Dubbed 'The Pearl of The Alps', Saas Fee is a high-altitude year-round mountain resort set in a crown of 13 soaring 4,000m peaks, in the Mischabel range of the Valais Alps in Switzerland.
The setting is spectacular, nestled beneath permanently snow-capped major Alpine summits that include the Allalinhorn, Alphubel, Taschhorn, Lenzspitze, and Dom (third highest peak in the Alps), and looking out over the Saas Valley (the Saastal) towards the Weissmies and Lagginhorn.
This is serious 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 is even accessible by pedestrians, courtesy of a funicular railway, and houses the world's highest altitude revolving restaurant.
The slopes are snow-sure and the car-free village is easy on the eye; its facilities are modern, its restaurants are good, and its apres ski is lively; Saas Fee is indeed a Alpine gem.
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.
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 jumbo-gondola 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 sector houses Saas Fee's excellent snowpark and a nice mix of runs suitable for most abilities; from Felskinn there's then an underground funicular railway link to Mittelallalin in the glacial Allalin summit sector, which is best suited to intermediates.
The summit sector is also reachable in a more roundabout manner from the village via a gondola to the Spielboden area, followed by a series of other lifts up through the narrow Langfluh sector on the opposite flank of the glacier. Sensationally long home runs to Saas Fee village can be made via both the Felskinn and Langfluh sectors, the Langfluh-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.
Off the slopes and apres ski
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 bars/restaurants and spectacular viewing points.
The revolving restaurant at Mittelallalin is a big draw; there's also a fabulous 'Ice Pavilion' inside the glacier at Mittelallalin, its cavernous spaces filled with ice sculptures.
Saas Fee also has an entire lift-served sector exclusively for non-skiers: the Hannig mountain is served by a gondola lift based close to the village centre and offers a high-altitude restaurant, paragliding launch site, snowshoeing and walking trails, plus a terrific long toboggan run back to the village.
The resort has a modern multi-sports leisure centre with a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, indoor tennis and badminton courts; plus there's an outdoor natural ice staking rink and curling rinks.
The Saas Fee apres-ski scene is very lively and begins early in the cluster of snow-bars and music-pubs close to the lift terminals, the SnowPoint 'umbrella bar' is a prime spot, as well as in the numerous animated bars on the main street leading into the heart of the village, the Dom Bar is the in-place for live music.
Many of the bars keep rocking right through the evening until late at night, others have a more sophisticated lounge-bar ambiance; some, like the Holzwurm, morph into disco-bars with dance floors later in the evening, plus there's a couple of proper nightclubs too. The resort also contains a nice selection of cafés and tea rooms, together with a great range of good restaurants.
Optimum Snowsports are the go-to ski and snowboard school in resort with English speaking instructors offering group and private lessons. They also offer a 10% discount to Snow Magazine readers, just mention our name when booking!
Saas-Fee in 100 seconds from Freie Ferienrepublik Saas-Fee on Vimeo.
Bars and clubs
Ferienart Casar Ritz