Skiers passing mountain chalet beside piste at Sainte Foy Tarentaise, French Alps.

Sainte-Foy Tarentaise

Haute-Tarentaise, Savoie, French Alps

Tucked away discretely in the Tarentaise valley close to Les Arcs, La Rosière, Tignes and Val d’Isère.

The Sainte-Foy Tarentaise ski area should suit intermediates who value quality rather than quantity.

Off-piste potential is near-limitless, and a 6-day pass brings cut-rate skiing in neighbouring resorts.

Ski area at Sainte Foy Tarentaise, French Alps, after fresh snow.

The Ski Area

A glance at the piste map suggests that Sainte-Foy’s groomed terrain is not exactly extensive, but as the many loyal devotees (including pros) which this place attracts will tell you, there’s huge off-piste potential plus a highly-impressive 1070m vertical drop on offer. That means there’s some serious skiing to be done, aided by quality grooming and powerful, high-speed lifts.

Another significant plus-point is the fact that lower return runs to the village pass through mature pine-forests, which not only offer shelter should visibility become marginal, but also some enjoyable cruising detours, should you feel the need to get back to nature.

The other factor which will haunt you is the dramatic setting high above the Haute-Tarentaise Valley, with glimpses of Les Arcs and La Rosière. If you’re tempted you can ski them for a day at a discount with your six-day Sainte-Foy lift-pass, along with Tignes and Val d’Isère.

For family skiers, however, one of Sainte-Foy’s most compelling attractions is undoubtedly its ability to offer a super-convenient, virtually doorstep skiing experience.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1550m - 2620m
Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise
Pistes Total:
30 km
Chart of pistes at Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise
2 Green
7 Blue
11 Red
4 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 6
2 Magic Carpets
4 Chairlifts

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Skiers walking through Sainte Foy Tarentaise ski village, French Alps.

The Ski Village

Sainte-Foy’s accommodation and services were developed around a super-safe novice area served by a gentle ’magic carpet’ lift, plus the Grand Plan chairlift (upgraded in 2013 to a high-speed four-seater) which is the point of departure for all skiers heading up the mountain.

Things have grown in recent years, but in a chalet style which complements the existing, much older architecture of the original farming village. The venerable La Maison à Colonnes, for example, has been here since around 1755, having switched roles along the way from farmhouse to popular restaurant.

Development has now shifted from the original Bon Conseil village to an area a little further north known as La Bataillette, where things are currently less convenient in terms of access to the skiing. A return piste has already been created, however, along with bar, restaurant, mini-market and pharmacy, so we’d imagine that it can’t be too much longer before it gets a dedicated lift, too.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm

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Skiers and snowboarders beside ski lift at Sainte Foy Tarentaise, French Alps.

Best For

Sainte-Foy Tarentaise was once known mainly to hardcore off-piste skiers, but they’ve since been joined by increasing numbers of ordinary families and intermediates simply looking for a convenient, quality experience with the reassurance of premium, mostly self-catered accommodation.

For toddlers the ESF Ski School has a cheerful Piou-Piou Club where they can have fun while getting around on skis. The next stage is a gentle novice area overlooked by apartments which allow family and friends to keep a discrete eye on progress. That makes it a solid choice for families.

Intermediates can string together a choice of long, blue-graded descents from the top of the La Marquise chairlift (2425m) back to where they started at 1515m – almost 1000m of vertical drop. Ski the reds, though, and you get the full 1070m of vertical, in a more bracing descent.

Anyone self-catering will appreciate the comparatively realistic pricing in the two mini-markets, which are part of the French U chain, plus the compact layout of both villages. Heading out to shop after a day’s skiing won’t feel like too much of a slog here.

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Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery

Snowboarding

Off-piste potential but no snowpark or freestyle fun.


Cross-Country Skiing

Four routes through the forest with an easy itinerary for beginners.
9km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Calm, unpressured experience.
  • Terrain for timid beginners up to adventurous free-riders.
  • Dedicated natural slopes for skiers to try out off-piste and have fun in an untouched landscape of snow and forest.
  • Expanding range of premium serviced accommodation.
  • Six-day+ lift pass offers reduced rate days skiing in nearby Les Arcs, Tignes, Val d’Isère or La Rosiere.
  • Non-skiers will discover scenic snow-shoe walks plus hotel fitness centre/spa.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • Not quite enough terrain to keep intermediates entertained for a week.
  • Very British resort with English spoken everywhere - could be a bonus for some.
  • January days can be very cold here, and some pistes are in shade until late morning.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • If self-catering, stock up on supplies in Bourg Saint Maurice where there's a choice of big supermarkets and a Lidl.
  • Relax! There's plenty of time to explore everywhere so don't be worried about a late start, especially in January when the sun doesn't hit the slopes until mid-morning.
Jump to Insight

Jump to Insight

Practical Information

Getting there

By car
Autoroute A43 Lyon / Albertville, then N90 to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Follow the signs to Sainte-Foy Tarentaise via Sèez on the RD1090. The ski station is signed to the left a little way after the village of Sainte-Foy.

