For years Sainte Foy remained a relatively unknown ski-touring area - except to a hand full of in-the–know locals who came to get away from its more renowned (and busier) neighbours of Tignes, Val d'Isère, Les Arcs and La Plagne. More recently its reputation as one of the best areas has grown and we love coming here and enjoying some of the best day tours in the French Alps.
The trips includes a climb to the summit of the Foglietta, with a full descent of the north face – one of the most iconic and rewarding ski descents in the world. Glorious scenery with views of the Archeboc and Ormelune summits and the hanging glacier of Les Balmes. We'll also travel to the Col du Lac Noir - the Italian/French border with stunning views across to the Grand Paradiso in Italy.
Après-ski is a grand affair: The Auberge sur la Montagne has a hot tub, sauna, atmospheric bar and facilities for video analysis and presentations. Usually our course members are the only guests. Our courses also usually take in some après-ski wherever they have been skiing that day.
The Tarentaise hosts some of the best off-piste skiing and touring in the world. There is a wealth of opportunity to ski powder and enjoy magnificent scenery. Within 20-25 minutes from our accommodation we can be in Tignes, Val d'Isere, La Rosiere and Les Arcs.
The ski station of Sainte Foy itself is a small but wonderful ski area with extensive untracked off-piste. Its fantastic rolling terrain, steep upper slopes and lower forests gives a fantastic environment to explore on skis.
Travel to Sainte Foy, meet with the rest of the group; your chalet hosts will welcome you to the Auberge on your arrival. Dinner will be served in that chalet around 8pm. The following evening you will meet your guides and they will take a course briefing and kit check before dinner.
The Auberge has touring equipment for rental and a ski workshop with trained technicians. Avalanche safety equipment is available to hire for those that need it.
The week starts with a warm-up day with no guiding. The chalet mini buses will be available to take you to the Sainte Foy ski area.
You will meet your guide(s) this evening who will take a course breifing and kit check before dinner. This is an oportunity to ask any questions you have related to the week.
We’ll start off with a day in Sainte Foy. We’ll use the Marquise chair to access Col Granier and the fabulous north face of the Fogliettaz, taking us down into the Mercurel valley and round to Le Crôt for a mini bus pick up at the snow line to take us back to the lift system. We’ll then go to the top of the Aiguille chair and put on skins. The climb to the summit of the Fogliettaz takes around an hour and gives us the full descent of the north face – one of the most iconic and rewarding ski descents in the world. The minibuses will meet us at the snowline again and take us back to the Auberge. A really memorable ski day to start the week off. The beers in the hot tub at the Auberge will have been well earned.
We’ll use 4 x 4’s to get as close to the snowline above Le Chenal as we can. We’ll skin up through the deserted summer farming villages. Glorious scenery as we’ll be in sight of the Archeboc and Ormelune summits and with the hanging glacier of Les Balmes just beside us. We’ll then climb steadily via the cheese farm of Les Balmes, up to the wonderfully silent Lac Noir and continue up to the Col du Lac Noir - the Italian/French border with stunning views across to the Grand Paradiso in Italy. As picnic spots go, this is hard to beat! We’ll then descend back to the Vallon du Clou and carry on down for our pick up and transport back to the Auberge. That evening we’ll look at some video footage the guides have taken during the day.
Off to Val d’Isère! A 20 minute ride in the minibuses gets us to Le Fornet, where we use the lift system to the Pissalis glacier. From the high point we ski down through the Pays Désert to the Pont de la Neige where we put on skins. From here it’s a steady climb with sensational views across into the Maurienne up to the Col des Fours, for a picnic at the top. The descent is on west and north westfacing slopes past the Fond des Fours refuge and joining into the bottom of Cugnai. We’ll finish the day making the most of our lift pass in Val d’Isère and ending with some quality après ski before returning to the Auberge.
Today we’ll take an overnight back pack and take the minibuses to the snow line above Le Crôt. We’ll put on skins and climb around Pierre Giret taking the very gently ascending track round to the Mercurel valley and Chapelle St Roch and continuing on to the Archeboc refuge. Here we can leave our overnight kit, have a refuelling brew and then head on up on 30 degree slopes towards the Italian border and the Col du Mont. The views here are stunning; both down the Valgrisenche and looking back into France. We’ll ski down on west and north nest facing slopes back to the refuge for our overnight stop.
Breakfast in the refuge. Skins on straight away and an interesting and varied climb on south facing slopes to the Montseti ridge and the Col de Montseti – probably continuing at the ridge up to the summit. The Col opens up spectacular possibilities for descents on the north facing slopes down to the Ruitor refuge where we’ll stop for a picnic lunch. We are now on the plateau below the Ruitor glacier with spectacular glacial scenery all around. The undulating descent out (IE some requires skinning up!) takes in the Chapelle St Pierre and back around to Le Crôt for a minibus pick up. The massage jets in the hot tub will be particularly welcome as will the celebratory return dinner in the Auberge.
Depart after breakfast
The price includes 5 guided days, 7 nights half-board accommodation, group airport transfers from Geneva or Chambery Airport and daily ski transfers.
The price does not include: lunches, personal insurance, equipment hire, international travel, uplift costs.
Single room occupancy in the Auberge is limited and will incur an additional charge of 50% (around £230 - £260). Contact the office for further details.
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This is an extensive list of the equipment you will need if you are coming on one of our Day Ski Touring trips
During the trip you will be staying most nights in comfortable chalet or hotel accommodation on a half board or B&B basis. You will just need to carry a day pack with your avalanche safety equipment and a few personal items.
