The Best Undiscovered Ski Resorts in Europe: Ste. Foy, France

Where it's more about skiing than the scene

Mar 8, 2013
Outside Magazine

Ste. Foy.    Photo: WestportWiki/Wikimedia Commons

Nestled in the Tarentaise Valley, two hours from Geneva, and straddling the French-Italian border, Ste. Foy is a small resort that boasts big backcountry. Though the original village dates back to the 18th century, the ski area is relatively new. Opened in 1999 about two miles up the road from old Ste. Foy, called “Chief Lieu” in local parlance, the resort only has four lifts, two magic carpets, and 15 groomed slopes. Ste. Foy’s appeal is lift-accessed steeps, like the Col du Granier, Le Monal, or Fogliettaz. Access Col du Granier from the top of the Marquis lift. Drop in at about 8,000 feet and ski steep, north-facing slopes to the village of Le Crot. Keep working your way down the valley through the alpine hamlet of Le Miroir and onto Ste. Foy. Grab a beer at Le Monal, a hotel/restaurant/bar popular with locals that serves cold beer, good pizza, and cheap rooms. Another draw? Some of Europe’s most famous resorts, Tignes and Val d’Isère, are only a half hour away by car, which makes Ste. Foy a great destination for those who want a variety of terrain or who might want to sample Europe’s high-profile ski areas but don’t want to sample their prices.

Recognizing Ste. Foy’s potential, Eleven Experiences, the company behind Irwin Catskiing in Crested Butte, Colorado, opened a luxury, four-bedroom chalet called Le Pelerin in neighboring Le Miroir in February. It’s a luxe pad that serves as base camp to explore the boundless backcountry and ski touring options in the valley. Acclaimed guide and one-time mayor of Crested Butte, Alan Bernholtz heads up the Le Miroir operation, which offers customized “ski safaris,” a personal sommelier, and private chef.

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