Skiing in Saas-Fee

Saas Fee’s ski area might not be large but it’s certainly high so be prepared for epic descents, on-piste and off-piste, and amazing views of the thirteen 4000m peaks that surround the Saas valley including the 4545m Dom, Switzerland’s highest mountain. If it frequently feels as if you’re skiing on or next to a huge glacier, that’s because you are.

Saas-Fee Ski Area Overview

Saas-Fee’s ski area has 32 ski pistes totalling 100km, 50km red, the other 50km split evenly between blue and black, and 3 unpisted ski routes, served by 23 ski lifts. Saas-Fee is on the same line of latitude as the pine trees of Ascona on the shores of Lake Maggiore. The high altitude skiing is generally best on fine winter days from February to April which average 100-140 hours of sunshine per month and in summer when 20km of piste remain open for intermediates and above;  on cold windy days in December and January it’s bitter. There’s also a freestyle snow park above Morenia, with one half-pipe, a boarder cross and two kickers, and 30km of hiking trails for winter walkers.

Base Area & Nursery Slopes

The base area is south of the village at 1800m. Here you’ll find classic broad, gentle nursery slopes set to one side so that the main ski traffic doesn’t conflict, served by three short T-bar lifts for beginners. There’s a large ski school assembly area, two ice rinks and a series of hotels and pensions backing on to the base area whose restaurants, terraces and umbrella bars are handy for lunch and for après ski towards the end of the day. Set against the backdrop of improbably craggy peaks, it looks like a stylised version of an alpine ski resort of 50 years ago.

Felskinn – Allalin – Längfluh

The main Saas-Fee ski area is due south of the village and reached by a big gondola, the Alpin Express, rising from the east of the village of Saas-Fee to Morenia at 2550m, followed by a funicular, the Metro Alpin, which reaches the 3,500m highpoint, crowned with the highest of Switzerland’s three revolving restaurants, at Mittelallalin (which is simply referred to as ‘Allalin – The Top’ on the piste map).

The main ski slopes can also be reached from the base area by riding an older gondola to Spielboden 2448m followed by a cable car to Längfluh 2869m then use the Feechatz T-bar to access a series of groomed intermediate slopes beneath Allalin; the longest route back down to Saas-Fee is 9km long and all of the non-glacial pistes are covered by snow-making to ensure the descent can be made throughout the season.

The main concentration of pistes, a mix of about a dozen red, half a dozen blue and a few short black runs, is below Felskinn (3,000m) at the foot of the funicular. More experienced skiers might like to try the Weisse Perle ski route (yellow) which is reached from the top of the Spielboden gondola or from the black piste running from the bottom of the Längfluh chair down to Spielboden.

Saas-Fee is one place you’re seldom tempted to duck under the ropes, as these are very obviously glaciers on the move, at their steep, deeply fissured stage – more crevasse than ice – unlike much of the glacier skiing in other parts of the alps, which is often on the relatively flat main body of the ice flow. These frozen rivers are spectacular, though for skiers they can feel restrictive; you certainly can’t ignore them.


A subsidiary area, Plattjen, is much more limited. It rises to just 2570m to the south-east of Saas-Fee and is served by one gondola from the base station; there’s no other connection with the main area, either by piste or lift. The peaks to the south leave it in the shadow through January, but later in the season some sun reaches its black and red pistes.

The routes down from top to bottom include a fast descent used for World Cup racing, which is half red then black on the steeper lower slopes or you can ski the slower and longer blue run which winds its way through the forest with some variation for intermediates and advanced skiers including an off-piste route (National) through the trees is like a roller coaster ride when icy. There are also glacier-free off-piste opportunities here, mainly through scrub and forest.


To the west of the village of Saas-Fee, the Hannig mountain is reserved for walking and toboganning. You can walk up or take the single gondola from Hohnegg to Hannig 2336m, where there’s a popular mountain restaurant with sun terrace and the opportunity to continue walking up to Mällig 2700m. The 5km toboggan run down is highly recommended and it’s worth sacrificing half a day on the ski slopes to make time available to enjoy tobogganing from the top of Hannig.

