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.
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.
Pistes Total: 30 km
2 Magic Carpets
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.
See Practical Information below for accommodation suggestions.
Why go skiing in Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise ?
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.
SnowboardingOff-piste potential but no snowpark or freestyle fun.
Cross-Country SkiingFour routes through the forest with an easy itinerary for beginners.
9km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails
- Calm, unpressured experience.
- Skiing on the village ski slopes is free for all beginners, adults and children.
- TRIBU ski pass offers 5% discount for the purchase of 4 or more packages for 6/7 days, any ages.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Les Fermes de Sainte Foy
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.)
Le Ruitor in Sainte Foy is perfectly located in a quiet neighbourhood, 600m from the lifts and offering quite superb views of the valley and resort. There is a free shuttle bus service leaving from outside the residence to take you to the lifts.
Le Ruitor has 49 self-catering ski apartments, combining a traditional chalet structure with contemporary standards of comfort. There’s free access to the leisure centre of the Ruitor residence including indoor heated swimming pool with saunas, steam room and fitness room. You can also select from a range of massages and beauty treatments at the Ô des Cîmes Spa (payable).
The residence has a lounge area with open fireplace, Wi-Fi (free for first device), an underground garage (payable €65/week, state at time of booking, max height 1.80m), laundry room (payable), luggage room, ski lockers with heated boot rack. A bread delivery service is available (payable).
Bookings with award-winning Alpine specialists Peak Retreats at Le Ruitor.