Discover the Best Kept Secret in the French Alps
The Tarentaise valley is famous for its snow sure winter resorts. It’s home to some of the skiing world’s biggest names – Val d’Isère, Tignes, Les Arcs, La Plagne and La Rosière, with its link to the Italian resort of La Thuile.
But tucked away in the middle of all these big resorts is a hidden gem. Often referred to as the best kept secret in the French Alps and ‘the jewel in the crown of the Tarentaise’, Sainte Foy Tarentaise is where the local ski instructors choose to ski on their day off. Although it is smaller than its better known neighbours, it offers plenty of terrain for all ability levels and disciplines.
It has built up a cult following amongst off-piste skiers, boarders and telemarkers who revel in the extensive powder fields where it’s still possible to make fresh tracks days after a snowfall. It is equally popular with families and beginners as the wide, sunny, quiet pistes are ideal for those just getting acquainted with the joys of skiing or boarding.
Non-skiers will find plenty to enjoy too. There are well-marked trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or simply hiking which offer breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains. One of the best trails takes you to the picturesque, tranquil summer farming hamlet of Le Monal where you can picnic gazing at the glaciers of Mont Pourri across the valley. You could also try your hand at dog-sledding with your own sled pulled by a team of huskies.
The less active can wile away the day soaking up the sun with a glass of wine or a beer on one of the mountain restaurant terraces, or be pampered at one of the two spas at Sainte Foy.
Sue and Andy Mac discovered Sainte Foy when they were looking for an escape from the rat race over 20 years ago. They stumbled across the recently opened resort whilst searching for a property to renovate and run as a boutique catered chalet-hotel. When they came across the run-down, neglected Auberge sur la Montagne in the spring of 1995, it was love at first sight. Six months of hard work later, the Auberge opened its doors for the winter season of 1995-1996.
Last November, Julian and his son Warren purchased the Auberge sur la Montagne from Andy and Sue and are looking forward to their second season running the business with the same caring ethos. “The Auberge” is ideally situated just out of Ste Foy and there is a complimentary bus that takes the guests the 7 minutes to the slope every day. For those who wish to explore the nearby resorts of Tignes and Val D’Isere, Les Arcs or La Rosiere a complimentary service will take guests to one of these resorts on three days during the week.
The business expanded along with the resort and now the manages 7 properties under Chalets sur la Montagne. Next came the luxurious Frontline Collection, with 5 ski-in, ski properties in the heart of the Ste Foy resort. More recently properties were added in the luxury Belvedere development in the picturesque village of Tignes Les Brevieres, which combines the charm of a traditional Alpine village with fast lift access into the Espace Killy. Three 6-bedroom luxury chalets and two, three-bedroom self-catered apartments are proving to be a popular addition the portfolio.
With the catered Auberge and 18 other properties you’re sure to find the perfect catered or self-catered accommodation for your winter sports holiday. A rebrand is nearly complete to bring all the properties together, and for the 2019/20 season the company will run under the name of ALL AT SKI.
Julian and Warren came from an education and hospitality background near Bath in the UK. “We have thoroughly enjoyed or change of life, and although hard work. making new friends, who are singing your praises and have already booked to come back next year, makes it all worth it. As, of course, does living in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and getting to ski or board almost every day!”