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Saas Fee - completely conflicting reviews!!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Morning all,

Just booked a week over NY in Saas Almagell / Saas Fee. Chose it on the strength of the Telegraph review

Saas-Fee’s ski area is ideal for confident-beginners and leisurely intermediates who want runs with great snow and are happy to cover the same ground several times in a week.
The glacier area and most of the top half of the mountain are ideal for them. Even runs that are marked red here are generally very gentle, and would be classified blue in many resorts.


And..

the glacier area and most of the top half of the mountain are also ideal for beginners with glorious easy blue runs up at altitude. Saas Fee has a friendly atmosphere and is good for families

Since then I've read a fair bit which completely contradicts that! Such as this from snow online...

We found one of Saas Fee's greatest strengths to be its numerous difficult trails.....It was only in the Beginners and Families categories that Saas Fee showed slight weaknesses. There just weren't enough easy - blue - trails.

Could be a confidence boosting week of excitement and improvement..or a week of grimly holding on Shocked
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@obmij, welcome to SH's, I have skied Sass Fee a lot and I would not call it beginner friendly at all.. the glacier is defo not..

check the piste maps and what is open every morning before setting off as depending what runs/lifts are open you could end up having to negotiate some very steep terrain.
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 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?
Skimott..thanks for the welcome and the info.

Here is the review if you're interested https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ski/resort-guides/switzerland/saas-fee/saas-fee-ski-holiday-guide/

I suppose I'm going to have to get up to speed pretty quickly. Any obvious runs to avoid / areas to head to? Also any idea how Almagell is? Again widley conflicting reviews out there..

Btw this will be my 3rd week (ish)
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
at three weeks you should be okay, I would beg to differ on "beginner" friendly though!!

I would avoid the top station Mittelallalin as the T bars can be slow and steep, also depending if FR and IT stay closed you may find race teams will be training up there and taking up a lot of real estate with gates. also avoid the Langflu bit , the black run is quite butch and the red can get chopped up...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Definately not beginner friendly, the pitch of pistes is pretty steep and mostly red, there are some blues but they tend to be short and limited.

For complete beginners the drag lifts serve a nice easy piste just outside main village in Saas Fee (with a short "blue" through the forest) but if you've done 2 weeks already they might be too flat for you.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Saas Fee is a great place ,I would have opted to stay up there rather than down in Saas Almagell

Its a lovely Swiss village surrounded by amazing glaciated mountains

The runs on the glacier are great and having T Bars on a glacier is normal enjoy them probably as Covid safe as anything
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Saas_Fee is one of my favourites, particularly for a late season trip.

Excellent place for a first-timer with superb nursery slopes. But not so great for progressing - limited number of blues and the reds are definitely red. You see a lot of downloading by lift at the end of the day. T-bars, too, can be a little bit intimidating for some. Not a great place in bad weather, either, and the lift system can close down (been hurried off the mountain by the ski patrol on more than one occasion!)

There is a small amount of easy skiing at Saas Almagell but not enough for more than a morning or afternoon, to be honest.

There are some excellent ski schools in Saas Fee - the Zenit is particularly recommended.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Sass fee is a perfect intermediates resort.

Good selection of cruisey plateau blue runs and the occasional unavoidable steep red section.

With 3 weeks experience you'll love the place.

Bambi beginners might struggle.

Resort is high altitude and snowsure, if a little bit dull in nightlife.
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 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.
There are also a lot of beginners runs right at the bottom.

My wife is a 60 year old intermediate and skied all the glacier runs and higher blues without any stress because it was easy to download when she'd had enough.

She would definitely go back, especially for the shopping!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
With a couple of weeks under the belt the best solution would be to take a couple of mornings with a ski instructor.
Build confidence, improve skills, get acquainted with the area and learn from the local pros.
This alone would swing the whole experience into a positive review once you return from your hols.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@obmij, If you are after lessons check out skizenit, two mates of mine work there and are very experienced instructors, Ben or Ally
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 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.
skimottaret wrote:
@obmij, If you are after lessons check out skizenit, two mates of mine work there and are very experienced instructors, Ben or Ally


I recommended Ski Zenit earlier and I would endorse the commendation for Ally. The rather nervous Mrs LOTA made great progress with his guidance and I had a couple of excellent private lessons with him, too. First class.
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 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
I was pleased to hear you are giving Saas Fee a go, obmij, as it is my favourite place to ski. Have been many times both with the children when they learnt to ski and now once a season with friends from a Meetup ski club.

