Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise, sometimes described as ‘best kept secret in the Alps’, is a village in the Haute Tarentaise in Savoie. The ski resort sits high above the village at 1550m and is set on steep northwest facing slopes with superb views. Undoubtedly geared towards families, Sainte Foy certainly gets our nod for being one of the most family friendly ski resorts in the Alps.
The old village lies on the main road between Bourg St Maurice and Val d’Isère and was originally a farming community. About 4 km above is the newer ski resort of Sainte Foy (known as Ste Foy Station), which was built in the early 1990’s. The new resort, largely built in traditional Savoyard style using stone and wood is pretty and seamlessly blends the old and new. It is only a stone's throw away from the big names: Tignes, Val d’Isère and Les Arcs and so can be a great base for skiing the whole Haute Tarentaise area.
The commune of Ste Foy is made up of the main village, the ski resort and a number of small satellite villages such as La Masure and Le Miroir and over 100 tiny hamlets. This is a magical a picture postcard alpine setting.
Just 4km down the road is the ancient farming hamlet of Le Monal. This is now deserted but is a listed site due to its architectural, historical and geographical significance. It is nestled in a bowl at the mouth of the Clou valley, surrounded by the larch forest, facing the massif of Mont Pourri and it’s glaciers. The site is made up of 3 groups of chalets arranged around the St Clair chapel surrounded by 3 ponds and several mountain streams. Most of the buildings date from the 18th and 19th centuries and many still have milk stores.
These are small stone huts straddling a stream, which served as refrigerators allowing the milk to be kept fresh. Le Monal was gradually abandoned during the 20th century as people moved to find work in the towns in the valley.
The resort has four chairlifts and two magic carpets for beginners. There is a vertical drop of just over 1000 m from the highest point at the Col de l'Aiguille (2620 m). There are around 20 pistes, with a choice for all ability levels. A green trail snakes through the trees back down to the resort while the new Grande Soliet run down from the Marquise chairlift offers a long, wide, swooping blue-grade trail. Red runs vary from the rollercoaster of Les Creux de Formeian to tight, steep challenges. There is one groomed black run but another three marked off-piste areas, also graded black.