accueil le chalet les sentiers la cuisine la station les extras vos hôtes prix réserver arriver faq liens hiver
A traduire tres bientot!
Foy? Never heard of it!
Sainte Foy is a small resort which has developed something of a cult following among skiers and snowboarders looking for untracked off-piste terrain or just fed-up with the lift queues and crowds of the more famous resorts in the Tarentaise valley. On a bike, it's the same. Endless singletrack and you'll be unlikely to see another rider all week. The resort is just off the road between Bourg Saint Maurice and Val d'Isere. The village of Sainte Foy has a couple of excellent restaurants and bars while the resort itself, a few kilometers up the mountain, has been built in the traditional style and is home to 4 chairlifts, a few bars and restaurants and enough chalets to welcome about 2500 visitors.
In short, superb. The best trails are, as always, the unmarked ones. There are dozens of these, many of which run from resort height or just above back down to the main village, meaning you can step out the chalet door and ride downhill right away on great trails. During July & August, the resort operates a 4x4 shuttle service climbing as high as the top of the second chairlift at 2,100m. Better yet, this service also runs pick-ups from way down in the valley, giving us a massive 1300m vertical drop to play with (that's like riding from the summit of Ben Nevis back to Fort William!). All of the riding in Sainte Foy is on great singletrack, most of it fast and flowing but with a good sprinkling of technical rocky sections to keep you honest. Beyond Sainte Foy, we use our own van and trailer to explore the rest of the Tarentaise Valley. Click here for more info on the mountain bike trails in Sainte Foy, Les Arcs and the rest of the valley.
From Sainte Foy, it's less than 30 minutes drive to Les Arcs, La Rosiere, Tignes or Val d'Isere. We can use the lift systems at any of these resorts to explore the terrain on offer at each of them. Tignes has several purpose-built downhill trails, which range from challenging to downright gnarly. Les Arcs also has DH trails, but also contains some of the best natural singletrack anywhere, most of it way beyond the marked bike trails. We also use the van to climb to high altitudes on the road passes and ride wild singletrack deep in the backcountry.
There are several ways to get here. By plane, the easiest airport to fly to in the summer is Geneva, about a 2.5hr transfer away. We run our own transfer mini-bus from Geneva every Saturday, this is included in your holiday price. See here for more details. To drive takes around 10hrs from Calais and it's a pretty easy cruise on the motorway most of the way down. Click here for directions. The alternative way of getting here is by train. If you live in or near London, this can be a great way to get to the Tarentaise valley. For example, you could get on the Eurostar on a Friday evening, change to a sleeper train in Paris and arrive in Bourg St Maurice at 7:30 on Saturday morning. This way, you get an extra day's riding in. Repeat the process on the way back and all of a sudden you've changed a weeks trip from 6 days riding when travelling by plane to 8 days riding when taking the train! Pricing this up for a weekend in June costs around £190 return (£99 for the Eurostar and €112 for the trains between Paris and Bourg Saint Maurice), almost certainly cheaper than a flight + bike bag charges + airport transfer.
We recommend an all-round full-sus bike with around 125mm of travel. Stevo rides a Santa Cruz Heckler and Iona rides a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, both of which are right at home here. That said, we'll get you to the trails that you want to ride and therefore suit the bike you want to ride. There's loads of trails which are a lot of fun on a decent hardtail. Equally, there's plenty of stuff to get crazy on with a full-on DH bike.
I make any changes to my bike for riding in the Alps?