For Dover-Calais ferry travel, other cross-channel routes, offers and bookings visit P&O Ferries

By air
Snowjet offers flights to the nearest airport at Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc. Transfers are just 1½ hours from Chambery. Lyon, Geneva, Grenoble and Turin are all within 3 hours.

Visit for the best range of ski transfer destinations from airports and main train stations.

By train
Ski trains run from late December to early April and take you direct into Bourg Saint Maurice.

See Altibus for details of connections and to book your journey.

Book your TGV fast train from Paris or Eurostar's direct ski train to the French Alps with Voyages SNCF UK.


Things to do

Snowshoe Walks


Two walkers in snowy landscape near Sainte Foy Tarentaise, Savoie, French Alps.

A snowshoe walk with a local guide is a memorable experience. From Sainte-Foy you can walk through silent forests to the historic mountain hamlet of Le Monal, with magnificent views of the Mont Pourri glaciers along the way.


Visit the Tourist Office for details of guided walks and other self-guided itineraries.




Heliski Outings


Bureau des Guides de Sainte Foy
Tel:+33(0)6 14 62 90 24
Guide price from 265€/pers min. 4 people. Includes heliski, support, safety equipment.


It’s because Sainte-Foy is close to the Italian border that heliski outings are possible. For expert skiers only, there’s a choice of exclusive guided itineraries on the slopes of the Ruitor glacier.




Off-Piste Training


Adventure Back Country - ESF
Tel:+33(0)4 79 06 96 76
Prices from 120€/pers.


Evolution 2 Sainte Foy
Tel:+33(0)6 46 80 11 13
Guide price from 165€/pers.


Sainte Foy is known for its off-piste, so why not learn the skills to enjoy some of the action. Mini training sessions for beginner adults are offered to taste off-piste in total safety.




Where to stay

Tried and testedLes Fermes de Sainte Foy

73640 Sainte-Foy

Skiers returning to slopeside apartments at Sainte Foy Tarentaise, Savoie, French Alps.

Spacious and well equipped, these apartments have stood the test of time and still impeccably maintained. Situated at the foot of the slopes and comprising 74 apartments within 5 traditional style chalets, the facilities include heated indoor pool, sauna, spa and beauty centre.
Furnished and fitted to a high standard, these self-catering apartments have direct access to the slopes and the compact village. Convenient lift access to the apartments from the garage makes it easy to transfer your luggage. Our apartment overlooked the Tarentaise valley, which is stunning, but you might prefer views of the slopes and the village. English TV with BBC World, BBC 1 and 2 available in addition to French and other language TV news channels.

We stayed with Peak Retreats at Les Fermes de Sainte Foy. 7 nights self-catered from £213pp, including Eurotunnel crossing with FlexiPlus upgrade. (Subject to availability, T&Cs apply. Ski packs, insurance and transfers also bookable. Holidays are fully ABTA bonded.)


Where to Eat

Les Marquises

On the slope near the chairlift of Marquises
73640 Sainte-Foy
Tel : +33 (0)7 63 79 08 08

Overview of Les Marquises mountain restaurant at Sainte Foy Tarentaise, showing panoramic views.

Slopeside restaurant with panoramic views in the Marquises sector. There’s a snack chalet behind the restaurant for a quick bite to eat or a hot drink.


Eden’s Kitchen

The White Eden
73640 Sainte-Foy Tarentaise
Tel: +33(0)4 57 37 24 57

Restaurant in the Bonconseil area of the village with access from the return piste above the Grand Plan chairlift. The restaurant serves organic and gourmet dishes based on local produce on the terrace which has spectacular views.


Chez Mérie

Le Miroir
Tel:+33(0)4 79 06 90 16

A longstanding favourite with a reputation for local, hearty flavours and sizeable portions. Accessible to off-piste skiers for a lunchtime rendez-vous or you can make the short drive from Sainte-Foy. Advance booking is essential for this popular destination.


La Maison à Colonnes

73640 Sainte-Foy Tarentaise
Tel: +33(0)4 79 06 94 80

Traditional farmhouse built in local style and dating from 1755, this popular restaurant stands in the centre of the ski station and offers hungry skiers and evening diners a selection of Savoyard dishes.


Insight: Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise

Early morning skiers in Sainte Foy Tarentaise, Savoie, French Alps.

Insight: Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise

Our first visit to Sainte-Foy Tarentaise coincided with one of the longest late-season mild spells we’d seen in the Alps, giving us no chance of discovering its true potential. This time things are very different. We roll through Bourg Saint-Maurice in near-blizzard conditions in mid-January, at the tail-end of an encouraging two-day dump which has covered the entire valley floor. What’s more, temperatures are set to remain well below freezing, so we take it easy during the deceptively-gentle climb through Séez, Sainte-Foy village and La Thuile, where we leave behind traffic bound for Tignes and Val d’Isère and begin the more serious climb up the mountainside to the ski station.

