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Sainte Foy Tarentaise 2016-2017

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thought I might as well kick things off!

On Tuesday 6th, I skinned up all the way to the top of the resort and further on up the ridge almost to the top of the Fogliettaz (1200m of D+, phew!). It was good to get a proper picture of what's going on up there.

We actually drove up to the top of the 1st lift via the green run. Yeah, yeah, I know it's blue now and it has an actual name. It's "the green run" and always will be. Unloaded just below the restaurants and hiked up slightly to put skins on at about 1850m. Skinned up via Combes and Aiguille. Carried on along the ridge and right up to the Cross. Rode the Cross couloir (we went skiers' left and abseiled the ice fall just for shits and giggles). We then rode down via Plan des Veaux and Combes.

So what was the snow like? Well, I have to say the Cross was damn good! Untouched fresh with a good dose of givre on it made for some fluffy turns. Plan des Veaux piste was excellent, groomed and grippy. Combes was pretty icy (snow cannons have been working overtime). We would have gone down Arpettaz, but they were grooming it with a cable on the snowcat so it was out of bounds. Arpettaz would have been rideable back to the Brevettes, more or less. On Combes, we had to walk from the junction where you can cut right on to Arpettaz or left over to Creux de Formeian. Skinning up Aiguille, the piste was also in very good nick, groomed and ready to ride.

So what's it looking like for opening up? First of all, that's still nearly 2 weeks away, so who knows? Right now, the top half of the mountain (from about 2000m upwards) is actually in very good condtion. The heavy snow that fell in November is still there and the pistes are groomed and ready to ride. Cover off-piste is good (we charged the Cross and didn't hit a thing). Lower down, it's obviously a very different story. The natural snow is pretty-much all gone, as hard as that might have been to believe 3 weeks ago. However, the cannons and snow-cats have been working hard. My view (backed-up by some behind-the-scenes intel) is that the home runs will open on artificial snow. So for opening, we're likely to have Aiguille, Combe des Veux, Grande Solliet, Fogliettaz and the top halves of Arpettaz and Combes in good nick on natural snow. Artificial snow will allow Arpettaz and Combes to be completed (maybe Chapel too) and Savinnaz and the nursery slopes to allow a return to resort. Creux de Formeian, Charmettes, Grand Plan and Cret Seru du Bas are non-starters until we get some significant natural snow.

There is a real, hard snow-line at around 2000m where you go from no snow at all to plenty of snow. Pretty weird!

The upper pistes (Aiguille, etc.) are in MUCH better condition than this time last year. The difference is night and day, don't be in any doubt on that. The lower pistes, well, there's nothing, nil, niente, but the cannons should get them skiable.

The Cross (not me in the pic, I'd never be seen in sunglasses and a helmet....):


Riding The Cross:


I've got a bunch more photos showing the state of the pistes, etc. will try to get them uploaded when I get a minute.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks or the update , look forward to more photos .
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Fantastic write up, thank you Very Happy
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A few more pics here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153920582946899.1073741894.16428646898&type=1&l=369e0170b8
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Little update - resort opened as planned, with pretty-much the set of pistes I expected. Slight changes are that Charmettes is open, but Plan des Veaux is not. Not sure why, looks very skiable and would be good to have open.

Piste conditions for the moment are pretty good, surprisingly! Fast, grippy snow for the most part, the odd icy patch. Weather has mostly been kind in terms of freeze/thaw for now. Top half of the moment is really good (on piste!), bottom half pistes are narrow in places but overall they've done a great job with the cannons and grooming.

Worth pointing out that this includes a whole load of new cannons which went in this summer to add snow-making to the mid section of the Marquise and the infamous spot where last year's heli-lift occured! The Aiguille piste has also been significantly widened at the top hairpin (by means of a cantilevered platform) which is also a nice touch.
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thanks for updates , looking at st foy for a base for some trantaise touring in feb , so look forward to seeing how the season progresses Cool
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Plan des Veaux opened today. Down to Chapel only, with a big chicane in place on Chapel to avoid carnage at the junction (I'd have put it on PdV personally....). The link from PdV over to the bottom of the Aiguille chair is skiable but pretty sketchy (and officially closed).

