Photo: Sainte-Foy ski resort – © Philippe Royer OT Ste-foy
Sainte Foy is located French side of the Italian border and next door to some of France’s best-known ski resorts. It has a lot to offer its visitors, despite only having 40km of marked pistes. You would be surprised at how well it caters to everyone from beginners to extremists alike. In this ultimate guide to St Foy, we will delve into the details to showcase what this brilliant resort offers. This will help you decide if St Foy is the resort for you and give you all the information so you can enjoy it to its fullest when you arrive.
The first thing you need to know about St Foy is that Sainte-Foy ski resort is different from Sainte-Foy Tarentaise the town. The ski resort was built in 1990 on the site of an old farming village among the trees in a south-west facing bowl. This aspect makes St Foy a very sunny resort. The buildings are built from traditional wood and stone, which is in keeping with the region’s architectural style. This means that St Foy, even though it isn’t that old, has traditional Savoyard charm and a cosy village atmosphere. This is enhanced by it being a car-free resort, making it more attractive and safe for kids.
The ski resort of St Foy is actually made up of more than a dozen villages. You will find that the majority of accommodation is located in the main village and its surrounding hamlets. One thing you need to be aware of is that one of the hamlets is called La Thuile. This may be confusing, as just over the Italian border, there is another ski resort of the same name. But, all the hamlets are linked with a free shuttle bus.
St Foy is suitable for most skiers and snowboarders. The views of Mont Pourri and its surrounding landscape are incredible, and the range of off-piste skiing is vast. But its quiet pistes and short lift queues make skiing in St Foy appealing to everyone.
If you are looking for a ski resort with an authentic Savoyard village atmosphere, St Foy is a great option. It also provides great value for money, thanks to the cheapest lift passes in the world and reasonably priced accommodation. Along with its excellent child care options, St Foy is an ideal destination for families.
One of the best kept secrets in the French Alps, Sainte Foy’s picturesque chalet-style architecture (local wood and stone) and pedestrian-only village setting give Sainte-Foy a beautiful authentic alpine charm not many can match
ON THE MOUNTAIN
Sainte Foy is a great place to learn to snowboard as the conditions are ideal and the pistes are well looked after. It is excellent for kids, as it isn’t a huge area, and the beginner slopes are safe, as they are generally quiet with gentle gradients.
St Foy gets excellent snow cover, thanks to its north-west facing slopes and altitude. The resort sits at 1,550m, and its highest point is the Col de L’Aiguille at 2,620m. This, combined with its abundance of backcountry terrain, makes St Foy a powder hunter’s paradise. St Foy has a great off-piste culture, so while the kids are at ski school, there is some epic terrain to play in.
If you are willing to put some effort in on a good weather day, head for the north face of Foliette. This is accessible from the Col de l’Aiguille with a 45-minute hike. This hike rewards you with a 1700m powder-coated off-piste descent down to the village of Mazure.
For the best terrain, it is best to book a guide or instructor to take to the best places in safety. In the Tarentaise valley, the powder is usually tracked out by lunchtime, but as St Foy is so quiet, you can find fresh lines all day.
St Foy allows you to easily discover some of the areas of other world-class ski resorts due to its location. Tignes-Val d’Isere, La Rosiere and Les Arcs are all within 30min’s drive. This means St Foy is a popular base for ski safaris, where people experience as many ski resorts as possible during their stay.
Unfortunately, Heli-skiing in France is illegal, but as St Foy is close to the Italian border, this isn’t a problem. La Rosière is just a 20-minute drive away, where a helicopter will fly you over the border for an incredible experience that should be on every skier or snowboarder’s bucket list.
The well-looked after groomed runs and exceptional off-piste ski slopes are uncrowded in this little-known gem of a ski resort, even during peak holidays. There is a big backcountry freeride terrain and the tree-skiing is amazing
Most of the accommodation options in St Foy are pretty new, which means that they are consistently good throughout the resort. However, there are some fantastic luxury accommodation options, here are some of our favourite places to stay in St Foy.
