Beautiful, car-free, Saas-Fee, “the pearl of the Alps”, is untouched by the worst of the modern world, although it still has powerful ski lifts to whisk you up to some of Europe's highest and most snowsure skiing, in winter or in summer. It's not a big ski area though.

High and snowsure, Saas-Fee nestles at 1800m in the lee of the Mischabel range, just 15km north-east of Zermatt, but without its crowds. The village is old, quaint, and traffic-free apart from a few service vehicles. But there is nothing cute about the mountains surrounding Saas-Fee: they are in-your-face monsters, towering above the village, their huge glaciers spilling down towards the valley. This is alpine scenery at its magnificent brooding best – more striking than pretty.

Saas-Fee is recognised as one of Switzerland’s more family friendly ski resorts with nursery slopes just outside the village and lots of flat sunny slopes for beginners to progress onto, renowned ski schools and plenty of supervised activities for children. Advanced skiers are also catered for, provided they don’t mind skiing off-piste with a guide, and preferably strapping on skins as well. If you have ever dreamed of taking lifts up a mountain to 3500m above sea level, then climbing a further 500m under your own steam, before descending over 2000m through untracked powder, this is the place to do it.

But for keen piste-gobbling intermediate skiers who don’t want to explore off-piste, Saas Fee’s ski area can seem rather small. The resort claims to have 100km of runs and avid piste-bashers will want more. And, there is a little more – it’s just a bus ride away. The neighbouring Saas valley resorts of Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell are both covered by the same lift pass and together have enough skiing to be worth one or two day trips. Zermatt’s huge ski area is also just about within reach and available at a reduced price, although it’s not a journey you would want to do everyday.

Instead skiers who come to Saas Fee should hang up their skis for at least one day of their holiday and see what else Saas Fee has to offer, like a whole lift-served mountain called Hannig that’s dedicated to tobogganing and snowshoeing (skiers and boarders are banned), and a winter sportsfield (Kalbermatten) for ice skating and curling. There are specially prepared winter walking paths, a famous revolving mountain restaurant at Allalin, ice caving, cross-country skiing, and special events such as high altitude fondue followed by torch-lit descents. Throw in the genuine charm of the village, its relaxed but fun apres ski and its breathtaking mountain scenery, and Saas-Fee becomes a genuine all-round winter wonderland. Unless, of course you come here in summer, because Saas Fee’s highest pistes are snowsure even in August.

Saas-Fee Pros & Cons

+ High, snowsure skiing
+ Magnificent mountain scenery
+ Charming traditional car free village
+ Good place to learn to ski
+ Good off-piste and excellent ski touring
+ Uncrowded pistes

– Piste network is small
– Bus trips to other villages take time
– Expensive


Saas-Fee Resort Stats

Base: 1483 m
Peak: 3600 m
Vertical: 2117 m
Ski Area: 145 km
Longest Run: 15 km
Beginner: 27 %
Intermediate: 52 %
Advanced: 21 %
Number of ski lifts: 38
Lift Capacity: 40500
Ski Season Starts: early-November
Ski Season Ends: mid-April
Nearest Airport: Sion
Transfer Time: 1 hour 30 mins

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Saas-Fee Resort Ratings

Ski Area star rating
Lift System star rating
Snowsure star rating
Beginner star rating
Intermediate star rating
Advanced star rating
Scenery star rating
Charm star rating
Apres Ski star rating
Other Activities star rating
Getting There star rating

Total Ratings = 11

Ratings sum = 40

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