Battle of the ski resorts: Sainte Foy

Can charming Sainte Foy win our Battle of the Ski Resorts

Nominated by Nicola

Ease of access 7/10

Not bad. Around two-and-a-half hours from Geneva, and 90 minutes from Chambery. The closest railway station is Bourg Saint Maurice, 25 minutes away.

Sense of scale and epicness 3/10

It’s more about charm and intimacy than scale and epicness. But on a clear day there are some rather lovely views to the Mont Pourri and Aiguille Rouge peaks.

Variety and quality of the pistes 6/10

Anyone who is looking for big-resort mileage will be disappointed. 35km of pistes is – let’s face it – not very much. But then, in many respects, that’s the whole point of coming here, to escape the crowded pistes, queues and industrial scale-ness of the mega resorts. The quality of the runs (a mix of blues and reds primarily) is excellent – long (you have over 1000m vert here), fast and well-groomed. You rarely see a lift queue.

Off-piste potential 8/10

The upper slopes off the top chair are north-facing and have a steep, even pitch. The terrain off the Marquise chair is epic – a big open bowl up top, with boulders, pillows and trees below (it reminds us of the kind of freeriding you get in North America). You can take your time too – powder stashes are common long after a snowfall. It’s worth hiring a guide to ski the north face of the Foglietta, a beautiful descent taking you down to Le Miroir.

Lapability 7/10

We’ve happily lapped its upper red and un-pisted black runs for hours, each time finding an alternative route down, new feature or off-piste spot. The downside (for now) is that the three out of the four chairs are old and slow, so patience is a requisite.

On-hill grub 7/10

No unpleasant self-service restaurants, hurrah! Instead a handful of friendly, family-run places, like Les Brevettes (get there early for a seat on its sun terrace) and the new Les Marquises, which has two terraces and is run by the lovely Nadine. Good value compared to the bigger resorts up the road.

Après scene 4/10

Après what now? There is the Pitchouli bar in the main resort ‘hub’, which has live music and a pool table, and the Iceberg does karaoke some nights – but other than that, you’ll need to head up to Val d’Isère to party the night away.

Base suitability 8/10

Here you can have your cake and eat it. You get the away-from-it-all resort, yet snow-sure Tignes, Val d’Isère, Les Arcs and La Rosière are all within 10-25 minutes drive should you crave some big-resort runs mid-week.

Family friendly? 10/10

Excellent. Plenty of good ski-in ski-out self-catering options, as well as catered chalets that welcome families. There is a family-friendly British tour operator working in the resort, Première Neige, which has its own crèche, too. It also offers a private nanny service for chalets.

saintefoy-tarentaise.com

TOTAL: 60
RANK: 60

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