Spot Check: Saas Fee, Switzerland

Saas Fee, Switzerland

Saas Fee is a little village located in the highest mountain range of Switzerland. Despite its high elevation, it’s primarily a summer resort; the mountain is almost entirely a glacier. Saas Fe is only a three-hour car ride from Zurich and even less from Geneva. If you drive your own car you’ll have to leave it in one of the parking lots (the village is car-free), which tends to be very expensive and will run you about thirteen Swiss francs a day (approximately eight dollars). Once you’re in the village, you can walk everywhere very easily.

The gondola leaves from the middle of town and takes you partway up the mountain before you need to switch to another gondola and finally the Metro Alpin, which takes you to the top of the mountain via an underground tunnel. The top of the glacier has two T-bars and is really big. It’s above the treeline and fairly flat, so it’s not the most challenging terrain for the advanced rider during wintertime. There are a couple of steep slopes for cruising, but don’t go outside the markers¿big crevasses are waiting to eat you. No one leaves the groomed runs for fear of them. In winter, if you’re willing to play a little Russian roulette, you can get some good powder right next to the runs, but it’s better to ride the lower mountain, the Speilboden/Langfluh tram, where there are some nice trees and the snow is usually good.

When summertime rolls around, Saas Fe is the place to be. Its two halfpipes, BoarderX course, and multiple kickers are well taken care of and groomed often. In addition to all the fun-filled freestyle action, you’ll also find several private race courses, where all the girls and guys who like to wear tight suits will be found speeding through gates. Back in the little city of Saas Fe there’s a skatepark with a smooth mini ramp and some street obstacles. Hotels in every price range are plentiful and easy to find. As for groceries, in order to save money (which is a hard thing to do here), you’ll need to stop in Saas Grund, the town at the bottom of the valley, to stock up on supplies. At night there’s always a party going on at one of the bars; the most popular is the Popcorn because the beer is cheap and they don’t require ID.¿Gian Simmen