On some of our trips you will stay 1 night out in a mountain hut. Huts in the Alps are comfortable but very basic with limited facilities – running cold water, European-style toilets and dormitory-style accommodation. All the huts provide ‘hut slippers’ – these days they are usually Crocs - and so you will not need to carry additional footwear. You will need to have a sleeping bag liner for any hut nights; huts provide a duvet or blankets plus a pillow for sleeping so its not necessary to carry a sleeping bag.
For all touring trips it is essential you ski with an all-mountain/freeride type skis, ski touring boots and ski touring bindings. If you have your own skis but they do not have ski touring bindings then you will need to rent skis. The same applies if you have downhill ski boots, you will need to rent ski touring boots.
For alpine ski touring we recommend an all-mountain/freeride touring ski that isn’t too heavy, a really lightweight ski comes at a cost to performance on the descents so are only recommended for really good off-piste skiers with a strong interest in ski touring.
There are plenty of great skis to choose from and we highly recommend skis from the following manufactures:
Dynastar Skis: www.dynastar.com
Movement Skis: www.movementskis.com
Black Crows Skis: www.blackcrows-skis.com
Trab Skis: www.skitrab.com/en-us
Scott Skis: http://www.scott-sports.com
Volkl Skis: http://www.voelkl.com
If you are planning on buying skis for ski touring and general skiing and have any questions do not hesitate to call us to discuss the options available to you.
It is essential that you have ski touring boots for all touring trips as walking up hill is much more comfortable in these types of boots with a walk mode and great flex. A dedicated touring boot or a hybrid freeride boot is best.
Avalanche airbag rucksacks can be used for touring but they are heavy, adding somewhere between 5-8kg just for an empty pack plus canister. So unless you are sure you can carry it and fit all you need in, we do not recommend you use one.
Over a long multiday tour every gram of weight is important as you have to carry and move it yourself. Carrying a heavy pack will hinder and tire all but the most experienced and fit ski tourer.
The “Safety Trilogy” - required on all our ski tours and off-piste courses.
Food and Water
We suggest you bring with you or buy in resort snack food that you can take out on the hill with you each day. Things like cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, sugary sweets or your favorite hill snacks. When you’re staying overnight in huts its best to take supplies for the days you are away. Huts do sell food but it’s expensive and sometimes stocks run low.
If you have any food allergies or dietary requirements especially if you are a Coeliac (Gluten free) or have a dairy allergy we strongly recommend you bring some food with you that you can supplement your dinners with. The huts are fairly good at providing for vegetarians but less so for other dietary needs.
You have to buy bottled water in the huts as usually any running water is non-potable. Bottled water is expensive in French and Swiss huts; you can be paying upto 12-16CHF per 1.5L bottle of water. So please ensure you budget for this cost.
France a Western European country with Paris as its capital city. The country is diverse with countryside, mountainous areas and many beautiful beaches. The country is renowned for its food and wine as well as well know places like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.
Its population is around 66 million people (2013). The highest mountain is Mont Blanc at 4,810m which is visited by many every year to climb.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.
For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
Sainte Foy is accessible by road, rail and air.
The nearest airport is Chambery with a 90 minute transfer time. Geneva and Lyon are both about 2½ hours away.
The course fee includes a group transfer to/from Geneva airport. We meet at 2pm at Geneva airport on the arrival day so you should arrive on a flight no later than 1.15pm; on the departure day, we ask you to book a flight that leaves Geneva airport no earlier than 2pm so there is time to travel to the airport.
It is also possible to travel by train to Bourg Saint Maurice (with a Eurostar direct day service from London St. Pancras to Bourg Saint Maurice on Saturdays throughout the ski season. Timetables and bookings are available at Eurostar. Bourg St Maurice is only 10km from the chalet and the train offers a viable alternative to a flight and transfer. The chalet hosts provide a twice-daily pick-up and drop-off service at the station.
Check with our office for detailed travel arrangements.
All our ski tours are led by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.
6 nights chalet-board accommodation (twin rooms) in the Auberge Sur La Montagne just outside Ste Foy. One night during the week will be spent in a high mountain hut for that authentic ski touring experience!
We have been running courses in the Auberge sur la Montagne for ten years and we and our Mountain Tracks clients love it. The best endorsement here is the number of repeat clients we have for the Auberge.
It’s ideally placed – 4 minutes from Sainte Foy; 8 minutes from access into the Tignes/Val d'Isère lift system; 10 minutes from access into the Les Arcs/ La Plagne lift system, and 25 minutes from accessing La Rosière/La Thuile. The Auberge mini buses pick us up at airports on the weekends and take us to and from where ever we choose to ski.
At the Auberge there’s a real attention to detail. Everything is on hand and in-house.
There’s a ski tech room along with 160 sets of rental equipment – and over 15 sets of skis equipped with Diamir Fritschi touring bindings along with skins and ski crampons. During our weeks at the Auberge we’ll have an informal seminar with the Auberge Ski Tech on ski tuning and servicing techniques.
There’s a state of the art outdoor hot tub with bar service (with a vast whisky selection!). There’s also a sauna.
The Auberge has a TV room, which is used by the guides for video analysis of clients' ski technique.
The best feature of the Auberge though is the quality of the food. Rarely in our travels have we come across such a high standard of cuisine. Simply superlative!
Check it all out on the Auberge website: http://auberge-montagne.com/auberge.html .
For our 2016/17 courses in Sainte Foy you will either be accommodated in the Auberge Sur La Montagne or the Great Escape Chalet in Sainte Foy resort. The weeks commencing January 2nd, 18th February, 11th & 18th March will be accommodated in the Great Escape Chalet. You still receive the same great service and food plus transport to the resorts close by. The other weeks will be based from the Auberge.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.