Saas-Fee is a secret stash for skiing in Switzerland’s Alps. Everyone flocks to ski Zermatt, passing right by this sizeable ski resort. You start up the same valley as Zermatt and then take a left up a side valley just to the east. Saas-Fee in the Swiss south has high elevation glacier skiing with an authentic alpine village, and fewer crowds.
Saas-Fee is best known for its beautiful ice fields of glaciers and the stunning 4000 meter (over 10,000′) peaks that surround the magnificent valley. It’s also a car free alpine village that provides a true luxury ski holiday for families and couples – particularly popular with the Brits. Fun bit of trivia, WHAM’s George Michael’s “Last Christmas” video was filmed here.
Saas-Fee is one of the best Swiss Ski Resorts for snow reliability, slope preparation (grooming) and coziness. Saas-Fee is comprised of three ski areas, including Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell. Saas-Fee and Saas-Almagell are on the Swiss Magic Pass.
The skiing at Saas-Fee includes 23 lifts and 35 long well-prepared (groomed) trails, over 100 kilometers of skiing. The ski lifts are a mix of old and new – chairs, pomas, T-Bars, cable cars, and the amazing funicular railway to the summit. The Metro Alpin rail brings skiers underground up to the spectacular Allalin Glacier at 11,482′. The crown jewel is Saas Fee’s rotating restaurant, “360” is the highest revolving restaurant in the world.
Saas-Fee’s summit panorama of gorgeous glaciers, and 14,000′ peaks including the Dom, Aletschhorn, Monch, and Jungfrau are ever changing. From the summit, its a long 5,906′ vertical ski all the way to the village, but there are plenty of lifts and well-prepared trails to explore along the way.
Saas-Fee’s terrain is pretty big. Large capacity lifts go in every direction from the valley and village. Signage is a bit confusing and some of the lift stations have multiple intersecting gondolas and trams, and you are often inside and even underground in tunnels -its quite something! The summit and base skiing are mildly pitched, the mid mountain offers steeper sections. While there is nothing particularly extreme on the (confusing) trail map, there is lots of off-piste. Hire a Saas-Fee mountain guide to explore, this is glacial territory where crevasses are plentiful and dangerously disguised beneath the snow. As the crow flies Saas Fee is very close to Zermatt and could interconnect, but folks in Zermatt claim they don’t want that.
On mountain dining at Saas Fee, 360 Allalin summit revolving restaurant is a must – if it’s a clear day -a 360 tour in an hour spanning all the surrounded by glaciers. For a more classic chalet experience, ski down to the cozy Gletschergrotte. Or ski to the village, Belmont has excellent food and a slope view and you are steps to the lifts.
For families, Saas-Fee has a top-rated ski school in the Alps –British run and popular among families from the UK. Of note: kids under 9 ski free at Saas Fee. Young kids will enjoy Saas Fee’s mascots, and the references to mountain fairies around the resort. Teenagers will love the terrain park at Saas Fee – there are a surprising number of snowboarders here than most of the Alps.
Saas-Fee’s quaint alpine village of 1,800 residents awaits at après ski. The peaceful car-free atmosphere (only electric shuttles are permitted for hotels and businesses) adds to the alpine charm and calm. Walking the picturesque ski village is a delight, its compact and cheery with a pleasant assortment of shops, cafes, and Swiss restaurants for après ski. If you want to be slopeside The Hotel Bristol is the place to stay! This ski in/ski out hotel is conveniently located overlooking the beginner slopes, just 100 meters walk to the ski lifts. Bristol’s south facing rooms have a balcony with magnificent mountain views (single rooms are on the north side). Well known for its half-board ski and stay packages with delicious cuisine for breakfast and a 4-course dinner, its a very relaxed easy place to lodge for your Saas Fee ski holiday, right down to the heated ski and boot room. Bristol Hotel is kid-friendly and allows pets, there are even family suites.
Winter holidays, Saas-Fee hosts fairytale walks – called Mountain Magic, torch light hikes, night sledging, snow tubing and a mountain coaster called “SaasFeeblitz”. Saas Grund has a wild 11-kilometer sledge run, one of the longest sled runs in the Alps.
“Saas Fee” translates to meadow of the cows. Arriving by bus or car, you leave your car and cares behind, and immerse yourself in this valley of natural splendor, though not many cows in winter.
More on Skiing Switzerland
“Switzerland is a country where they don’t like to fight, so they let others to do their fighting…
and they ski & eat chocolate”