Saas Grund

There’s a further 35km of skiing between 1550m and 3200m on Hohsaas which is 3km lower down the valley at Saas Grund. Saas Grund is covered by the same lift pass and the Hohsaas ski area is reached by riding the gondola from Saas Grund to Kreuzboden 2400m then the Ziebel gondola to 3200m. There’s also good ski touring higher up on Triftgletscher, quite challenging snow shoeing close to the pistes above and below Weissmieshűtte and an 11km long toboggan run all the way from Kreuzboden 2400m down to Saas Grund at 1559m. Saas Grund is worth visiting if you’re staying in Saas-Fee for more than a few days.

Saas Almagell

There’s 19km more piste skiing and ski touring at Saas Almagell, the most southerly community in Saastal which is about 7km from Saas-Fee and the home of Olympic ski racers Heidi, Pirmin and Slivan Zurbriggen. The skiing here includes a further seven pistes, a mix or red and blue, leading from Heidbodme 2400m to the restaurant and children’s adventure world at Furggstalden 1893m and continuing to Saas Almagell at 1673m in the valley. There’s 26km of cross-country ski trails, winter walking trails, a 3km toboggan run and some excellent ski touring in the Almagellertal from 1673m to Zwischbergenpass 3268m and to Portjengrat 3653m and more ski touring further south in Furggtal.

Beginner Skiing in Saas-Fee

Saas-Fee caters very well for novices and beginners with secluded nursery slopes surrounded by towering 4000m peaks and served by three T-bars exclusively for beginners, and a selection of easy blue runs in the main ski area at Felskinn.

For complete beginners, Saas-Fee’s base area draglifts and nursery slopes at Stafelwald are hard to beat – easy to reach, well out of the way of fast ski-traffic and unthreatening (other than the stupendous views looming overhead).

The base area includes good facilities for children, clearly marked meeting points for ski school groups and the hotel restaurants that back on to the base area – Derby, Belmont and Waldesruh – are convenient for lunch and waiting parents as well as for après ski.

Progressing novices can head for Morenia 2550m via the Felskinn cable car or first stage of the Alpin Express, from where a series of long blue runs 4/4c/4b provide an easy descent back to Saas-Fee, and the Mittaghorn drag lift serves two more blues.

There’s also a blue route from Allalin to Längfluh for a taste of the heights, though there’s no easy way further down other than to download or to go back up the Feechatz drag and follow red 10b (usually in excellent condition) towards Felskinn and make an easier descent.

Over on Plattjen, blue 2a / 2b is a long and relatively easy blue run that starts part way down and winds through forested slopes back to Saas-Fee. Confident beginners can get to it by first skiing red run 1 from Plattjen 2570m past the landmark Vernissage Berghaus Plattjen mountain restaurant – worth visiting – but there’s no easier way to reach blue 2.

There’s more easy skiing for beginners nearby at Saas Almagell including the children’s adventure world at Furggstalden, but by the time you have exhausted Saas-Fee’s blue runs it’s likely you will be ready to progress to ski easy red runs 5/5a/6 at Morenia and the cluster of easy red runs at Allalin 3500m which offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and are easily reached using the Metro-Alpin funicular from Felskinn.

If you feel like taking a break from skiing and want to try something different, the 5km toboggan run from Hannig 2336m, to the west of Saas-Fee, is highly recommended. You can hire a toboggan at the Hannig gondola station.

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Saas-Fee

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Intermediate Skiing in Saas-Fee

Sass Fee has several top-to-bottom descents for strong intermediate skiers and boarders, all of which give an excellent sense of the high mountain terrain and scale – from 3500m top to 1800m bottom is 1700m vertical and the longest run is 9km.

