimate facilitated by north westerly exposure and easterly air currents from the Italian Alps which are accompanied by heavy snow.
Over 1000m of vertical drop is available to skiers and snowboarders and as well as the renowned off-piste available in the immediate vicinity, heli-skiing allows you to explore other high-altitude playgrounds across the Italian border.