Parts of Creux de Formeian now also open.

Snow still mostly pretty decent! I even did a couple of off-piste laps in the bowl under the 3rd lift. Some acceptable wind-blown snow in the hollows!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
A short update from a brief foray today. Didn't ski much on piste other than coming back down from the Aiguille in the afternoon but what pistes we skied were in good shape, though with the usual hazards of people skiing way too fast for their skill level on what is grippy, but very firm snow (if you lose it at speed you are going to slide a long way...).

We went for a bit of a skin 'loop' on the sunny side of the Foglietta - a bit bony in places, but the occasional nice patch of wind-filled softness and the odd turn or two of transformed spring snow:



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It's banging down in st foy. Pity we leave on Saturday, never mind hopefully we get some nice fresh tomorrow, if any lifts run...there was a total power cut for about an hour this evening across the whole resort
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That's great news!! Heading there on the 21st and have gone from serious concern to serious excitement! Hope they get the power back up for you - have a great last day
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Suffice to say the past couple of days have been pretty rad....





Epic conditions, the odd rock still an issue (especially as the snow has remained so cold and light), but that's being picky. It is awesome out there!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Great photos Stevomcd, it looks superb. I wish we were there now but still have 6 weeks to wait till we drive down again and I can't wait, although I'll need those 6 weeks to get anything like ski fit. I was wondering whether there's anything new happening in town - any new restaurants or shops this season? I hope the old favourites are still in good form i.e. Maison a Colonnes, La Bergerie, L'Apres? We enjoyed the tapas place last year too, nice atmosphere and good wine. We always had to avoid La Coeur as the posted menu doesn't seem to cater for veggies, but maybe we need to take a proper look? Mrs Loganberry likes to plan her dining well in advance!

I hope that the snow is in as good nick then as it looks now.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
There's a new night-life orientated bar called the Whiplash (seriously!) over next to the new Saint Germain wine bar. Both are really good and a much needed boost to the resort.

The Apres is as grim and soul-less as ever. Haven't eaten in the Bergerie for years as it's been consistently very poor and feedback from elsewhere does not encourage me to change my mind. Maison a Colonnes remains far and away the best dining experience in resort.
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You know it makes sense.
Sounds good, we'll have to try them out... on second thoughts maybe we'll wait for further info about Whiplash!'Shocked'

We ate at the Bergerie twice last year and enjoyed it both times, food & service was very good. The second time was on a Monday eve so it was a bit quiet, but that wasn't a surprise. I hear that its under new ownership this year and the Trip Advisor reviews look a bit mixed this year (one glowing, one terrible) - as we'll be in town self catering for 9 nights, I think we might have to see for ourselves otherwise we'll be eating in the same 2 or 3 restaurants several times each. Is St Germain the place I am thinking of as a tapas bar... maybe that was 2 years ago, ...opp the ski shop and supermarket at the Bataillettaz end?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Black Diamond is very good Logan.....had a great meal there at NY week and booked for HT week again too
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We much enjoyed our designer Gin in Whiplash! Was quiet though, but we were early in the evening so I can see getting much busier later. Photo opportunities around the dancing pole (!) abound. Tapas bar very good but tiny (and yes it is St Germain)
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I should be arriving in Ste Foy on 28th Jan for a week. How are current conditions?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Black Diamond looks good and very close to where we'll be, thank you Stefoy4me - that must be new this year is it? (The restaurant I mean as I think the Black Diamond Lodge has been there a while? I'm always happy to try a gin, designer or otherwise, so maybe we will look in to Whiplash after all - thanks for the feedback Patriciaholm. Our aprés has, in the past, unaccountably, been devoid of pole dancing, but perhaps this will be the year we rectify that heinous omission. Laughing
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no the restaurant was there last year too, and I think the year before that............
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Ah, ok, thanks, I clearly need to take more notice as I wander around, as it looks like its only yards from the Eco Le Ruitor entrance (where we were staying last year)! We'll definitely give it a go though.
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Conditions on piste are okay but you've really got to hunt around for good snow off them. We've had a great couple of days but it could definitely do with a bit more. Possibility of a little bit mid week - fingers crossed.
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home from a sensational week Sainte Foy. 48hr dump before we arrived then wall to wall sunshine & blue skies for the whole week. low temps kept conditions prime up toward the end too, but its ready for a refresh now...
there was even a lot of snow on the ground when we arrived in Grenoble, all up the the valley and loads in Bourg. was very exciting!! perfect week.

