Sainte Foy Ski Lifts & Terrain

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Sainte Foy Ski Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Nearby Ski Resorts

La Rosiere
Les Arcs
Tignes
Val d'Isere

    Sainte Foy Ski Trail Map
  • Sainte Foy Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,550m – 2,622m (1,072m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    7m+
  • Lifts (6)
    4 Chairs
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Mid Dec to mid-April
    9:00am to 4:55pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 43km
    Longest run – 6 km
    Advanced - 22%
    Intermediate - 42%
    Beginner - 36%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 20/21
    Adult - €33.40
    Child - €24.60
    Child u/5yr - Free
    Sainte Foy Freeride Zones Map
  • Sainte Foy Freeride Zones
    Sainte Foy Overview Map
  • Sainte Foy Overview Map

Sainte Foy ski resort in the Tarentaise valley of the French Alps is rated incredibly highly by Powderhounds. Skiing or snowboarding Sainte Foy for the first time in fresh snow feels like finally arriving at a powder hounds utopia.

Sainte Foy Skiing & Snowboarding

With only 6 lifts in total but a respectable vertical of 1,072m, Sainte Foy may be small when compared to surrounding ’industrial’ ski resorts, but often less is more in the powder ski world! Less people = more great skiing & boarding for those fortunate enough to be here on a powder day (or any day for that matter!). Skiing here comes cheap too. Lift tickets are a shade over €33 & are TTF – Totally Tightarse Friendly.

Two of the six lifts are for beginners in the base area. Sainte Foy chairlifts extend in two stages from the base to the treeline, and then the high alpine via two more. Extensive and challenging off-piste skiing & boarding exists above the treeline & gentler, sheltered skiing below. Tree skiing is available, but some areas are protected as offsets for other resort developments.

Back-country ski access to great terrain from Sainte Foy is legendary. Several peaks over 3,000m are easily attainable from the ski lifts and tours can take one as far as the Aosta valley in Italy. Heliskiing is also available on glaciers in nearby Italy for the financially flush, but we recommend checking out the local terrain before even considering it!

Sainte Foy ski resort is a snowboard friendly destination with few if any long flat traverses & no surface lifts (T-bars et al). There is no terrain park, so those looking for a variety of man-made terrain features should apply elsewhere (Les-Arcs, Tignes et al). The major backcountry routes have long exits which will challenge most snowboarders.

Sainte Foy Skiing Highlights

The ski & snowboard highlights at Sainte-Foy-Station are many & varied. Tick off the following when at the resort.

  • Catch the first lifts of the day to the top of Marquise chair & ski the resort’s newest piste trail (number 126 -Camp Filluel) as the morning sun is hitting the spectacular Mont Blanc off in the distance.
  • Ski the full Sainte Foy vertical without stopping from Col de l'Aiguille via trails 5, 4 & 10 all the way into the village.
  • Progress through all the Sainte Foy off-piste freeride zones (Shapper’s Paradise, Morion & Crystal Dark).
  • Head up the Col de l'Aiguille & have a sun-soaked picnic at the lookout taking in the amazing views before choosing your own way down.
  • Get a guide (or not!) & explore the backcountry valleys - Vallon du Clou & Vallon de Mercuel.
  • If conditions allow, ski the extreme at Sainte Foy by hunting out the many couloirs & chutes that plunge from the Pointe de la Foglietta & Rocher de Pierre d'Arbine.
  • If the weather is poor & visibility is lacking, discover the many secret passages through the trees in the lower half of the resort.
  • Ski directly to the door of the Les Brevettes restaurant at the top of the Grand Plan chairlift & indulge in some après overlooking the Tarentaise valley & Mont Pourri glaciers from the balcony. Ski the final short vertical into the village for more après ski at the gorgeous & fun La-Maison-a-Colonnes.
  • Whilst in the Tarentaise spend a day or two checking out the other fabulous ski resorts in the region. The closest is Les Arcs via Villaroger, or La Rosiere (where one can ski to Italy at La Thuile).

Ski Lifts

The ski lifts at Sainte Foy are simple, yet effective. Only numbering six in total, the 4 chairs & two surface lifts comfortably serve the entire terrain.

In the centre of the village, two surface conveyors are utilised for novices in the cosy learn-to-ski areas either side of the Grand Plan chairlift.

The chairlifts include two modern high-speed detachables & two older fixed grips. The modern Grand Plan chair serves 250 metres of sheltered vertical & connects directly to the Arpettaz chair. Combined they will run in nearly all weather, providing 600m of skiable below tree line skiable vertical regardless of what mother nature throws down. Accessible from the top of Arpettaz is the arguably the most important chair in the resort – L’Aiguille. Its 600m vertical up to 2622m altitude opens all the inbounds & backcountry terrain of the resort. During & following storms, Aiguille is the last chair to open. Before it does start turning, head to the modern 6-seater Marquise chair. Serving 575m of vertical, it has terrain to suit everyone.

Ski Lift Passes & Tickets

The Sainte Foy lift pass is perfect for any snow lover seeking quality & affordability. It is the most affordable ski pass in the upper Tarentaise by a significant margin.

Multi-day ski passes of 6-days or more have the added benefit of including heavily discounted access to one of the surrounding ski resorts such as Tignes, La Rosiere , Les Arcs, La Plagne & Val d’Isere.