The CGH & Spa Les Fermes de Sainte-Foy is in an ideal location, right at the foot of the ski slopes. This luxury apartment block is very popular with families, as it is right next to the magic carpet on the nursery slope, making it easy for kids to get on the snow. The apartments sleep between six and ten people in absolute comfort. They are decorated in a modern style, which is in keeping with the authentic local architecture; therefore, you can expect a comfortable and cosy atmosphere.
This atmosphere is carried out throughout the building, and you first experience it in the reception area. Here you will find comfortable sofas, a pool table and a very helpful team on hand to make sure you have everything you need.
Guests have access to the gorgeous swimming pool area, complete with poolside loungers and picture windows, providing alpine views while you relax. But, if you want to keep up your exercise routine, the cardio room is also available. The excellent Spa Ô des Cimes is on-site, too, offering a range of massage treatments from a friendly and knowledgeable team.
These two chalets South Face are luxury five-bedroom self-catered chalets right in the centre of St Foy ski resort. This superb location means their guests have easy access to the lifts, bars, restaurants and shops.
Both chalets have a contemporary design but incorporate design cues from the traditional local style. They each sleep up to ten guests over four floors and five ensuite bedrooms. Unusually for French chalets, most of the bedrooms have walk-in wardrobes, so there is plenty of storage space for your luggage, making them more comfortable.
As you enter the chalets, you are welcomed with spacious open plan living-kitchen-dining areas. These are ideal spaces to relax in front of a roaring fire with a drink or two in the evenings.
Another way of relaxing in The North & South Face is in your own private hot tub. These are situated on the balconies, giving you incredible views over the valley. Both chalets can be combined to entertain up to twenty guests.
The 5 Bedroom self-catered 4**** Chalet The South face in Sainte-Foy comes with hot tub and breath taking views of Mont Pourri and the authentic village
Chalet La Vanoise is one of the best-located chalets in St Foy. This is a spacious and luxury chalet with five bedrooms and four bathrooms. It sits on the slopes, making it a ski-in-ski-out property, close to the ski lifts and ski school. The large spaces and location of Chalet La Vanoise make it very popular for family ski holidays.
The stone floors, exposed wooden beams, a roaring log fire and a cosy atmosphere give the chalet a traditional style. But this cosiness is enhanced by the underfloor heating and charming alpine character.
Even with its traditional and cosy style, Chalet La Vanoise is right up to date. The outdoor hot tub is a great place to soothe tired legs, and the balcony is an ideal spot for a drink, overlooking the nursery slopes.
Chalet Le Peak gives you a luxury service experience combined with the intimacy of a private catered chalet. This is a gorgeous contemporary chalet with a boutique Alpine style with a cosy feel to it. It comfortably sleeps up to fifteen guests in eight spacious suites with their own bathrooms spread over four floors. For relaxation, guests are treated to a large open-plan living area featuring a roaring open fire. Alternatively, they can jump into the private hot tub on the balcony or relax in the sauna or steam room. St Foy has several mobile massage therapy services, which you can book and enjoy in the chalet’s private treatment room.
Chalet Le Peak provides a catered half board service and is available to rent exclusively or on a room-by-room basis. This means you are looked after by a team of attentive chalet staff who will ensure that your visit to St Foy is as wonderful as possible.
This chalet is in an enviable location, just a stone’s throw from the main chairlift. It is a true ski-in-ski-out property with a private access path that runs right to the nursery slopes, making it ideal for families.
The ski-in ski-out 4**** CGH Residence & Spa Les Fermes de Sainte-Foy features 2 to 4 Bedroom Apartments all located in the heart of the village
EATING AND DRINKING IN SAINTE-FOY
Après and nightlife in St Foy are pretty limited due to the resort’s small size and its nature. The nightlife is pretty non-existent after dinner time, but this means you can be up for first lifts in the morning with a clear head to make the most of the snow. But if you want something lively, you can jump in a taxi to Val d’Isere or Tignes for a proper night out. However, there are few good venues to celebrate a day on the mountain. Here are some of our favourites.
Le Saint Germain
Le Saint Germain is a wine bar, but it is also a restaurant and delicatessen. Here you can enjoy top-quality wine while snacking on tapas after a day of skiing.
