The Saas-Fee/Saastal ski area in Switzerland is one of the highest ski resorts in Europe and is surrounded by 18 four-thousand-metre peaks. The car-free, charming and lively village of Saas-Fee and the breathtaking glacier landscape match most people's idea of an idyllic Swiss Alpine resort. It is perfect for a ski holiday with the family but also young and lively beginners and intermediates.
Saas-Fee, dubbed the "Pearl of the Alps", and the entire Saas Valley are a high-altitude holiday resort open all year round, surrounded by the Mischabel massif which includes the Dom, the highest mountain entirely on Swiss ground.
The setting is spectacular, nestled beneath permanently snow-capped major Alpine summits that include the Allalinhorn, Alphubel, Taschhorn, Lenzspitze, and Dom, and looking out over the Saas Valley (the Saastal) towards the Weissmies and Lagginhorn.
This is high-Alpine mountaineering territory, and Saas-Fee has a strong pedigree in the history of Alpinism, yet it's also a family-friendly winter-sports resort that's well suited to beginners and intermediates, skiers and snowboarders alike; the highest peak in the ski area, at a towering 3,500m, is even accessible by pedestrians, courtesy of a funicular railway, and houses the world's highest revolving restaurant, Restaurant Allalin.
The slopes are snow-sure and the car-free village is easy on the eye; its facilities are modern, its restaurants are very good, and its après ski is lively; Saas-Fee/Saastal is indeed an Alpine gem.
Saas-Fee/Saastal - Ski Map & Pistes:
From the top of the summit-sector ski lifts at Allalin to the base-area slopes at Saas-Fee village, the vertical drop is more than one vertical mile; seamless linking pistes offer a non-stop descent for those fit enough to tackle it.
This is big-mountain territory, and yet there are very few steep challenges here; the heavily crevassed tongue of the Fee Glacier covers the bulk of the steepest terrain directly above the resort and thus renders most of it inaccessible, thereby restricting the surrounding pistes to mostly intermediate category slopes.
Most of the skiing, however, is high-altitude and snowsure on slopes between 2,500m and 3,500m. There are five principal sectors, all accessed from a cluster of ski lifts based at the far southern end of the village. The Saas-Fee base-area sector here houses sizeable beginners' zones on the flattest ground closest to the village, together with a number of easy blue pistes served by ski-tows on the surrounding slopes.
The closest major lift terminal is the two-stage Alpin Express that serves the core Felskinn sector via the Morenia area, a cable car based a bit further back from the village does the same: the Felskinn cable car.
Sensationally long home runs to Saas-Fee village can be made via both the Felskinn and Längfluh sectors, the Längfluh-Speilboden section presenting the more challenging route.
A further interesting sector called Plattjen juts out to the south-east of the village, served by a fast gondola based next to the Spielboden lift, although quite limited in area this sector does feature Saas-Fee's only substantially wooded ski slopes, including some unpisted glade sections.
For a little additional variety, there are two further small separate ski areas at the villages of Saas-Almagell and Saas-Grund in the valley below Saas-Fee, both easily reachable by local bus.
Saas-Fee/Saastal - Off-Piste, Backcountry & Ski Touring:
Off-piste is not Saas-Fee's main focus. The deep crevasses on the Fee Glacier render most of it inaccessible, which make venturing away from the pistes there dangerous. However, the resort is a good jumping off point for ski touring and is a spur of the well-known Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route.
Saas-Fee - Restaurants, Bars & The Town:
As well as the ski slopes, Saas-Fee's mountains hold plenty of other attractions for visitors: all of the gondolas and cable cars plus the underground funicular are accessible to pedestrians, giving access to a number of high-altitude restaurants and spectacular viewing points.
The revolving restaurant revolving restaurant Allalin at 3,500m is a big draw; there's also a fabulous 'Ice Cave' inside the glacier, its cavernous spaces filled with ice sculptures.
You can also embark on a special journey of Alpine wellbeing when you step foot in the Aqua Allalin. Relax in the whirlpool and take in breathtaking views and mountain panoramas while you soak.
The Saas-Fee après-ski scene is very lively and begins early in the cluster of snow-bars and music-pubs close to the lift terminals, the Black Bull Snowbar is a prime spot, as well as in the numerous animated bars on the main street leading into the heart of the village, the Rock Cafe is the a hot spot for live music.
Some of the bars keep rocking right through the evening until late at night, others have a more sophisticated lounge-bar ambiance; some morph into disco-bars with dance floors later in the evening, plus there's a couple of pubs nightclubs too. The resort also contains a nice selection of cafés and tea rooms, together with a great range of good restaurants.
Saas-Fee - Ski Hire:
Saas-Fee - Ski School:
When it comes to learning to ski in Saas-Fee, the Saas-Fee Ski School has pretty much all options covered. Alternatives include Ski Zenit, Eskimos Sports, Snow Sports School Saas-Grund and the Ski & Snowboard School Saas-Almagell.
Saas-Fee/Saastal - Snow Forecast:
For the all-important snow reports, check out the latest three-day Saas-Fee snow forecast. Combined with the embedded Saas-Fee webcam will keep you updated about the weather in Saas-Fee.