Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better!
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Saas Fee TR

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Here's a report of my recent trip to Saas Fee from 12th to 19th March 2017. Went with my wife, it being her second week on skis. She had stuck to blues in Obertauern in her first week (and one red that I cajoled her into going down and ended in a tantrum!). This is my 9th trip and I'm happy enough pootling about on reds and most blacks, albeit with little skill and even less grace.

We chose Saas Fee predominantly because of the WinterCard deal - it seemed a good chance to make Switzerland reasonably affordable - and the village looked so cute and charming.

Travelled via Easyjet from Gatwick to Zurich; and by train and post-bus from there to resort. Not a quick transfer, but a calm, stress-free, scenic ride on the wonderful Swiss railway network made it fly by. Got a late flight back, so was able to ski till 1400 on the last day.

Stayed in the Hotel Artemis. It's situated at the quieter end of the main street, near the Hannig gondola. Really happy with the hotel - upgraded us to a superior room after the first night as we couldn't abide the twin beds in the standard room. It was spotlessly clean, with a good breakfast spread and unlimited tea/coffee/hot chocolate from the reception area. It was a bit of a walk to the slopes but, as we kept our gear in lockers next to the slopes, not much of an issue. Everywhere in Saas Fee is easily walkable. The only downsides were it was B&B only and there was no wellness area. However, it was good value for the village (CHF980 for 7 nights).

Rented boots and skis from the Cesar Alpin shop on the main road (nearish to the beginner slopes). Eye-wateringly expensive (CHF365 for the 2 of us for 7 days), but really happy with them. They were patient, let me try a variety of boots and change skis midweek. My wife just couldn't get comfy in her boots and ended up changing them a total of 5 times during the week! The shop staff had no qualms about it at all and worked really well to finally find a pair that were comfortable for her wide feet, yet gave her control.

It's difficult for me to comment on the skiing, as I was with the Mrs the whole week, apart from her first ski lesson. Unfortunately, she got a couple of large bruises from a T-bar accident and fall, so only managed one run before calling it a day on the Wednesday and Thursday. I can comment on the snow which, given the wall-to-wall sunshine for 6 days was in excellent condition from mid-mountain up. There had been significant snowfalls in the two weeks before we came, so the snow depth was really good. The ski area is not large and I'm sure any reasonable intermediate could cover it in a couple of days. I had a blast skiing from top to bottom (Allalin back to the village via the glacier, Felskinn and Morenia) the one morning when I was alone. Runs are wide, well-marked and have wonderful scenery. The village runs were generally very quiet, but are very limited, even for a second week skier. The mid-mountain blues between Felskinn and Morenia are gentle, generally quiet and ideal for improvers and to practice technique. Many of the reds I had a chance to do are in a similar vein - wide, flattering and pretty quiet. One of the negatives of the pistes is that there are a few where novice skiers would struggle, and these are key links between different areas. Hence, I didn't take the wife on the glacier area as getting over to Morenia involves one steep pitch, and the draglifts back up looked pretty long and steep. Also, she had to download and take the lifts back to town as the red piste linking the blues below Morenia was too difficult for her.

The lift system is frustrating. I know a lot of the resort is on a glacier and chairlifts are not suitable, but there seemed an awful lot of walking involved from gondola to gondola, from gondola to cable-car, from gondola to funicular. I would have thought the Alpin Express is in need of an update/overhaul. And the drag-lifts are not a lot of fun. Fortunately we avoided the longest and steepest of them, but they looked pretty ghastly (and that was in the sunshine - must be horrible when it's cold and dark). There were no lift queues at all, though.

I had booked the wife in for a week of ski-school in the mornings with Optimum as they were run by Brits and had v small group sizes. Unfortunately, when we got there, we were told she would have to join the beginner class as it was a quiet time and there were no other groups. Mrs Suggul didn't like the idea of spending several days being taught again how to put on ski boots and to snow-plough, so we changed these to two 2 hour private lessons. She had a Dutch instructor called Nick, who was excellent. He tried different teaching techniques to find what would work for her, was patient and gently pushed her out of her comfort zone without her ever feeling scared. She was comfortably skiing gentle reds in the second lesson. I joined them for the second lesson and got some really useful pointers for my horrendous technique. I haven't had a lesson for 3 or 4 years, and it just highlighted how much I need some tuition. The ski-school was really flexible in rescheduling the second lesson due to my wife's injury. I'd highly recommend them.