L’á Coeur is a relatively new bar/restaurant that serves excellent food and wine. It is also a great coffee stop if you are not ready for a beer. This is a very welcoming and family-friendly place to hang out from 10am every day.
Iceberg is a piano bar right in the heart of St Foy and is a firm favourite among locals and visitors. This is a very cosy bar with a fantastic sun terrace and exceptionally welcoming staff.
Les Brevettes is a great mountain restaurant where you can sample authentic Savoyard cuisine, but there are options from over the Italian border too. The service at Les Brevette is excellent, and it has a relaxed atmosphere. It is located at the top of the main lift in St Foy, so it is very easy to get to. When the weather is nice, the terrace is an excellent place to have a drink in the sun with fantastic views.
Chez Leon has recently been taken over by new management and has a homemade style of local food. You can expect the menu to feature mouthwatering pies, tartiflette and omelettes. But, the people are attracted to Chez Leon for its excellent gâteau and crepes.
In Resort Restaurants
Chez Marie is in the neighbouring village of Le Miroir. Here you can expect a range of delicious regional cuisine and seasonal menus. Chez Marie is well known for meat expertly grilled in the stone hearth.
Restaurant Le Monal
Restaurant Le Monal is one of St Foy’s most popular places to eat in the village. You can eat at the bar up to 4pm, but you can expect fine dining and local specialities after then. The dining room is on the first floor and has a cosy atmosphere, thanks to its open fire. It also has fantastic views to enjoy while you are eating. Le Monal has an impressive wine cellar that plays host to wine tasting evenings. You can also book the cellar for private parties and functions.
The non-skiing activities in Sainte-Foy include snowshoe walks, dog sledding, night-time sledging and a Savoyard evening in a Yurt
ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
When you visit a ski resort for the first time, you may want to see what else it has to offer. Many ski resorts, including St Foy, have plenty to do that doesn’t involve skiing or snowboarding. This is great for when you want a day off and for keeping the kids entertained. Here are some of our favourite things to do in St Foy.
Strapping on a pair of snowshoes is an excellent way of seeing the local landscape and wildlife. St Foy has a range of snowshoe trails of varying difficulties, so you can be as adventurous as you like. You can hire snowshoes in the resort and go solo or book a snowshoe guide that will take you to the best places for the conditions and your fitness level. Snowshoes give you a unique perspective of the landscape at a much more sedate pace than racing around on skis or a snowboard.
Being pulled along by a team of huskies is a super fun experience for adults and kids alike. Your guide will take you around the forest tracks that surround St Foy. Dog sledding is a superb thing to do on an afternoon off the slopes, especially for animal lovers.
A fun child-friendly après activity is night sledging. This is a great thing to do when the lifts are closed and the resort is deserted. St Foy has a dedicated children’s toboggan run, which is open during the day. But, wrapping up warm and doing it at night time makes it more fun, especially when you can head to a bar for a Vin Chad or hot chocolate to warm up with afterwards.
Savoyard Evening In A Yurt
For a unique experience while staying in St Foy, why not have a night away from the chalet. Evolution 2 is a company that provides a range of activities on and off the slopes. One of which is a snowshoe walk to a Mongolian Yurt, where you will enjoy a traditional Savoyard fondue before sleeping in your own Yurt for the night. This is a fantastic experience and a fun night for all the family. It also gives you the opportunity to wake up early and see the sunrise over the mountains.
Go Further Afield
We have already mentioned that St Foy is close to some big-name resorts, making it a great base for exploring other ski areas. But, these resorts also have other non-skiing activities. For example, Tignes and Val d’Isere have ice driving circuits, ski joering, horse riding, paragliding, and you can even try ice diving in the lake in Tignes. There are also a number of frozen waterfalls nearby, where you can try your hand at ice climbing.
Why Book your Ski Holiday to Sainte-Foy
Don’t be put off by St Foy’s small size and sleepy village atmosphere; it has plenty going for it to pitch it against the big-name local resorts. The pistes and amenities make it ideal for families, but the abundant off-piste terrain makes it a special place for more advanced skiers and snowboarders too.