Food in Colonnes is always good but we only ever go during the day, although I do prefer to just stop at the hut on Marquise!!

we checked out the new bars, both a welcome addition although we were in catered so didnt stay out late enough for them to get pumping.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Just back from a fun filled week at SF. No new snow unfortunately but plenty of blue skies (much to the families delight!). Think the resort are doing a great job of managing the snow they have but no getting away from the fact that they desperately need some new snow. Some of the lower runs have the grass coming through and rocks a plenty. Some strong winds have also had their effect on the upper slopes. Fingers crossed they get a big dump soon.

Love this resort, such a friendly and relaxed atmosphere which make bringing a family of less confident skiers so much easier. Yet to experience its full majesty (with a fresh dump of snow) but maybe next year!!
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Off to our place in St Foy again on 24 Feb for a week or so. Have an appt in the very centre.
Just wondering if any couples would be interested in teaming up to ski for a few mornings or afternoons? We have just turned 60 with some 15 yrs ski experience - prob good intermediates. We enjoy easy off piste in good conditions but hubby more adventurous than me now - double ACL/LCL reconstruction three years ago has left me happier on easy runs! Also, he likes to ski for longer than me so I often turn in earlier and leave him to finish his day on his own! Enjoy vin chard/hot chocolate on the mountain too of course.
Three grown up sons and their partners do their own trips now so we are left a bit on our own - lovely and relaxing but might be fun to meet others like us!!! (Few of our UK friends ski.)
Always meet nice people on the mountain as everyone is so friendly but even after ten years, we don't seem to see the same folk again! Equally happy to meet up for supper?
Any takers?
PS We are reasonably normal, St Foy addicts, semi retired and pretty fit/healthy 😀
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With all the recent snowfalls and more to come this weekend, are the levels back up to where they should be for this time of year ?
Is a full season with skiing to Easter now back on the cards ?
Is the off piste now looking alot less rocky Happy
Also my guess is last weeks rain below 1800m has helped to stabalise the base ???
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more this weekend ??.......not sure that's likely to be the case......the forecasts I ve seen is for it to settle down from this weekend and in the main be dry next week with milder temps........

but will let you know as I ll be there from Saturday
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
My husband and friends were there last weekend and apparently it was fantastic - although to be fair anything would have been better than the brown slopes we had at New Year....! They did a lot of off-piste and it was fine apparently. The friend currently in residence doesn't think there is any forecast for a week or so though.
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This weekend, 20cm over the next 6 days, not a massive dump but should be good??
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Quote:

This weekend, 20cm over the next 6 days, not a massive dump but should be good??


The trouble is that the Bergfex (ECM based) forecast says something different. It's not clear how it will pan out but most people seem to feel the Bergfex one is more reliable than snow-forecast.

http://www.bergfex.com/sainte-foy-tarentaise/wetter/
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"most people seem to feel the Bergfex one is more reliable than snow-forecast."