The two days when Mrs Suggul was injured we went for a couple of walks - one from the top of the Hannig gondola down to the village. This was delightful - beautiful views, long trails through the forest, barely a soul in sight and v well signposted. Did a much shorter walk at the top of the Spielboden gondola, which had great close-up views of the glacier but was otherwise uninteresting. The toboggan run looked fun, but was shut when we went. There is a public pool and wellness area in town, but we didn't go there.

We were quite restricted in dining out due to dietary requirements - pescetarian menus and no alcohol. There were lots of delicious smelling meat options, but I'll have to leave it to others to comment on those. Had Italian stuff three nights - Don Ciccio, the Del Ponte and Chaemi Stube. Chaemi Stube had the best pizzas of the three. Was not overly enamoured with any of the pasta offerings. Had a tremendous 6-course fish tasting menu at The Fletschorn. Food was terrific, service was really good and they pick you up and drop you to the village (the restaurant is set out of town, through the woods). The bill came to CHF365 (£300) for the two of us, with just food and water, so really steep, but we off-set it somewhat with eating supermarket stuff for 2 nights.

In terms of mountain restaurants, we only had stuff at the bottom of the slopes or in the big self-service place in Morenia. The chips there were fab (coated in some herb dusting) and pizza pretty good. Again, prices were ridiculous - CHF6.50 for a 500mL Coke bottle.

Overall, it was a great trip and served the purpose of consolidating the wife's new-found love of the mountains and skiing. People were very friendly, especially the lifties, the village is delightful, the views stupendous. The lift system is a bit frustrating - it seems to take an awful long time to get up the mountain - and I'd need to come back and ski the area properly to be able to comment on it (albeit a long weekend would probably be enough). However, the prohibitive exchange rate makes that unlikely any time soon. I hate to keep banging on about the cost, but the whole trip (flights, transfers, hotel, skipass, equipment, instruction and food) came to nearly £3000 for the two of us, which is £1300 more than our trip to Obertauern (albeit at the end of the season) last year.
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks for the TR. But what happened in the T-bar incident?!
ski holidays     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Oh, wife was in front of me. Got off the T-bar, but didn't move to the side adequately. As I released the T-bar, it went straight at her and gave her a glancing blow on the knee. Bruised up nicely. Meant she was really struggling to put any weight on the left ski, so couldn't really turn when skiing for a couple of days.
latest report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
What was funnier was on our first trip up the T-bar, we got on together. She got on confidently and it slipped from under my bottom. Meant it jerked up and came away from her, too. Instead of letting go and getting off to the side, she grabbed the pole with all her life and let it pull her all the rest of the way (kind of like waterskiing). Her arms were pretty achey that night!
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@suggul, sorry to hear about the injury slightly spoiling your holiday. We like Saas Fee but have abandoned it (and everywhere else in Switzerland) given the exorbitant cost.

It's not a huge area bit has quite a nice mix with the Plattjen ares too and the snow is generally superb. The one comment I don't quite get is not going to the glacier with your wife because of links at Morenia? You can get all the way to the top without putting skis on via the (agreed far too slow) alpin express and funicular. The run all the way from the top right back to the village is great, though admittedly sounds like it wouldn't suit your wife at the time.
snow conditions     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@Rowlski, sorry I wasn't very clear. Getting to the glacier area was fine. It was where to go after the glacier runs. The way back to the village via Morenia involves a tricky bit on red 10b, which she couldn't have coped with. The alternative would have been to head over towards Langfluh on the long blue and then take the gondola back down to town, but I hadn't gone that way myself and didn't want to lead her to a difficult slope. We'd already had a domestic when I tried guiding her down from Morenia to the chairlift back up!
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@suggul, as t-bars are prevalent in Scandinavia I've been involved in the odd mishap myself and seen a few, so can sympathise.
latest report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Themasterpiece, I tend to fastidiously avoid them. Even if I'm feeling perfectly relaxed and in control whilst using one, there's always a nagging thought that I might cock something up in a minute! Plus, I frequently find my forefoot hurting whilst using them. Must be something about the way I stand when on them I guess.
snow conditions     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@suggul, aha gotcha and can totally understand that Smile Yes the Langfluh route down for someone who is nervous is definitely a good option but given the mood I don't blame you for not risking it! Shame as the Langfluh blue is a great confidence building run but I agree that Saas Fee is not ideal for someone progressing from nursery to up the mountain. Shame as think it is otherwise a lovely, if not huge, ski area.

