Top Lift: 2620m
Ski area: 35km of piste
Adult lift pass: 156.50€ for six days
In a Nutshell
Sainte Foy is the little resort with a big reputation – for good-quality snow, some very agreeable groomers, and the kind of off-piste that can tempt skiers away from Val d’Isere. What people really like about this place, however, is the laid-back atmosphere.
Essential Advice for the Perfect Trip
There have been lifts here since 1990, but what’s really put the resort on the map has been a big surge in new building over the last two or three or years. Now there’s accommodation to match the quality of the slopes, and the word is spreading. This is no longer just a place the guides from Val d’Isere bring their clients when the powder there has been skied out.
A small ski area and quiet evenings
Of course, not everyone is going to like the place. Anyone who’s looking for big-resort buzz will be lost here. There aren’t the facilities, or the bars, or the sheer energy that you find in Val, Meribel or St Anton. Nor is there anything like the amount of skiing. 35km of pistes is – let’s face it – almost nothing. Anyone who’s reasonably comfortable on red-rated runs will ski everything twice before lunch.
But then, in many respects, that’s the whole point of coming here. Sainte Foy is an antidote to the hassle and hustle of the megaplexes – to their crowded pistes, endless queues, and industrial scale. This is a place where you don’t have to rush to the lifts each morning if you want to catch some decent snow. You can tackle it at your own pace – and if that means kicking back for a couple of hours on a sunny terrace to discuss the sexual politics of your chalet party, or what to do about your sister’s new boyfriend, then all the better. After all: aren’t you supposed to be on holiday?
But it’s not just the fact that Sainte Foy is small that makes it special. Four other factors elevate it into the super-league.
1. The off-piste terrain: No wonder the guides from Val bring their clients over. The upper slopes are north-facing and have a lovely, steep, even pitch. This is the kind of place where any confident intermediate should lay aside his or her dreams of high-speed carving for a day or two and buy himself a couple of lessons on powder. With so little traffic on mountain, this is the perfect place to make the breakthrough into off-piste skiing or boarding.
2. The chalets: There are some stunners here: all of them more or less brand new.
3. The proximity of the big resorts: Val d’Isere, Tignes, and Villaroger (which connects with Les Arcs) are all within 25 minutes’ drive. Which means your cute, away-from-it-all destination comes with built-in big-skiing insurance: although we reckon in high season, at least, most people will try the big resorts once and then beat a hasty retreat to the serenity of Sainte Foy.
4. Premiere Neige: There’s a family-friendly British tour operator working in the resort, Premiere Neige, which has its own creche, staffed with qualified staff. It also offers a private nanny service for chalets, as does another British tour operator Venture Ski. For parents with a young family, who are looking for a rest as much a skiing holiday, that makes Sainte Foy a great option.