It is a relaxed and unpretentious resort with access to great skiing and boarding of all levels. It's also more affordable than most of the giant resorts surrounding it, with the local lift ticket (and everything else) far cheaper than most of its neighbours.
Although more of the big operators are showing an interest in St Foy the resort so far remains remarkably unspoilt and has preserved its authentic charm and local architecture, again in contrast to many of its better known neighbours, so now is a good time to take a look.
The resort is growing quite quickly and now boasts some top quality accommodation as most of the chalet are brand new and purpose built with skiing in mind - plenty of bathrooms & storage, great views across to Mont Pourri with under floor heating, saunas, jacuzzis and most are less than a 100m to the slopes.
Sainte Foy is an excellent base for those with a car to visit some of France's classic ski areas, within a thirty minute drive, including Val d'Isere, Tignes and les Arcs as well as the cross border French/Italian region of La Rosiere/La Thuile.
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St Foy has a ski area of more than 32km (20 miles) and is served by four main chair lifts and a couple of tows. (It is not to be confused with the village below with the same name). Despite the impression those limited stats may provide, for many mixed ability groups and those with young families it provides a perfect combination of an intimate local hill, where slopes are uncrowded and lift queues almost unheard of. With the addition of a new six-seater chair in 2006-7, all lifts are high capacity chairlifts or modern magic carpets. The big bonus is the potential to enjoy several big mountain areas, excellent off piste or heliskiing (see below) all on your doorstep. Despite the small scale of the local lifts system, the vertical of over 1,000 metres is more than adequate and there's a good mix of terrain with 15 different pistes to suit all levels. It's a natural playground for snowboarders with countless drops and hits. The pistes run from 1550m to 2650m with the north-west facing slopes usually enjoying excellent snow throughout the winter. The top half of the mountain is a treeless powder bowl, whilst the lower trails cut through the forest. The Morion and Crystal Dark blacks that run down from the Col de l'Aiguille summit at 2620 metres are suitably challenging, whilst a full top to bottom descent is possible by taking a succession of reds such as L'Aiguille down to Creux de Formeian finishing up with La Savonette. It's possible to link up to the Italian valleys of Valgrisenche and Val d'Aosta just over the summit ridge that forms the border between France and Italy. Thanks to its border with the Italian valley of Aosta, Sainte Foy is one of the few places in France where heli-skiing, now illegal in the country, is still possible. The vertical skiing range is from 3500m to 1200m with landing opportunities above 3400m. This gives access to long and majestic pitches on the Ruitor glacier and the more challenging Valgrisenche valley. Prices (based on four sharing) range from 107E per person for the Miravidi tour (3060m to 1960m) to 183E for the Miravidi and Ruitor (3300m of vertical drop.)
Kid's Club "Les petits trappeurs" (the little hunters) takes children aged from three to eleven years Offers Half day without lunch (8.45 to 12 noon or 1.30 to 4.45pm), Half day with lunch (12 noon to 4.45pm), Full day without lunch (8.45 to 12 noon & 1.30 to 4.45pm), Full day with lunch (8.45am to 4.45pm). The ESF (see ski and snowboard schools) offers children's ski and boarding classes.
There are half a dozen places to eat on and at the base of the ski area, with a further dozen in the surrounding villages with some well kept gastronomic secrets only minutes away try Chez Merie for some 5 star cuisine. Les Brevettes and Chez Leon are the two altitude choices at the top of the Grand Plan chair where you can enjoy some delicious home cooked meals & crepes on the sunny terraces. La Maison a Colonnes is a traditional, cheerful establishment at the base of the lifts, it is highly regarded for its traditional Savoyarde fayre and great steaks. It is open every lunchtime and evening but you do need to reserve in advance as it is very popular. Another option is La Bergerie in the Balcons centre. There is also Le Bec de L'Ane serving Italian dishes including Pizza as well as a new restaurant opening this winter. The resort now has its own well stocked supermarket and boulangerie for your fresh baguettes and croissants which can be delivered to your door each morning!
La Pitchoule is the local bar that often has live bands and entertainment for après ski, as well as the odd jamming session form the local talent. Other than that there is no real night spots - but a trip up to Val d'Isere is only a short taxi ride away (£6 per person). Some of the handful of bars , including l'Iceberg Piano Bar, are to be found dotted around the area are lively on occasion and pleasant enough at other times however. Amongst these is the bar of the Hotel Monal in the heart of the village of St Foy, but you definitely need a car or a taxi with a teetotal driver if you fancy a pub crawl.
Boarders have a terrain park all to themselves by Cret Serru (2040m). Beyond this St Foy is a natural playground for snowboarders with countless drops and hits. The top half of the mountain is a treeless powder bowl, whilst the lower trails are cut through the forest creating endless opportunities. There is an enormous variety of easily accessible off-piste terrain but make sure you take a guide so you don't miss out on the delights of the Fogliettaz with its spectacular, non stop 1500m descent. Sainte Foy is also well known for its ski-touring routes with attainable summits of between 3000m and 3800m.