SMALL BUT PERFECT
The phrase “small but perfectly formed” is bandied around all the time, but came to mind when skiing up in Sainte Foy in the Tarentaise area of the French Alps the other day. It is mid January and you already know it is going to be one of those special days. It has been snowing on and off for the last couple of weeks and the weather forecast is for the sun to be bestowing us with its glorious presence all day.
The compact resort centre huddles around the front de neige where the ski school meeting points and dedicated snow garden for those new to snow are to be found. Chalets, with their snow-covered roofs, slowly rise up the mountainside creating a picture perfect scene. From here the Grand Plan ski lift departs and through the trees our days skiing adventure begins.
The skiing in Sainte Foy develops in difficulty the higher you proceed up the mountain, so we were happy to only be at the top of the first ski lift as we needed to get our legs moving before anything more challenging. The blue run “Les Charmettes” is prefect for this and slowly winds its way through the trees, quietly undulating and letting us pick our line and increase our speed as our skiing legs returned to us.
Now limbered up and feeling ready to take on something more challenging, we head straight back up the Grand Plan, immediately followed by the L’Arpettaz lift. This gain in height also allows the wonderful views of Sainte Foy to open up before us.
To the left are the mighty peaks of the Aiguille Rouge, Mont Turia and Mont Pourri, with their glaciers sneaking down from their loft heights. If you cast your gaze to the West, the beauty of the Tarentaise Valley is laid out before you from valley floor to the top of the Aiguille de la Nova as well as the nearby ski resort of La Rosière.
From the top of the L’Arpettaz chairlift we head over to the pistes served by the Marquise lift. Of the 2 areas served by the lifts at the top of the mountain, this is definitely the one for the more flowing, cruising runs.
The blue run, “La Chapelle” which traverses the mountain, is an enjoyable blast to get you to the Marquise lift. We get here and find we pretty much have the mountain to ourselves. One of the great joys of Sainte Foy is the remarkably quiet pistes and the non-existent lift queues.
For me, there are 2 of the most enjoyable pistes in the whole of French Alps to be found here, the blue run ”Grand Solliet” which has the most pleasing incline so that you can carve at full speed, or if you are starting to link your turns, the gentle and wide nature is the perfect place to progress whilst also affording the great feeling of travelling around the mountain.
Secondly, the red run “Le Toboggan” is aptly named and a roller coaster ride through open alpine slopes before descending through the trees to leave you with a wicked smile across your face.
After having a blast for a few hours on these slopes it was definitely time to refuel and let our legs rest, so we headed for the restaurant Les Marquises just above the similarly named chairlift. This is what you want on days like these, a large sun trapped terrace with a stunning panorama, lovely service and food.
This is really what a ski holiday is all about; great fun on the ski slopes, but also being spoilt when you are not clipped into your skis or snowboard. After a leisurely hour or so, though hard as it was to remove ourselves from such a splendid spot, we got ready and continued our days adventure.
The highest sector in the Sainte Foy ski area is served by the L’Aiguille lift which brings you up to 2,620m and some stunning views of the Pointe des Mines at 3,420m and Pointe des Plates des Chamois at 3,567m all towering above the du Clou valley.
The red runs that drop from below this point offer the chance to really open up and build up the speed, or practice those short turns, either way our legs were burning at the bottom of each run. A particular favourite being Creux de Foremeian, which winds its way through the trees and feels like you could be the only people left in resort!
It was now 4 o’clock and with the lifts slowly closing, and with our legs definitely needing a break, we made our way down the mountain. One of the great facets of skiing here is that no matter which piste you are on, you can always make it back to resort without needing to take another lift.
Once back at the bottom it was time for a beverage, so we propped ourselves up on the terrace at La Bergerie for a glass or two and to soak in the glow the day had created.
If you have not been to Sainte Foy before it is definitely worth consideration for your next luxury ski chalet holiday. For skiing convenience, many of our chalets here have either have a ski in ski out location or are only a very short walk away.
Chalet The Peak provides everything you could ever wish for in a luxury chalet holiday, whilst chalets such as The South Face and Grand Solliet provide differing options for group sizes and budgets. These are great options for guests looking for a fab and great value luxury chalet in a resort that is excellent to learn in and to progress your skiing or snowboarding. We also think that Sainte Foy provides some of the best outdoor hot tub views in the Alps.
If you do not think the ski area is suited to you, as you love to rack up the kilometres, then you can still come and enjoy a stay in Sainte Foy and use it as a base for a ski safari.
STILL NEED MORE CONVINCING?
If you still need anymore convincing that it is time to try a chalet holiday in Sainte Foy, please drop us an email or call us on 00 44 207 117 2085. After all, who wouldn’t want to ski or board in a ski resort that feels all your own?