If you are attracted to the skiing in the four valleys circuit, but would rather base yourself in a small, traditional village then Saas Fee is the resort for you.
If you are after stunning scenery and a traditional alpine feel to your ski holiday, then Saas Fee is the resort for you. It has a reputation of being one of the most beautiful villages in the Alps, set as it is amid towering mountain peaks and with a glacier, which seems to overhang the village.
The village itself is traffic free, increasing the feel of a bygone and more traditional age. Drivers have to park outside the village and use electric taxis to transport any luggage they may have. Most hotels run a shuttle service as well and there is a free local bus around the resort.
Once inside the village, traditional Swiss chalets and cowsheds overlook the winding roads, adding to the picture postcard feel of Saas Fee and creating a peaceful and relaxing base for your holiday.
The resort is well suited for families, particularly those with young children or those learning to ski for the first time. There are excellent nursery slopes which are perfect for beginners and children, backed up by excellent intermediate slopes to challenge any more experienced skiers in the group or family. The fact that the roads are traffic free also helps when you are trying to move young children plus all their ski gear around.
With 100km of piste available, Saas Fee has slightly more limited slopes than its bigger neighbour, Zermatt, but there are plenty of slopes suitable for beginners and intermediates and there are some lovely runs, including an impressive 1800m vertical from top to bottom.
The glacier, which overlooks the village, offers guaranteed snow with 20km of piste. Unfortunately the overhanging glacier can mean that much of the resort is in shadow for the earlier part of the season, therefore a visit after February is advised. There is good lift access to the highest slopes.
Despite its family friendly reputation and traditional feel there is a vibrant and active range of aprï¿½s ski. There are some lively bars ï¿½ why not try Nesti’s Ski Bar, Black Bull Bar, Popcorn, Number 1 Bar or the Living Room?
There is a choice of almost 60 restaurants and bars to eat out in catering for most tastes. If you would like to try a traditional fondue then visit Bodum, although be warned that if you try the cheese fondue and the bread slips off your fork into the hot cheese, then you are liable for a forfeit. Other places to try include the Alpha Hut, Swiss Hut, La Ferme Grill and the Del Ponte Pizzeria.
There are also plenty of activities on offer off the slopes. If you would like to rest your legs and give the skis a break for a day, why not explore the winter wonderland views by using one of the 20km of prepared winter hiking routes.
Alternatively if you would still like to move around a bit faster how about sledging or to a different dimension to the experience ï¿½ night sledging? Another variation is husky dog sledding. For those who prefer narrow blades on their boots, why not try your hand at ice skating?
For those who would prefer to leave the winter sports once they take off their ski boots, there are plenty of other activities. There is a sports centre offering indoor tennis and badminton. Alternatively you can relax aching muscles with a swim, followed by a trip to the sauna, steam room and whirlpool or even a solarium.
You can also visit the “Eispavillion”, the biggest ice pavilion in the world and the world’s highest revolving restaurant.
For those who prefer to simply amble through the streets and browse through the shops, there are plenty of options, from souvenir shops to ski hire and ski equipment shops (ideal for adding anything from a new pair of gloves to a snowboard to your collection) to boutiques. There is also a cinema if you would like a chance to sit back and put your feet up for a few hours.
There is a good range of accommodation including both traditional and modern hotels, pensions and self catering options.
The usual transfer airport from the UK is Geneva, from where there is a three hour coach transfer to the resort.
Stunning scenery and a traditional alpine feel, combined with good value accommodation and restaurants and a lively nightlife, make Saas Fee a good value and family friendly alternative to its bigger neighbour Zermatt. Beginners and those looking to progress will also find the welcoming slopes ideally suited to them.
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