Saas Fee is a beautiful little resort set in picturesque mountains, with lots to keep skiers busy, on and off the slopes themselves.
Excellent for beginners and intermediates, après-ski is solid and there are activities to do and sights to see when not on the slopes.
Saas Fee was – and still is – a farming community at heart. The village has the usual narrow streets of a historical community, charming old buildings, and a selection of newer chalets that are in keeping with the aesthetic of the area and only add to the charm. Since the village is traffic-free, it is perfect for strolling around.
Among the best features of Saas Fee is the scenery. It is known as ‘The Pearl of the Alps,’ nestled in the centre of 13 peaks that rise 500 to 1000m above the resort itself.
Flying into Geneva is common, with a 2-hour, 45-minute ride from there to the mountain. Sion is closer though, and you’ll arrive at the resort in a little over an hour by bus. The nearest station is Visp, a 40-minute bus ride from Saas Fee.
The ski area of Saas Fee is among the highest in the Alps, allowing for the full resort to be open for winter skiing and a more limited area year-long, that even includes summer skiing on the glacier. Most of the pistes face the north, allowing for better retention and quality of snow. Those over 2500m are especially good for powder skiing.
The resort has invested well in lifts and the gondola, so they keep a substantial number of people moving even during popular holiday times. With 100km of pistes, this constant motion is important.
Despite the charm of the village, and the high-quality lifts, the size is a limiting factor for more expert skiers. Intermediates will be able to cover most of the suitable runs in a couple of days – much more time than that and there is the risk of wanting more variety that simply isn’t available here.
The resort doesn’t get much sun until later in the season, and December and January can get very cold, so if you can, aim for March and April – you’ll get the benefit of the snow without having to suffer the deep freeze.
Beginners have a rare treat here, of being able to experience really high runs that are suitable to a lower skill level. Gentle runs are located on the upper part of Längfluh and Felskinn. Don’t try them if you are a complete novice, but if you are a more advanced beginner or early intermediate, the height won’t bother you as much and you’ll get a taste of what experts take for granted – the joy of skiing in a magnificent, high-altitude gallery of natural beauty.
The liveliest parties will be at the Popcorn; pricey, but worth it for the high0energy vibe and late-night hours. For a quieter drink, at lower prices, try the Steinbock Bar, or strike for the middle ambiance on the terrace at The Black Bull – loud music, fun, and a relaxed atmosphere.
Saas Fee boasts the ‘world’s highest revolving restaurant,’ called Allalin. The floor revolves slowly around, giving diners a 360-degree view of the surrounding peaks. It is slow-moving and won’t cause motion sickness. The restaurant is located on the top of the underground funicular (steep-angle train) that runs up from Felskinn. You’ll step out at 3500m, into thin mountain air and stunning views. It is recommended that you walk slowly at first to allow your system to adjust to the difference in oxygen levels.
Other offerings include the Brittaniahutte, right on the mountain, for simple foods at good prices. The Spielboden is a high-end establishment atop the gondola of the same name, offering great food and views to complement. In town you can grab a pizza at Pizzeria Boccalino, or sample one (or more) of the 45,000 bottles of wine in the cellars of the Michilin-starred Fletchhorn. Menus there will be seasonal, local, and prepared to perfection.
Be sure to check out the Ice Pavilion. It is built inside the glacier itself and is both an information centre for glacier facts, and an art gallery of impressive ice sculptures. The braver among guests can even try an avalanche simulation experience.