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“A VALUABLE NEW TOOL FOR HOLIDAY DECISIONS AND PROPERTY INVESTORS”
• Skimiles® measures the size of every ski resort by 10 specific factors •
• Ski Area Comfort is determined by the efficiency of the lifts, the comfort of the lifts and how much ‘elbow room’ there is on the piste •
• Snow Reliability considers the altitude, snowfall data and snowmaking coverage •
• Ski Area Value combines all these factors for one easy to recognise overall result •
Once a little known mecca for powder skiers only, Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise is a commune in Savoie in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France and was only constructed as a ski resort in 1990. Now it is a well established favourite as a snow sure and family friendly ski destination. Unlike many purpose-built resorts in France, it is easy on the eye. All the buildings are ‘chalet style’ most are clustered around or near the bottom of the slopes. This is a pleasant place to be, there is no traffic, everything is on your doorstep. The ski area, although small, has a good range of slopes for all abilities. The off-piste is highly regarded, some lift accessible and some further afield with a guide. The après-ski is quiet, it’s not that kind of place, however some excellent dining can be had in the area. There are numerous chalets – some pretty big – and apartments to rent, and a couple of good hotels.
What are the trends in the property market in Sainte Foy? To us, it is astonishingly good value given that you have some great skiing on your doorstep in the ski resorts of Val d’Isère, La Rosière and Les Arcs/Paradiski all of which are under 30 minutes drive. A small 2-3 bedroom apartment in Val d’Isère will buy you a 5+ bedroom chalet here. Property in Sainte Foy fits our other key criteria, it is a snow sure resort and access to the slopes is easy. Read our blog: Insights on the property market in Sainte Foy.
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A guide to Sainte Foy
Located right on the Italian border in the Tarentaise Valley Sainte Foy offers a nice choice to its loyal visitors: its own ‘private’ ski area, and easy access to neighbouring large ski areas. It is a charming mountain hamlet has long been the preserve of locals and off-piste enthusiasts. Sainte Foy has been developed sympathetically in recent years using traditional local materials, the resort has maintained all of its Savoyard character.
Accommodation is mainly in apartments, some magnificent contemporary chalets and beautifully restored farmhouses in which to stay during the winter and summer holidays. Most are close to the pistes or skilifts. Sainte Foy has a particularly strong reputation for being family friendly and its powder snow, and is considered good value for money. For non-skiers there is a free toboggan run, snowshoeing routes, husky sledding, snowmobiling, ice skating, paragliding, swimming and bowling. In the summer, it is a great base for hikers and a popular mountain biking venue.
The rest of the Tarentaise Valley is easy to access, the resorts of Tignes, Val d’Isère, Les Arcs, La Plagne and La Rosière are all 20-30 minutes away. Chambéry is the closest airport around one and a half hours by road. Bourg St Maurice is only 15 minutes away down in the valley, another option if travelling by train or Eurostar.
Sainte Foy Ski Area
From 1550m to an altitude of 2622m most of the slopes are snow sure and a long vertical drop can be gained from top to bottom. Although there are only four lifts, the 43km of varied slopes make this an attractive resort for any skier or snowboarder – especially as crowds are rare. The terrain ranges from gentle nursery slopes, conveniently located close to the resort centre and accommodation, to open blue and red pistes, through to more technical tree-lined pisted and off-piste descents. The resort offers large areas of safe off-piste
For families with young children and beginners there are some good nursery slopes in the village and progression on to longer blues is good, the local ski school is highly regarded. The selection of pistes for intermediates is all accessed by chairlifts and with a healthy 1,000m vertical. Day trips to some of the neighbouring giant ski areas can be as appealing to intermediate skiers as well as advanced ones, with over 1000km of easy to intermediate level runs available in the vicinity, most of it at discounted rates for Sainte Foy lift pass holders. The resort’s fame with serious skiers is based on its tree skiing and off piste powder routes. One of the best is a superb 1,700 vertical metre descent of the north face of Fogliettaz, another the long off-piste route to the deserted farming hamlet of Le Monal.
Heliskiing is possible and is a unique attraction for Sainte Foy being so close to Italy. You can land just over the border in Italy, where heliskiing is legal, to access long descents down the Ruitor Glacier and many other routes
Despite its deserved reputation as a snow sure resort, a system of snow cannons extend from the resort level at 1550m up to 2600m.
Après ski in Sainte Foy
Don’t come here expecting a big après-ski scene. The main après ski spot is La Pitchouli, which sometimes has live bands or other entertainment laid on. Yeti Boots is a popular venue in the centre of the resort with a happy hour. Most of the restaurants also have bars.
Eating Out in Sainte Foy
Sainte Foy has a number of charming bar-restaurants up and down the slopes. Higher up the mountain Les Marquises has two big terraces with appetising views. Chez Leon is open during winter and summer, specialising in Savoyard cuisine.
In the Sainte Foy resort there are nine restaurants, pretty good for a small village. The central Bergerie is traditionally styled in wood and stone and does excellent food. La Maison à Colonnes is simple and good. Chez Alison also offers simple cuisine. Le Monal is a great restaurant and wine bar with a sociable, laidback scene. In the village of Le Miroir, the renowned Chez Merie is excellent for lunch as well as dinner.
Summer in Sainte Foy
Part of the Vanoise National Park, the ‘High Tarentaise’ is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Sainte Foy is well-known for its endless walking and biking trails, with stunning views of the lower pastures, glaciers including Mont Pourri and mountain peaks, and abundant wildlife and flowers.
There are some breath-taking walks over 70km of footpaths in the area for all levels including family walks, full or half day excursions, and even hikes of several days staying in mountain huts or refuges. The views up, down and across the valley are not to be missed. A must visit destination is the historic farming hamlet of Le Monal which is just 5km and an easy walk from the resort.
Mountain bikers are attracted by the uncrowded well marked trails and varied terrain, 4 enduro specific trails, 3 cross-country loops and a small bikepark. The chairlift is open in the summer to the to access to some epic big mountain riding in a wild and spectacular setting. Mountain bike courses are available in July and August.
For keen road cyclists, this is a very good base. Le Col de l’Iseran is above Val d’Isère from which you can complete the last 14km of spectacular riding to the col itself. For the Col du Petit St Bernard above La Rosiere, set off from the resort, or From Sainte Foy main Town. For a more relaxed ascent, you can also depart from Bourg St Maurice. Cormet de Roselend is a stunning 20km cycle up through an enclosed valley from Bourg St Maurice.