We strongly recommend that you bring your own bike. You'll be doing some challenging riding and it's always best to be used to the bike you're on and be confident in its abilities (and its limits!). However, it is also possible to hire bikes in the area and we can arrange this if you need. See our extras page for details. Bike hire is expensive and the quality isn't always what we'd like it to be (particularly later in the season when bikes have taken a pounding) so we'd always encourage you to bring your own bike. If it isn't up to the job, maybe this is just the excuse you needed for an upgrade? ;-)
There's no such thing as a typical day here! ;-) Seriously, there's 3 types of riding day which you're likely to encounter here. The simplest is a day spent riding the local trails at Sainte Foy. When the lift is running, you'll use the chairlift to gain a bit of height, then do a couple of quick laps before making the descent of over 800m vertical down to Sainte Foy village or beyond. Grab some lunch at a restaurant down there, then pile into the van to shuttle back up to the resort and do it all again. Other days, we'll load up the van first thing and head out to Tignes, Les Arcs or La Rosiere to use the lift systems there to hit up sweet singletrack or gnarly DH courses, depending on what you're in the mood for. Finally, we might take the van and head out on one of the roads leading out of the valley to pick up a trail head. With or without further help from the van, we'll clock up miles and miles of empty singletrack before arriving back at the valley floor, knackered, where the van will do its stuff again to get us back to the chalet for a cool beer. And cake. Lots of cake.
Yes! We charge a single supplement if you want to stay in one of our large en-suite double bedrooms, but we also have a mezzanine level and a set of bunks for which we don't charge any supplement at all.
Here's a quick guide:
Generally, we reckon all these things are personal choices and that you know yourself if you're going to be pushing hard enough to need the extra protection. We wear leg/arm pads all the time. They strap easily onto our packs for the rare occasions when we do any climbing and it only takes a few seconds to put them on for the descents. We wear body armour and full-facers if we're going for a non-stop charlift-assisted DH day in Tignes or Les Arcs. A few things that are worth bearing in mind as you make your own decision:
In short, a normal helmet and some decent (preferably full-finger) gloves are the absolute minimum for riding with us. We strongly recommend knee/shin and forearm/elbow pads. Full-face helmets offer a significant extra level of protection and there really isn't any penalty to using them on most of our rides. Full armour is good for DH days, overkill otherwise.
Generally, the weather out here is great in summer. It's pretty normal for temperatures to reach 30°C in Bourg Saint Maurice, making for a very pleasant 20-25°C in Sainte Foy. We're a good bit further south than some of the other famous biking resorts in the Alps (such as Morzine or Les Gets) and it makes a difference to the weather. Rain is pretty rare and we generally expect to spend most of our days riding dusty trails under blue skies. Early in the summer, the heat build-up and snow-melt will often combine to give a short-lived (but violent!) early-evening thunderstorm so we plan our days to start and finish early so we don't get caught out. When a big storm rolls through, it can bring slightly longer spells of rain and a drop in temperatures which can put snow on the highest peaks but this is pretty rare. During the summer 2008 season, we didn't miss any full days of riding at all due to the weather and I can only recall cutting short 2 days. The trails around Sainte Foy mostly have thick pine-needle surfaces so they drain very quickly and mud is never a problem. Summer 2009 was a scorcher, with very little rain and 35°C temperatures down in the valley for weeks on end.
For summer 2010,
Stevo will hold the following qualifications:
This combination of qualifications (IML + SMBLA) makes Stevo 100% fully-qualified to guide in France. Iona currently holds the SMBL, Summer ML and is part-way through the IML. This means that she can claim "aspirant" IML status and guide legally under the supervision of a fully-qualified IML and both of us are therefore fully-legal to work in France.
There are many UK-based guides working in France who are not fully-qualified. We know, we've been there, so we're not going to get too preachy about it! The simple facts are these: if you don't hold either a French qualification or an IML, then it's illegal for you to work in France, period. No grey areas or waffly disclaimers can get round this. SMBL on its own is not enough. It is theoretically possible to get professional indemnity insurance as an SMBL holder working in France. However, this is a very grey area which has not been properly put to the test. Realistically, we don't think an insurance company would pay out on a professional indemnity claim if the policy-holder could be demonstrated to have been working illegaly. For you, this means that if you were to get seriously injured as a result of your guide's mistake, you wouldn't get any compensation (more accurately, you'd get whatever compensation a bike guide could afford, which isn't much!). Sticking with insurance, it's an increasing trend for some holiday insurance companies to only offer cover to people who are riding with a guide. Again, if your guide is illegal, your cover may be invalidated. Most decent policies don't have this limitation for mountain biking, but some do. Finally, the French authorities have clamped-down on illegal guides in some areas, with guides being arrested in front of their clients and dragged off the trails (see here). Why take the chance?