Snow & Weather

Sainte Foy is known as a Tarentaise valley snow magnet where fresh powder can lay untouched for days. The resort's north west aspect, relatively high base of 1,550m plus low crowds means snow quality persists longer. Regular easterly winds from Italy push snow into the Sainte Foy ski resort & freshen conditions when other areas are bereft. A new top to bottom snow-making system has been installed for season 2019/20 on four ski trails ensuring premium conditions at the resort from season start to finish.

Trail Map

As it is based on an actual image of the resort & not an illustrated representation (like most piste maps), the Station-Sainte-Foy ski trail map provides a good representation of the lifts, trails & inbounds terrain. Whilst it should not be utilised for serious backcountry planning, the map gives enough clues to undertake most jaunts in the backcountry Vallons safely in good weather & with the requisite skills.

On-Piste Trails

Sainte Foy is particularly good for progressing beginners & intermediates on the groomed trails. Advanced riders will have to push themselves to make the most of the on-piste terrain ..... or head off-piste!

If seeking lessons for on or off-piste skiing or snowboarding, check out the options via our Sainte Foy Ski Lessons & Guiding page.

Novices & Beginners

Novice skiers & boarders are restricted to safe learn to ski areas in the village. Progression is via the Grand Plan chair onto the relatively long, flat Plan Bols (trail #15). Aside from the lovely beginner rated trails 9 & 13, most of the blue pistes are more like wide roads and allow for safe learning & progression to bigger & better things. All trails have stunning views along their entire length (the forest lined Plan Bols excepted!)

Intermediates

Over 40% of the piste terrain is rated for intermediates, providing nearly 20km of super-schooming. The sheltered pistes along the Arpettaz chair are sensationally fast & perfectly pitched. Intermediates will love the long full vertical descents from the Col de l’Aiguille all the way into the village - a distance of 4 to 5km.

Advanced

Advanced on-piste trails are an interesting notion at Sainte Foy. Representing only a ⅕ of the piste terrain, during our visit, except for the short Crêt Serru du Haut, the runs were ungroomed & powder laden (it snowed heavily during our stay!). We assume they will groom a trail on each pitch, but who knows……? All the best runs are accessible from the Aiguille chair, but several of the longer intermediate pistes will please any advanced groomerhound that is keen on ’stepping on the gas’.

Off Piste & Freeride Terrain

Sainte Foy has abundant off-piste & freeride opportunities. Indeed, its three designated freeride zones allow for progression from relatively gentle to steep & wild. Away from the freeride zones, the broad off-piste either side of the Marquise chair provides 550m vertical of fun rolling open meadows & trees - the perfect place to start on a sunny powder day before the Aiguille chair opens. From the top of Aiguille, the freeride zones provide the next freeride progression. Shapper’s Paradise is the gentlest & easiest to access & exit via intermediate piste trails. Morion is skiers’ right of the Aiguille top station via a drop in off a cornice or more gentle entries after a and often scaly traverse. Once in, the zone a lovely broad & steep bowl where one can harvest line after line of fresh tracks by traversing further & further along the head of the bowl. The last zone, Dark Crystal, is skier’s left of the Aiguille chair. It contains all sorts of options & permutations with serious steeps interspersed with trees & bowls. The one disadvantage (or not!) is the zone’s exits are below the bottom station of the Aiguille chair, so descents must continue to the Arpettaz chair.

See here for the Sainte Foy Freeride Zones Map.

Below the alpine zone, the trees provide some opportunities for off-piste lines, particularly during storms. They can be quite complex, so reconnaissance & care should be taken in the first instance!

Sainte Foy Backcountry

A major feature of Sainte Foy is its easily accessible backcountry routes. The classic Vallon du Clou & Vallon de Mercuel descents are only a hint of the full backcountry & ski touring opportunities from the resort. The 2,622m elevation of the L’Aiguille chairlift top station provides the perfect starting point for these (& other) awesome French Alps ski adventures.

See here for the Sainte Foy Terrain Overview Map.

Vallon du Clou

The ski down the Vallon du Clou can be as gentle or as steep as one wants. A great introduction to the Sainte Foy backcountry, from the Col de l'Aiguille (top of the L’Aiguille chair), the terrain into the historic (& protected) hamlet of Le Monal is reasonably gentle & delightfully quiet. It is possible to hike /skin higher up the alpine ridge to access steeper slopes into the Vallon & Le Monal. From the hamlet a long, flattish traverse will get you back into Sainte Foy Station village Snowboarders may not enjoy it! The terrain is south-facing so gets loads of sunshine which can impact snow & avalanche conditions. In good snow it is possible to head all the way down into the valley, hitting the road to Tignes-Val d’Isere, but it requires some transport co-ordination to return to the resort!

Vallon de Mercuel

A more challenging backcountry prospect is the long descent of the Vallon de Mercuel. The route starts with a 45min skin from the top of Aiguille chairlift to the 2,930m summit of Pointe de la Foglietta. From the summit various routes lead deep into the north-aspect valley below. Snow quality is usually extraordinary. Skiable verticals of around 1,700m are possible to the valley village of Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise, but more usually to the higher La Masure(Mazure)-Le Miroir hamlets. Return is then via the ski-bus or a taxi back up to the resort. The descent can take a full hour, depending on the skills of the group & snow conditions. A shorter descent can be undertaken via the Marquise chair, then up & over the 2,510m Col Granier.

Pointe de la Foglietta

The summit ridge of the Pointe de la Foglietta dominates the ski area. In safe snow conditions, numerous steep couloirs can be skied back into the resort. Care should be taken!

As with all backcountry & off-piste skiing & boarding, if in any doubt get a guide via our Sainte Foy Ski Lessons & Guiding page.