Sainte Foy, France | Welove2ski
Ski Resorts

Sainte Foy, France

Sainte Foy, France | Welove2ski
Photo: © OT Sainte Foy


The Stats

Altitude: 1550m

Top Lift: 2620m

Ski area: 35km of piste

Adult lift pass: 156.50€ for six days

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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

For years, people have been driving past Sainte Foy, on the way up to Val d’Isere and Tignes – and not giving the place a moment’s thought. Now they might be tempted to turn off and take a look.

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.

The Loveometer

Where to Ski Loveometer 77% | Welove2ski

We Love

We Hate

tick The north-facing slopes.
tick The powder days.
tick The quality of the (limited number of) upper-intermediate groomers.
tick The long, even pitch of the off-piste.
tick The low-key architecture and consistently above-average accommodation.
tick The happy, laid-back atmosphere. No-one can quite believe their luck here – resorts this relaxing are a rare thing in the French Alps. It feels more like Canada.
tick The lack of crowds and queues – though we can’t be sure how long that’s going to last.
cross Actually, there’s nothing to hate here: provided you come here expecting a small, cute, low-key resort with limited skiing (though there’s plenty more nearby).
cross The lack of nightlife.
cross The idea that the current spate of construction might continue and overwhelm the capacity of pistes and lifts.

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About the author

Sean Newsom

As well as founding Welove2ski in June 2007, Sean has written about skiing and snowboarding in the British press for 28 years. For the last 20 of them, he’s also been the ski travel editor at The Sunday Times.

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