Built in 1990, Sainte Foy was late enough to miss the vogue for concrete that dogs many other purpose-built resorts. The southwest-facing bowl instead has trad-style chalets and a few attractive restaurants and bars, set in beautiful wooded mountainscape above the access road to Val d’Isere and Tignes. With only 40km of piste, Sainte Foy is a tiny resort, but it does a couple of things so well as to assure itself a place in many (largely British) hearts. For beginners and families it is quiet, conveniently compact, and very good value. And for keen off-piste skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, it is renowned as epic.
Sainte Foy is in a famously snowy spot in the French Alps, but while its massive neighbours – Paradiski, Espace Killy and the Three Valleys – have thousands upon thousands of skiers tracking out the powder, Sainte Foy really doesn’t. There are no crowds, no queues, the liftpass is cheap, and most of all, the powder is epic. The resort knows its target market – there is easily accessible inbound off-piste, ungroomed but safe freeride areas, a slope with natural obstacles where skiers and snowboarders can build their own jumps, and tree skiing between pistes. And beyond the resort there’s no end of off-piste – local guides are poised to take you, there are group trips, and there’s heli-skiing into Italy too.