Or SnowOptimist.com, as we refer to it...!
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Looks like there'll be a top up over the next week or so, just in time for our trip, hopefully, but I'm hoping not too much on the Sunday. I give the snow chains a trial run each year before we set off but I'm still hoping not to have to use them - it's tricky enough with temps just above freezing but I don't really want to have to do it in minus something degrees C (nor in the dark)! The forecast though looks like we might be coping with temperatures well above freezing, at least at resort level in early March?
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I am currentlynin St Foy, lots of cars on summer tyres, incl Cayens and RangeRovers with both UK and FR plates.... some snow should come this night and through tomtommorrow. Hope idiots on summer tyres will decide to leave late ....
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Does anyone have experience of St Foy in Mid April they could share? With the recent snow I am considering booking, though have concerns in might be just a bit too late in the season. Any advice gratefully received. Thanks
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@pb1978, Welcome to sH. What do you mean by mid April, St F shuts on the 17th April this year. The resort is relatively low, but mostly north facing so the snow should still be OK, especially given this weeks snowfall.
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Thanks. Thinking of 2nd week in April
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Well it was an interesting day today. It was snowing when we arrived yesterday around 7pm (snow chains not required although a bit dicey on the final 300m to Batailletaz - oh the joy of a 4x4) and has largely continued unabated. Lovely skiing earlier with around 30-40cm of snow on piste but Aiguille (top lift) was closed all day with Marquise joining it around midday I guess because of the wind - it was pretty wild above Arpettaz (second lift) by lunchtime. There was a nice clear spell for about half an hour but around 2pm Arpettaz shut and even from the resort level it was clear that the wind was a problem, so we called it a day at about 3pm as it was getting a bit busy (by Ste Foy standards anyway!) as everyone left on the hill was using the last remaining lift of course. Nice panini in Yeti Boots though with a warming vin chaud to set us up for the rather quieter afternoon then we had hoped for😳
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PB - we usually go for the first week of the Easter holidays so around end march/early Easter, and it's usually fine - can be lovely, with sun and OK snow. Won't be fantastic, but skiable.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thought some of you would be interested in this taken from the helicopter of the avalanche control first thing Wednesday morning , two serious avalanches from the ridge , avalanches reach way down into the piste system I have Family out there at the moment who have told of smashed Snowcannons , loads of trees down and debris everywhere . If you listen I'm sure you can hear the trees snapping .

https://www.facebook.com/groups/284451815035828/permalink/805950389552632/
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It was a beautiful day to ski in Sainte Foy today, high clouds with the sun visible for most of the day then almost blue skies from about 3pm. It was a warm one too - with the exception of the highest 250m or so of vertical, the ski was pretty soft and in places decidedly sticky particularly around the base of the Arpette lift - it was a novel experience to feel a definiite deceleration when you hit the sticky bits even on a red Shocked

It was fascinating to see the remains of the avalanches set off on Weds morning - they must have been something, as previously noted, the snow and debris had clearly come right down onto several of the higher runs (L'Aiguille, Creux and particularly bad over Plan des Veaux, where there are still stones right across the piste and evidence of large rocks having come down)and even as far down as the blue Crete Serru du Bas where there are several trees brought down with the snow - one had a trunk of around 5-6" in diameter. We were a bit concerned with the hanging snow under the Aiguille lift which looked like it still had the potential to come down over the piste, but also reassured (somewhat) by the large hole left by an explosive charge which had not set off any further fall, so hopefully that bit is secure for now Sad .

Anyway, all the pistes were open and little populated, particularly after lunch, when we had several pistes to ourselves for minutes at a time. It was a shame that the resort decided to close the 2 high lifts 25 minutes early though, especially as the sun had come out by then. The reason given was that this was for "securisation" or safety, so maybe they were concerned about the high temperatures on the snow pack up top, but it did feel a bit like they wanted to go home early on a quiet Sunday afternoon! Still, you've got to love Sainte Foy, it's quiet pistes are a real luxury after the madness that was Les Arcs 2000/1950 yesterday.
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@Rob Mackley, Can't see that video. Looks like you may have to join the group.
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