With just 50km of well-groomed red run skiing among a ski area totaling 100km of pisted skiing, there aren’t endless kilometres of piste to bash at Saas-Fee, but the steep-enough pitch of most red runs, combined with excellent snow quality, will appeal to strong intermediates.

And if you choose to take lifts to the top of the resort and descend all the way back to base, there are several alternatives available to you, with stunning views of the high mountain glacial terrain and 1700m vertical from top to bottom, taking in some of Saas-Fee’s sweeping, wide red runs – 10b ‘Panorama’ and 6 ‘Moräne’ – along the way.

There’s a small cluster of red runs at Allalin 3500m – the top – which are suitable for improving beginners but quite short and most intermediates will start by lapping the red runs between Felskinn 3000m and Morenia 2550m then repeating a series of long top to bottom descents from Allalin to base area either via 10b ‘Panorama’ and 6 ‘Moräne’ or via Feechatz 10a, Längfluh 11 and Spielboden 11a which is longer and usually quieter.

Adventurous intermediates can take a look at the Weiss Perle unpisted ski route from Spielboden 2448m back to base area which provides a more challenging route back to Saas-Fee, the level of difficulty very much depending on snow conditions and time of day.

Advanced & Expert Skiing in Saas-Fee

Most of the challenging opportunities for advanced skiers and boarders in Saas-Fee are well away from the main runs, as the pistes are long rather than steep and the glacial terrain limits opportunities between-the-pistes. Instead this is the ski resort to try ski touring.

Saas-Fee ski area has 100km pisted skiing between 3500m and 1800m of which 25km is designated black for advanced and 50km red, so there’s not enough difficult piste skiing to keep advanced skiers entertained for a full week.

On piste there are a few short black runs, but the majority of the mileage is on moderate reds whose main challenge is their length. Descending without stopping from Allalin or from Längfluh to Saas-Fee is a worthy test. The best ‘serious’ pistes in Saas-Fee, including an FIS World Cup run, are on the lower half of Plattjen. There’s also an unpatrolled ski route on this side, and tree skiing, and a longer ski route on the main area starting just above Spielboden which descends almost to the base area.

Saas Grund is also worth a visit. Again the main challenge is one of endurance – it has a serious 1600m vertical – but advance skiers can make it more testing by skiing the first half on an ungroomed and unpatrolled (but marked) official ski route. There is also a short but steep black off to the side heading towards Jagihorn. The lower ski route taking you through the trees to Saas Balen (1483m) requires good snow, You should also check bus times back to Saas Grund or Saas Fee if you don’t want to pay for a taxi.

Saas Almagell has fewer challenges for advanced skiers, although there is one short ski route and a short black.

There are also ‘Cool Challenges‘ at Saas Fee (their name, not ours) for better skiers, including a speed skiing time check, a slalom course and a parallel slalom course so you can take on one of your buddies in a race.

The glacier that divides the ski area means that even with a guide the crevasse hazards limit off-piste and freeriding opportunities between the slopes. Further afield there are multiple options for skiing off-piste, almost all of which require some climbing on foot and glacier crossings, but usually on less badly crevassed sections. 

Skiing off-piste without a guide in Saas-Fee is positively dangerous as the crevasse hazard is so great that in some off-piste areas on Feegletscher the risk of ending your day (or your life) down a deep crevasse could be as high as 50:50. 

Boarding & Freestyle in Saas-Fee

Most of the challenging opportunities for advanced skiers and boarders in Saas-Fee are well away from the main runs, as crevasse hazards limit off-piste opportunities on glacial terrain between the groomed pistes.

Snowboarders and freestyle skiers should head for the Snow Park at Mittelallalin. The park is groomed all year, with a half-pipe, quarter-pipe, kickers and rails. You can also relax on a comfortable couch to sounds in the Chill Zone.