Sounds like you missed out on the revolving restaurant too then? Though that is also eye watteringly expensive! Happy The views are simply incredible though.
ski holidays     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Rowlski, we managed to get to the revolving restaurant. We went up there on one of the non-skiing days. Got there quite late, though, so only time for a hot chocolate. The views are amazing, and so far reaching. I was shocked to be able to see the Eiger. Missed out on the glacier palace thing, though, as that was already shut by the time we got there. If you've been, is it worth it? Seen the one in Zermatt in the summer, and thought it was just a bit of a novelty.
latest report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Must admit it's been a while since I've been to the ice caves and we went with the kids who thoroughly enjoyed it. I think the were quite impressive but definitely a novelty. Haven't been to the ones in Zermatt for comparison.

I think the view at the top of Saas Fee really is quite something with so many high peaks surrounding it and the amazing glacial scenery. Zermatt similar for scenery (have been - well stayed in Cervinia but didn't get to the ice caves) though, bar the Toblerone shaped peak itself, I think Saas Fee edges it on the scenery front.

Much as I love them both have spent the last few holidays in Austria as it offers so much better value and also some great resorts too. All the best with wherever you go to next.
ski holidays     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Despite being relatively high, Saas-Fee is suffering greatly from years of low snow fall and rising average temperatures. Since I first went there in 1987, at least 5 and possibly 7 red/black runs have disappeared due to glacier melting/withdrawal/thinning.

The biggest concern at the moment is finding a way to maintain the Panorama Hill (the steepish red mentioned from the top down to Morenia). This run is massively steeper and narrower than it has ever be, and no one really knows what is underneath (probably a rocky cliff).
snow conditions     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@suggul, I know you are back now so probably no use, but you can do a lovely lap of the morenia chair exclusively on blues by heading across the top of the snow park. That blue is always deserted and means you only have to traverse the red below morenia rather than ski down it.

We have a family place out there so ski a couple of times a year. It was probably wise not to take your wife down below Spielboden, but the blue with the mega long flat killer T Bar is great for beginners as it is really confidence building, and the red below this down to the chair I think is one of the easier reds and means you can lap either chair, T bar or both, but then definitely get the langfluh and then spielboden lifts down. On your own though the run down from Langfluh to the village is probably my favourite on the Reds and Blacks and way more accessible now the new gondola is in.

We were out there the same week as you and I must say the weather was indeed lovely at the expense of the ability to ski all the way back to our locker. Day 1 on 9th we made it to the main road, day 10 on the 18th we abandoned skis at the big light up piste map...

Did you have a chance to go in to the ice pavillion? Some quite cool stuff in there Smile
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@lampygirl, thanks for your comments. Yes, I did see the blue snaking past the snow park, but after the strop from my wife on the way to the Morenia chairlift via the red (not improved by her falling off when dismounting at the top), we didn't venture that way!
latest report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@suggul We were there the week after you. It was very warm for most of the week 10-15C in the afternoon. Everything below Morenia was mashed potatoes and in some cases quite bumped up by noon.

Despite many hours of private instructions and a couple of dozens days on skis over the years, my wife is not a great skier. I felt that getting her on the mountain wasn't worth worth the likely domestic unpleasantness. I somehow didn't think of the Langfluh option.

Agree with what folks have said about 10B/Panorama. I got a late start my first day and didn't hit Panorama for the first time until about 4PM on a Sunday (the ski area was significantly more crowded on Sunday than during the week), there were significant bumps and the run is fairly steep. One other day the clouds rolled just above 10B. Visibility was zero and people were freaking out. As a key link from the glacier to the rest of the mountain, I'd say it's a major problem. Given the amount of traffic it gets and the shape it's it would be a black in most US resorts. It effectively eliminates people like my wife and Suggul as potential skiers.

