Resort Report: Saas Fee, Switzerland
Get hitched on ice. That's cool
Sunday 08 February 2004
Where is it?
Where is it?
Saas Fee, the "Pearl of the Alps", lives up to its nickname. Sitting at the foot of Switzerland's highest mountain, the 4,545m Dom, it is an icy world of romance.
A good spot for Valentine's Day?
Perfect. The main street is a maze of handsome hotels and restaurants, while above the village you can impress your date at the world's highest revolving restaurant. If lunch goes well (and it should, at these sky-high prices), slip into the ice palace next door and get hitched in the glacier chapel.
What's the snow like?
Saas Fee is blessed with some of the most snow-sure slopes in the Alps, but wrap up well - in the shadow of 4,000m-plus peaks, the village doesn't warm up until spring.
There are 22 lifts and the main mountain access from the village is via the queue-busting Alpin Express gondola/ cable car, which whisks skiers to Felskinn at 3,000m. From Felskinn, the world's highest underground funicular, the Metro Alpin, takes you up another 500m.
The heavily crevassed ski area has just 100km of piste, but with a vertical drop of 1,700m from the slopes to the village, intermediate skiers should be able to entertain themselves for a week.
Where can I leave the kids?
If kids have replaced romance, then it pays to have lots of them - buy two adult and one child's lift pass, and the rest of your kids ski for free. There's also the Marmots' Club (00 41 27 957 4057) which takes in children up to six years old.
Can I get some air?
Saas Fee is a big snowboarders' hangout, from the Popcorn bar/board shop in the main square to the snowpark on the glacier, equipped with half-pipe, rails and tables.
How much for a lift pass?
A six-day Saas Fee lift pass costs Sfr294 (£128) for adults and Sfr176 for 6-15 year olds. Under-sixes ski for free.
Can I slope off?
Saas Fee has a whole mountain, the Hannig, devoted to sledging and snowshoeing, but honeymooners might prefer to check straight into the Romantik Hotel Beau Site (00 41 27 958 1560), and hit the Finnish sauna, which promises "the tingling thrill of a sparkling spray tower".
Enough exercise. Where can I eat up my francs?
For rustic romance, head towards Saas Almagell and the Bodmen restaurant (00 41 27 957 2075), a country inn that serves up wonderful fondue. Spud-lovers should head for the Domstübli (00 41 27 957 5101) for röstis, while those with sore feet should head to the Papalagi (00 41 27 958 1900), the Alps' first barefoot restaurant.
The No-one Bar is perfect for a post-nuptial glühwein, replete with sofas and armchairs in the snow. Later on, continue celebrations at Nesti's or the boarder-friendly Popcorn Bar.
How do I get there?
From Geneva it's 150 miles to the edge of car-free Saas Fee, where electric taxis take you to your accommodation.
In the area
For the perfect end to your big day, head down the valley to Saas Grund for a moonlit horse-drawn sleigh ride along the Saas valley.
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