There’s also a Snow Park located in the Morenia area with two lines of kickers: two small kickers; a big kicker with a 5- and a 9-metre table and adjoining them a quarter-pipe and a corner wall. The half-pipe is located in the middle of the park and the rails should appeal to thrill-seekers, with a straight and a triple kinked rail, and a rainbow.

The piste riding provides some good carving terrain and few traverses; off-piste boarders will find some of the major routes a slog on snowshoes, with traversing and uphill sections where they’ll inevitably expend more energy than skiers on skins, though they might well have some back on the descent.

Ski Touring & Snowshoe Touring for Boarders

This is what Saas Fee excels at. It has all the ingredients needed – high lifts to give you a start so your descent is many time greater than your climb, even higher 4000m mountains, and naturally snowy terrain

Saas-Fee Mountain Guides are used to taking first time tourers. They offer a range of regular day tours off-piste in Saas-Fee most of which involve between 2-5 hours climbing using touring skis and skins (boarders can use snowshoes). All of the necessary equipment, including harnesses, can be hired locally in Saas-Fee. 

There are further ski touring options at Saas Grund (especially up and over the 3499m Lagginjoch pass or the ascent and descent of 4017m Weissmiess) and Saas Almagell . The valely between 

And of course ski tourers not only have the option of skiing to and from Zermatt, but enjoying a day’s skiing when they get there. And if you want to do more serious itineraries, Saas Fee is on one of the variants of the Haute Route crossing the Alps, so other great off-piste resorts like Verbier and Chamonix are within reach.

Heading in the opposite direction ski tourers can also reach the cult Italian off-piste resort of Macugnaga. The return from Macugnaga to Saas Fee is much easier so first timers might perefer to go there by taxi and return on skis or boards/snowshoes.

Saas-Fee Mountain Guides
CH-3906, Saas-Fee
Tel: +41 (0) 27 957 44 64
Email: [email protected]

Mountain Restaurants in Saas-Fee

Saas-Fee is adequately served by a dozen mountain restaurants, most of which are strategically positioned at the top of the main ski lifts and including the world’s highest revolving restaurant at Mittelallalin.

Starting from the top down, the revolving restaurant at Mittelallalin at 3500m may be the world’s highest, but the view – for which you’re paying – is not always as good as you might hope for. Only the table service restaurant rotates, at approximately one revolution per hour. Be aware that the floor revolves while the windows stay put, so hang on to your gloves and valuables (or wait an hour for them to return). There are two more restaurants lower down at Felskinn 3000m and Morenia 2550m which are in the centre of the main ski area and easier to get to.

At Längfluh 2869m, the Popcorn Plaza has a sun terrace, bar and DJ or live music. Spielboden 2448m also has a terrace and good food. Gletscher Grotte (Tel: +41 27 957 21 60) is a lovely rustic hut slopeside lower down mountain (watch for the signs on red run 11a) serving a good range of rösti, fondue and meat and cheese boards.

Plattjen has food at the top station but one of the best mountain restaurants in Saas-Fee, also on Plattjen, is the charming Vernissage Berghaus Plattjen (Tel: +41 27 957 12 05) restaurant and sun terrace to the right of red run 1 and next to a landmark radio mast, which is recommended, but quite small so it’s best to make a reservation.

Probably the most adventurous eating in Saas-Fee (in terms of getting there, rather than what’s on your plate) is at the Britannia Hütte, a hike from Felskinn, where there’s also hut accommodation for ski touring.

Down at village level, the base area 1800m next to the ice rinks and the nursery slopes is also well served by hotel restaurants and sun terraces such as the hotels Derby, Belmont and Waldesruh which also has an umbrella bar. From here you can easily walk a short distance to one of the restaurants on the main street leading to the village where there are more restaurants such as Zur Mühle which is good for lunch as well as for après ski.

For eating on the mountain the following restaurants are especially recommended:

Vernissage Berghaus Plattjen
Tel: +41 27 957 12 05

Tel: +41 27 957 21 60


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