I completely agree about the walking. The walk from Felskinn to the Metro Alpin is somewhat absurd. Although it's fantastic that non-skiers, and dogs and very small children etc can make it to the top of hill and enjoy the view.

I'd only experienced T-bars once before, last season in La Thuile. I did a fair bit of observation my first day and watch some unhelpful but hilarious YouTube videos that night and managed to avoid any major disasters. Can't imagine how those T-bars are in bad weather.

The runs on the glacier were pleasant enough but short. From a pure skiing perspective, I'd say that the experience was fairly poor. The extent is very limited compared to many other places with little variety or sense of travel.

Thankfully, I had a good sense of the area and understood that I'd be compromising on skiing at time of booking. The real disappointment was not being able to get my wife on the hill. Had I known that would be the case I'd have booked elsewhere. Also, our last full day in Saas Fee they closed the entire mountain due to avalanche risk. It had snowed overnight, perhaps 10-20cm, and the new snow on top of the very warm weather base created the risk.

That said, I was very charmed by the place and would definitely consider returning. We stayed at the Ferienart Hotel with two small children. We booked this hotel after considering every available option within four hours transfer of Milan because they have an on-site kindergarten willing to handle infants. The children loved the kindergarten and allowed my wife and I to go out to dinner twice without the kids.

We ate at Esstube, Zur Muehle, Chami Stuba, Mistral, Vieux Chalet and Del Ponte among others. Zur Muehle was my favorite. We'd heard and read horror stories about Switzerland and the price of food. We were pleasantly surprised that dinner out was about the same as what we pay at home in NYC. Interestingly, it seemed that all the restaurants were about the same price, with the quality varying significantly. Maybe this is due to the relative price of labor compared to other countries. We were disappointed to find that Valais wine is not good and Italian and French wines were priced similar to what we'd pay at restaurants in the US (ie very expensive).

The views from the revolving restaurant are spectacular, I stopped in for a beer twice during the week. The only thing that made my eyes water was the cost of water. I paid 7 USD/CHF at the revolving restaurant my first day. Back at the hotel that night I did a quick internet search and confirmed what I suspected; Switzerland has some of the best tap water in the world.

Given Switzerland's staid reputation I was pleasantly surprised to see a lively scene at several bars/restaurants near the Felskinn base. Sadly, with two young children I can't comment on the specifics of the apres.

My daughter, almost four at the time, did five mornings with the Eskimos School. The teacher was Dutch and spoke very good English. The class was two children for three of the five days, one additional boy the rest of the time. My daughter was riding the T-bar and making turns by the final day as were the other children.

As with other things in life, the negatives of an experience are often more tangible and easier to describe. But, there is a magic to Saas Fee. The views are stunning compared to anything we Americans can hope to see at home and the car free historic village creates a wonderful atmosphere. We were in Chamonix last winter and the views there are a cut above, but my wife actually preferred Saas Fee.
latest report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@goweje, that's v interesting. Your views echo mine a great deal. I wasn't able to judge the ski area properly, trawling around my wife for the week, but it is small. However, there is an undeniable magic to the place, and we both loved it. The views, the tranquillity, the orderliness, the history and character all add up and compensate somewhat for the skiing. I would consider going back this summer, but given the exchange rates, the prices are prohibitive as a Brit. Maybe from the US it doesn't seem so unreasonable, but compared to holidays in Italy and Austria, there is a marked difference.
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@goweje, Quite a balanced review, but no idea where you got the idea that Swiss wine is not good! Quite the contrary, although you do need either some knowledge or good advise to find the best of it. Maybe consider dinner at The Fletschhorn next time (a michelin star restaurant just outside the village), they have an extensive and amazing cellar of Swiss wines.

One point to make is that Swiss wine in general is quite expensive, if you buy at the bottom end of the scale (Dole and Fendant from cooperatives) on a restaurant wine list the quality will not be great. But you do get what you pay for, as you climb the value scale there really are some amazing wine makers in Switzerland, some of them in the Valais itself.
snow report     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy