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11 Nov, 2013

A guide to Saas Fee the Pearl of the Alps

Family Holiday to Saas Fee in the Winter

Saas Fee's nickname as the Pearl of the Alps is well-deserved, with this Swiss resort offering some of the best skiing conditions in Europe while also being among the most picturesque mountain villages you're ever likely to see.

Both of these attributes are a direct result of a series of geographical and geological features: firstly, the fact that Saas Fee sits in a crescent-shaped valley surrounded by high, north-facing slopes means that many of the runs are protected from the sun, and therefore offer excellent skiing conditions. The altitude also plays a part, with most of the pistes being located above 2,500 m, while the entire resort is encircled by a ring of mountains that reach heights of around 4,000 m. This makes for some pretty spectacular scenery, as well as world-class skiing.

The other major piece of artillery in Saas Fee's arsenal is its glacier, which is around 100 m thick sits at the top of the valley, where it glistens in the sunlight. This provides opportunities for year-round skiing, with the Swiss ski team coming here to practise during the summer. It also has the double-whammy effect of refrigerating the entire valley, causing rain to freeze before it hits the slopes. All of this makes Saas Fee one of the most snow-sure resorts in Europe.

Skiing in Saas Fee

Skiing in Saas Fee is split into two main areas – Allalin and Plattjen. The former provides access to some of the best off-piste spots in Switzerland, with several yellow runs to try. Before straying from the slopes, however, it's important to remember that this should only be attempted by expert skiers and always under the supervision of a professional guide. SkiWeekends can help you arrange this if you feel confident enough to give it a go.

A number of blacks and reds can be accessed from both Allalin and Plattjen, while Saas-Fee also boasts 13 blue runs, so it's great for skiers of all abilities. First-timers will be able to get to grips with the basics on the nursery slopes – which are located in the village itself – before heading higher into the mountains to start skiing in earnest.

The resort is also home to two snowboard parks, so anyone who wants to practise their tricks and flips will have plenty of opportunities to do so in Saas Fee.

Away from the slopes

As well as being surrounded by some incredible scenery, the town of Saas Fee itself is also a real sight to behold, with this traditional village being entirely car-free. It really is a wonderful place to come if you want to get away from it all, and many of the bars and restaurants here have been designed with the view in mind.

The Mittelallin, for example, is the world's highest revolving restaurant, sitting at an altitude of 3,500 m. Grabbing a bite to eat here is a truly remarkable experience and a great way to get a look at the whole mountain range without having to exert any energy.

If you fancy taking a break from skiing then you'll find plenty of great activities on offer in Hannig, which is a separate part of the resort that is reserved for non-skiers. Among the excursions available in this part of Saas Fee are hiking, paragliding, tobogganing and much more.

When to visit

As previously mentioned, skiing is possible on the glacier throughout the year, and the slopes here benefit from perfect conditions. As a result, the ski season is pretty long in Saas Fee, with many of the runs remaining open from November until April. February is the peak month for snow, although if you visit early or late in the season you're likely to avoid the crowds and have much more space. That said, Saas Fee is generally a very relaxed resort and doesn't get nearly as packed as some of the larger snowsports in the Alps.

To find out more about skiing in Switzerland, feel free to call one of our friendly ski experts on 023 8020 6971 or email