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Saturday, 18 May 2013

STE-FOY-TARENTAISE: Part 3 - On the Piste

Season 2013/14 update, including news of new restaurants here.

Update 21 Sept: The Grand Plan chair out of the village is being replaced by a fast lift for 2013/14.  The new Where To Ski And Snowboard guide reports that there will also be a new restaurant at the foot of the Marquise lift.

For years, I've been looking across at Ste-Foy's ski area from Les Arcs' Villaroger pistes, without ever making the effort to get over there to see what all the fuss is about.

They say it's where the Val d'Isere instructors go on their day off.  That the ski area, though small, packs much more of a punch than a look at the map might suggest.  That the off-piste is quite simply Premier League.  And that the resort is developing in a gentle, vaguely up-market kind of a way, with a loyal band of British visitors.  I can't vouch for the Val d'Isere instructors, but all of these seemed to be true this March.

It's only about 20 minutes from Bourg-St-Maurice.  First, you pass through Ste-Foy village at 813m.  It boasts a Logis de France, and is well placed for back-door access to Les Arcs via Villaroger.  Then you take the next set of hairpins towards Val d'Isere and then turn off to the left - the road up to the resort is not bad at all.  You can read a little bit more about the commune on the modest wikipedia page.

The lift pass, at 27€, makes a change from the 46€ Les Arcs price.  Indeed, the resort gets into the Chris Gill and Dave Watts Reasonably Affordable Ski Resorts guide.

This is one of the few resorts not owned by Compagnie des Alpes, but there is some money going into the system; there will be a new detachable lift in place from the resort for 2013/14.

The runs are long and there's a good mixture of open and tree-lined skiing.  There are a couple of cosy restaurants half-way up - they get quite crowded, as indeed does the restaurant at the foot of the slopes next to the ESF office.

Back on the slopes, the La Marquise lift is the newest, and has opened up a fine area of mountain.  The prospect of the ski area expanding beyond its current 35kms now look remote - more details on the background here.

The local mairie wants to expand the area.
"Non" say environmental campaigners -
and the French Ministry agrees

For more, see the We Love 2 Ski guide - or watch the videos below, which weave on and off the pistes:





                        

For Ste-Foy Part One, which covers the debate re the resort's expansion, click here.

Part Two looks at the off-piste; more here.

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