Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal or the Saas Valley and is a municipality in the district of Visp in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. The villages in its neighborhood are Saas-Almagell, Saas-Grund and Saas-Balen.
Its location close to the glaciers of the Dom and the Allalinhorn provides winter sport opportunities throughout the year, and neighbouring peaks such as the Weissmies, the Nadelhorn and the Lenzspitze are popular climbs in the summer season. The community is considered to be a very attractive winter sport destination in the Swiss Alps. Typical activities include skiing, carving, snowshoe trekking, canyon climbing and ice climbing.
Saas-Fee offers 22 lifts, including 3 cable cars, 1 funicular railway, 5 gondolas (1 dedicated to walkers), 2 chairlifts, the remainder being surface lifts (draglifts). The ski run has a vertical drop of 1,800 m (5,906 ft), a top elevation of 3,550 m (11,647 ft) and covers 100 km (30 km beginner, 45 km intermediate, 25 km advanced). Other activities include snowboarding (halfpipe and park), paragliding, hang gliding, and tobogganing.
Saas-Fee can be reached by car or bus—postal buses run during much of the day half-hourly from Brig and Visp, though none provides a service beyond the bus terminal through the length of the town during the winter. No cars are allowed to enter the city (they have to be parked in special car parks outside); only small electric vehicles operate on the streets (and some petrol-driven garbage trucks).
The resort offers many culture, sports and off-slope activities, including classical music, a sports and leisure complex, restaurants, and nightclubs. The resort features the highest underground funicular railway in the world up to the skiing area and the highest revolving restaurant in the world at 3,500 m (11,500 feet). The touristic slogan of Saas-Fee is “Die Perle der Alpen” (The pearl of the Alps). The campus of the European Graduate School, is located in Saas-Fee.
Thirteen four-thousand-metre peaks encircle the Valais glacier village of Saas-Fee and its smaller, neighbouring villages of Saas-Balen, Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell. Thanks to its rustic chalets, Saas-Fee – often also termed the «Pearl of the Alps» – has retained much of its traditional charm.
Even the journey to reach Saas-Fee – a route passing through the Saas valley with its scarped gorges and mountainsides – is an experience in itself. In car-free Saas-Fee, private vehicles can be left in the car park at the entrance to the village. The holiday resort of Saas-Fee lies at an altitude of 1800 metres at the foot of the 4545-metre-high Dom. The former village of mountain farmers has become one of the most popular Meccas for snowboarders in Europe. The underground Metro Alpin funicular railway leads right up onto the 3500-metre Mittelallalin. In clear weather, the lights from the Italian metropolis of Milan are visible from the highest revolving restaurant in the Alps. The ski region around the Mittelallalin offers year-round skiing and the 20 glacier pistes serve as a training ground to teams from throughout the world.
In addition to around 300 km of walking paths and numerous themed trails, it is an extraordinary experience to encounter the tame marmots that can be found beneath the Spielboden mountain station. More adventurous visitors might wish to cross the Alpin gorge, the brook gorge between Saas-Fee and Saas-Grund, passing along steep rock walls accompanied by a mountain guide. In the “adventure forest” in Saas Fee, those with a head for heights will be able to venture on various obstacle courses, swinging from a steel cable and passing from tree to tree across rope bridges, as well as whiz through the forest landscape on the «Feeblitz» summer and winter toboggan run. The Saas valley also has a 70-km-long network of mountain-bike tracks and a 3.5-km-long push-scooter route.
With its 22 lifts and 100 km of prepared pistes, the winter ski region of Saas Fee forms the heart of the entire ski region. In addition to Saas-Fee, there is a further ski area in the nearby region of Kreuzboden-Hochsaas above Saas-Grund. Twenty kilometres of winter walking trails and an 8-km-long cross-country ski trail are provided for non-Alpine skiers. Various toboggan runs, such as the 11-km-long toboggan run from Kreuzboden to Saas-Grund offer alternatives to skiing, while husky sled tours in which you can even control the sled yourself by using the necessary instructions are an unforgettable experience.
- Allalin ice pavilion – the secrets of the glacier are vented for visitors within the permanent ice.
- Revolving restaurant – a far-reaching vista across the mountainscape is offered up by the revolving restaurant on the glacier of the Mittelallalin.
- Alpin gorge – fixed rope route crossing of the spectacular brook gorge using rope bridges and tyrolienne cables; only with a mountain guide.
- Adventure park – suspension rope park with courses of varying degrees of difficulty, in front of an impressive glacier backdrop.
- Feeblitz toboggan run – with its 55-degree incline, the tobogganing fun already starts during the ascent. Evening tobogganing on the illuminated route is a special experience.
- Ice Climbing World Cup – the world’s most skilled ice climbers scale the 30-metre-high ice wall in the multi-storey car park of Saas-Fee (February).
- International Alpine Music Festival – the entire village of Saas-Fee becomes a stage for leading names from the world of folk music (July).