As we clock up the hairpin turns we’re glad of our snow tyres, as even our 4×4 occasionally struggles for grip on soft, freshly-fallen snow. In the end we make it without drama, check into our accommodation at CGH Les Fermes de Sainte Foy and leave the car in a secure underground garage. After transfering skis and baggage we’re finally installed in our apartment and gazing through now gently-falling snow to the mountainside across the Haute Tarentaise valley. It’s good to be back – and it looks like the timing is perfect.


Overview of Sainte-Foy Tarentaise ski village from chairlift, Savoie, French Alps.

The Bon Conseil area of Sainte-Foy Tarentaise ski village from the Grand Plan chairlift.

Into the freezer

Next morning, beneath a steely blue sky, the views from our balcony seem even more awe-inspiring. In the distance to our right La Rosière is also bathed in sunlight, although it will be some time before the first rays reach Villaroger, clearly visible across the deep valley.

It’s seriously cold out there, as we discover when we leave our warm apartment, step out onto the snow and make our way past the novice area around which the village was originally developed. Beyond lies the Grand Plan chairlift, whose high-speed haul takes us up between tall pine and larch forest, while the windchill factor generated by the speed of our progress takes our breath away. At the top the temperature is currently nudging -13C, which at least promises great snow quality.

Higher being sunnier, we ski off for a quick transfer to the nearby Arpettaz chair for a shorter but just as speedy second-stage haul, during which we gaze around us in awe at the frozen scenery. By the time we ski off we’ve had more than enough of glacial lift rides, so pass for now on taking the third-stage lift up to 2620m Col de l’Aiguille.

Instead we thaw our leg muscles by skiing La Chapelle, a blue-graded cruise which begins above the tree-line before making a wayward swoop through wide woodland glades which drops us at the foot of another high-speed chairlift. It sounds tame, but moving silently among the previous days’ snow still frozen to the trees creates the kind of near-mystical experience which will come to dominate our impressions of Sainte-Foy Tarentaise.

Skier on tree-lined piste at Sainte-Foy Tarentaise, Savoie, French Alps.

Almost 1000m of vertical drop

Marquise is Saint-Foy’s northernmost lift and currently accesses just one pisted run – the blue graded Grand Solliet – although there are plans to add a red which will follow a detour already popular with off-piste skiers.

In the meantime, the fact that the lift is another high-speed, high-capacity unit tells you that the blue piste in question must offer something special, and it doesn’t disappoint. Intermediates can cruise non-stop from a respectable 2425m all the way down to the ski village at 1550m – almost 1000m of vertical drop. Alternatively, there’s the option of branching off early onto reds to take steeper, more direct routes.

We start with the Grand Solliet blue, and soon pass three starting points for red pistes, the second of which – Foglietta – offers a red taster and a more direct route to the base of the lift. The blue, though, serves up panoramic views of the valley (and time to enjoy them) before dropping among the remaining tree-lined sections. There’s useful shelter here during times of poor visibility, and a refreshing back-to-nature alternative to more managed ski areas elsewhere.

Grand Solliet ends at the base of the Marquise lift, but the cruise continues, via the surprisingly remote-feeling Plan Bois or the more direct Les Charmettes.

Skier on piste above Sainte-Foy Tarentaise, Savoie, French Alps.

Scenic skiing, plus some steeps

Having tried both, we head back up to ski the reds, our favourite being Toboggan, for the sheer variety it packs in before it eventually rejoins the blue. Taking Liaison Plan des Veaux, on the other hand, offers longer, steeper drops with just a brief blue section before we reach La Savonnette for a final run back to the village.

When the sun finally reaches the Aiguille sector we ride the six-seater chair up to the Col, gateway to much of the off-piste terrain which for years gave Sainte-Foy Tarentaise genuine cult status. A popular choice is a gentle run over to the historic mountain village of Le Monal (the local ESF ski instructors offer accompanied group tours), although a further climb to the Col de la Foglietta or the Rocher de Pierre d’Arbine opens up many other possibilities for those who have return transport arranged.

Skier returning to Sainte-Foy Tarentaise, Savoie, French Alps.

Sainte-Foy Tarentaise: parting thoughts

Stick closer to home on to Saint-Foy’s own terrain, however, and you have some bracing red-graded descents with the option of sampling three unpisted black ‘Natur’ excursions – Morion, Shapper’s Paradise and Crystal Dark. It’s an interesting idea which offers those who normally stick to groomed terrain a safe, patrolled introduction to off-piste skiing.

Parting thoughts? Well, the obvious one is that the extent of the pisted terrain in Sainte-Foy Tarentaise may look modest on the piste-map, but there’s some serious vertical drop here, on a choice of surprisingly long runs. The other impression is of skiing against the vast backdrop of the Tarentaise valley, before heading down among beautiful (and often wide) tree-lined runs above the village. We’ll be back.MountainPassions heart icon

Young children's ESF ski school area at Sainte-Foy Tarentaise, Savoie, French Alps.