I like to describe the resort as Top Gear once did of French car engineering : "bonkers but brilliant". Reasons being: making it a car-free resort but having no train connection, being situated over a gorge that neatly cuts off the main lift (the Alpin- laughingly named "Express") from the rest of the town, the two main piste areas that only connect at a lung-busting altitude of 3300m, plus the Plattjen appended to the side as if it was an afterthought. I could go on.

But the charm of the town, and the scenery even as seen on the bus on the way up is immense and the continuous run from top to bottom never fails to exhilarate with its height difference of over 1500m. I like that there is a lot of accommodation to choose from, including the rather luxurious "Wellness Hostel 4000", and lots of 3 star hotels that are still mostly family owned. I've been over 12 times now and never stayed in the same place twice. (No, it is not because I have ever been banned.) There's also the link to Wham and the video for "Last Christmas" - watch them get in the Felskinn cable car and marvel at their inability to do any actual skiing.

I agree with the tips from the others about the skiing. Add just these tips:

It is worth taking the T-bar to the Egginerjoch as the red down has some fun rollers.

Good to do the Plattjen in the afternoon when it gets the sun. Maybe like me you'll be lucky there to have a ski instructor that takes you away and through the trees before exploding back on the piste.

Be wary of the red below Morenia that leads back to the village. There must be a gravity Mystery Spot or dwell point down on the right hand side that insistently tugs you toward it. No problem initially as the piste is super wide but worth resisting as it is not nice to be bunched up at the bottom when lining up for the tight exit that is best done at speed.

And then there's the WOD (my term meaning Wall Of Death) on the red above the Morenia lift arrival point. It looks worse than it is actually. Was amused at a report of it from a friend who emailed me later: "James was in front of me and said "<<skinomad>> warned us to be careful of this bit", speaking as his head rapidly descended below the level of my ski boots while I was waiting to go".

When taking the Metro Alpin (Tube train) to the top it is good to walk up the steps at the bottom to get in a carriage near the top. Because walking up the steps at the top when you exit from a low carriage can be knackering at that altitude.

Recommend to eat on the mountain in the Morenia with lots of space big range of food and renovated not too long ago. Or the Gletschergrotte if you don't mind skiing the bumpy little path to it just off-piste. In town, the Dom Bar is a pleasant place to drink and the Boccalino has a great welcome and excellent pizzas.

I noticed you mentioned Saas Almagell as well and wondered how you were planning to fit that in, what with it being a different place to Saas Fee and not connected by piste. Nice place to do once, but if you are "doing the Saases" then be sure to include Saas Grund as well. It goes up to 3000m too. That's where once a SCGB leader took a look at the fog and said to me and the group "I'm not going down in that". He then took the lift alone back down leaving us somewhat astonished at being abandoned. But then a ski teacher went by and we tacked ourselves to the trail of toddlers on skis in her wake and made it back with no misadventure.

So to sum up: Saas-Fee is quirky, but charming and interesting. My sort of place.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
You will like Sass Fee a lot, it is a pleasant village with amazing scenery and the slopes will suit you just fine. All my kids learnt to ski there and had no problem progressing to the main slopes. The ski schools all take 2nd week skiers up to the main slopes. I do agree that the slopes back to the village have a few steeper sections, however, so you may want to consider taking the cable car back down to start with. I would actually say that it lacks "difficult trails", none of the pisted slopes are particularly steep and I would not recommend it to advanced skiers unless they are competent off-piste and touring. We still ski there every year as a family in the spring, be aware that it can be cold and shady early in the winter.

I second the comments on Ski Zenit - but be aware that whilst following the merger with Optimum they were running group lessons, they are very unlikely to do so this winter. A day or two with one of their private instructors may seem expensive but will be the best value for money you have experienced in the Alps, trust me!

You do not say if you have kids, or any absolute beginners in your party. If you do I am happy to give more specific advice.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
You will be fine.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Saas Fee is fine. We went as 2nd week skiers and had a great time.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks to all for the comments & tips.

I will almost certainly take a couple of lessons and will check out Zenit, thanks for the tip.

Zikomo - 1 kid, ideally we would like him to be in group lessons for the social aspect as much as anything, but not sure whether this will be possible as the schools only seem to run Monday to Friday (arriving Wed), plus time of year is a little awkward. Also one non skier plus myself.

Anyway - definitely looking forward to the trip, although still a little pi55ed off with the Telegraph!
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 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?
@obmij, You are right, group lessons may not work. If your kid is very young and just starting, the red school will probably take him in the snow garden on a daily basis though.
Sass Fee is ideal for your non-skier, it is a lovely village and easy to get up the mountain as the access is gondola or cable car.
I would normally give you some restaurant recommendations also, but no point this year!
You will enjoy it I am sure.
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