Up high amid the brisk mountain of the French Alps lies a small village named Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise. Once a sleepy farming commune, this Savoie village is now a charming ski resort, one that is well renowned for the mountain’s many stunning off-piste trails. But what is life like in the capsule of Alpine history that is Sainte-Foy?
For one thing, Sainte-Foy is ideal for visitors who prefer a calmer and more relaxed experience, both on the slope and off it. Despite being located in between the far larger and busier resorts of Val-d’Isére and Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Sainte-Foy’s slopes have managed to avoid becoming overly crowded or busy during the season. The village has also remained fairly small and has kept that fantastic Alpine charm while still providing all the modern amenities you could need. The small resort is a world away from being unsuccessful however and ski season tourism to Sainte-Foy is still the lynchpin – visitor numbers may not be the highest in the world, but they are most certainly consistent.
You may be thinking that rustic Savoyard village charm is all very well and good but what are the slopes and trails like themselves? The resort’s 15 pistes have been lauded for being suitable for all abilities right down to absolute beginners. Not only this but the small size of the resort means that slopes never feel overcrowded, ideal for skiers and snowboarders looking to build their confidence. The resort’s runs are all accessible by the four main chairlifts, meaning getting around in a day is an easy and hassle-free feat.
Sainte-Foy may not be particularly challenging for highly advanced skiers or snowboarders, but it is an incredibly versatile and relaxed resort with a healthy blend of exhilaration and accessibility. The small scale of the resort, the ease of getting around, and the general difficulty level are ideal for families or casual skiers.
As an added cherry on the top, visitors can easily traverse via lifts to Paradiski and l’Espace Killy, which are much larger ski regions, offering you a whole host of additional runs and slopes to enjoy.
Living in Sainte-Foy and things to do
Being both a historic village and resort location, Sainte-Foy blends the best characteristics of these two worlds together. With accommodation being available for 2,500 visitors and the village’s population being roughly around 750 off-season, even the busiest of days won’t bring about feelings of having to make your way through bustling crowds or queues.
When it comes to things to do in Sainte-Foy away from the powder, you might think the town’s small size and quaint atmosphere means there is nothing fun to do – but appearances can most definitely be deceiving. There are a number of bars – specifically five - and restaurants in both the resort and the village, as well as luxurious spa facilities should you want to warm up a little after a long day of going off-piste. Naturally there is also a supermarket as well as a handful of smaller shops for when you’d prefer having a quiet evening in.
Sainte-Foy has also become very popular amongst snow-sports enthusiasts for off-piste skiing and snowboarding. In fact, there are guided tours available where an experienced ski instructor can take you safely down the many routes such as the exhilarating (and challenging) descent down Fogliettaz’s northern face.
Sainte-Foy snow and weather report
In terms of a yearly weather report Sainte-Foy is fairly typical for the French Alps – sitting between 5,000 and 8,500ft in elevation, average temperatures in the winter months all fall below zero degree Celsius. The region experiences a high degree of precipitation, so snowfall and rainfall are consistent year-round.
With regards to the snow itself, Sainte-Foy has a very large amount of powder snowfall, particularly on the mountain’s north-western slopes. The relatively small amount of people visiting the resort means that these snowfalls are often pristine and untracked and explains the destination’s appeal to snowboarders. The season begins in mid-December and runs all the way until mid-April. When it comes to finding a regularly updated and detailed snow report, Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise has a resort website where you can find this information with ease. For updated snow and weather reports, take a look at our Sainte-Foy resort guide here.
Investment potential in Sainte-Foy
The popularity of the ski resort has seen numerous investments in Sainte-Foy and the resort infrastructure. A notable example has been a private company taking over operation and management of the ski lifts in mid-2018. The government of Savoie still owns the resort and the lifts, but this decision has been made to improve the quality of the equipment and improve overall efficiency. The same company have also worked with other ski resorts in the French and Swiss Alps, and Sainte-Foy looks to benefit from their expertise.
In fact, 2018 has seen a whole host of investments in the resort - most notably an entirely new piste, the Camp Filluel red run. The Savoie authority have also added 10 new snowmakers to other runs, as well as updating safety equipment on various lifts. With millions of euros being spent to make the resort as good as it can possibly be, it's clear that Sainte-Foy is truly one of the jewels in the crown of the Southern French Alps.
Transport to Sainte-Foy
Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise is accessible via regular and inexpensive (roughly 40-60EUR) airport transfers from Lyon, Grenoble, and Chambery – located roughly around 170-200km from each of these destinations. Allowing around 3 to 4 hours for your journey is wise. Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise may be nestled amongst the Alps, but it is by no means hard to get as these mountain passes are all highly maintained by the Savoie government to give visitors a safe and easy voyage to the many resorts.
Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise is a gem of a resort in every way, and one that is seemingly overlooked and underappreciated. If you are a skier seeking a versatile collection of pistes, a hassle-free locale, and an abundance of natural beauty, as well as somewhere with ideal opportunities for property investment both now and for the future, then Sainte-Foy may very well be the destination for you.