Those longing for pure mountain air, bright blue skies and a snowy winter wonderland surrounded by lofty mountains will love the Saas Valley. Eighteen 4,000-metre peaks – some of the highest in Switzerland – encircle its four rustic mountain villages, and with sunny days 80 percent of the year, a 100- percent chance of snow in winter and the prospect of ascending 4,545 metres above everyday life, there’s no better place to go on holiday than the "Free Republic of Holidays". Skiers, snowboarders and Telemark skiers can whizz down over 140 km of slopes, while cross-country fans can explore the 26 km route between Saas-Balen, Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell or glide along Saas- Fee’s 5 km route. But the Saas Valley has plenty more winter activities on offer, both on and off the slopes.
To give you an idea of just how much is on the activity and events calendar in Saas-Fee and the Saas Valley, here are some top tips for the coming winter.
Those who want to take some time out after their exertions on the pistes can enjoy a range of other winter activities. For adventure-seekers there are the sledging runs in Saas-Fee and Saas-Almagell and the 11 km sledging slope in Saas-Grund. Or how about racing down the Feeblitz toboggan run? Those who like even more action can try adrenaline-pumping activities like ice climbing or snowtubing, and sporty types can visit Bielen leisure centre for a swim or to play tennis or badminton. But the Saas Valley also offers plenty for those who are looking to take it easy. For example, guests can stroll along the well-signposted trails though the picturesque winter landscape – with or without snow shoes. The Saas Museum is well worth a visit too, thanks to its enchanting exhibits that bring the valley’s past to life. There is also a variety of wellness hotels where you can let go of all the stresses and strains of everyday life.
To ease the burden of holiday planning, the Saas Valley also offers numerous guided activities. The guided village tours are a great way to familiarise yourself with the resort. They also feature lots of interesting information about the history of the Saas Valley. During magical torch-lit walks through the snowy forests, visitors can enjoy views of the twinkling villages below, and wine-lovers can discover the fruits of Valais vineyards at various tastings.
Thrill-seekers will love the Gorge Alpine, where they can make their way from Saas-Fee to Saas-Grund via zip-lines, ladders, rope "vines" and suspension bridges, kept safe all the while by a mountain guide and via ferrata safety kit. The gorge is particularly impressive in winter when snow and icicles adorn its walls. The particularly bold can even cross the gorge by night. This extremely cool experience is followed by a warming mug of mulled wine and a cheese fondue.
If you’re not feeling quite that daring, you can enjoy a Nordic walking or snowshoe tour and leave your tracks in the snow on the sunny slopes of the Hannig.
Visitors to Saas-Fee and the Saas Valley can also look forward to a variety of concerts and events. Here are some of the highlights from this winter’s programme:
- Ice Climbing World Cup/Ice on Tour, Saas-Fee (14-21 January 2012).
- Glacier Bike Downhill, Saas-Fee (24 March 2012).
- Migros Grand Prix Final, Saas-Fee (30 March-01 April 2012).
Starts like Didier Cuche and Lara Gut in the biggest youth ski running of Europe! The biggest ski running of Europe for youths between 8 and 15 years offers an unforgettable experience on the ski run for every skier! Whether beginner or ski crack: Completely after the motto "the start is the aim" everyone is welcome to the Grand Prix Migros.
- 15th Schneegaudi at Kreuzboden, Saas-Grund (08 April 2012) .
- 30th Allalin Races, Saas-Fee, Saas-Fee (13-14 April 2012).