Cover photo: Puzzle Media
Saas-Fee is THE place to train in late-summer and autumn for both up-and-comers and seasoned pros alike. In recent years, that has been pretty much the end of it, with few skiers beyond those trying to add that extra spin or grab to improve their comp run venturing out on to the Fee Glacier. There were good reasons why that was the case. The park, while incredible for the very best skiers, offered little in the way of features accessible to those who wanted to take it more chilled. Last summer's hiring of Marcel Brunisholz, formerly the mastermind behind Zermatt Snowpark, has changed that.
After a couple of years of offering little on the rail and jib side, the Saas-Fee park has seen dramatic improvements since last summer. It still doesn't have the creativity that Marcel brought to Zermatt, but you can now hit 15 rails of varying difficulties in a single lap. Things range from low flat bars perfect for your first slides to a gigantic cannon tube you could spin your age on. The terrain of the main park is pretty steep, which makes it difficult to build low-speed rails for tech tricks, so it still isn't the best park for that kind of skiing. But there's far more variety than there has been in recent years and things will no doubt get more creative as the season goes on.
Saas-Fee is famous for its jumps and they are certainly the highlight of the park. With super-wide takeoffs and long landings, the main jumps rival anything in the world at the moment. I've seen comfortable dubs on all three of the jumps in the big line already. They will grow as the season progresses, certainly by the time The Stomping Grounds comes to town in October. But even now, they're big enough for just about anything even the craziest of jump skiers would care to throw (see Fabian B's dub 19 for evidence). There's also a separate line of three medium-sized jumps, which are great for progression and more chill laps. Even the first of those has had kids throwing cork 9s, so nothing is tiny. It's not a great place for jumps if you aren't already fairly confident with airtime but for everyone else, it's everything you could wish for in summer. Oh and there's a boosty new hip at the bottom of the park too.
Traditionally, it's more of a team vibe than a crew hangout, with coaches on the knuckles and at the top of the inruns. Everyone is still super friendly, but it's not the chill-out, have a beer and a smoke with your homies vibe that you get in some summer parks. Increasingly, there are more casual skiers coming through to film, so I would say things slowly changing now that the park has more to attract your everyday park skier. Noah Albaladejo is here shaping and sliming his way around the park, which is pretty much all the vibe/inspo you need. Definitely the best the vibe has been here in years.
It takes about 35 minutes to get from town to the glacier via two gondolas and an underground funicular. The main summer ski area is served by two t-bars, with a further t-bar lower down that doesn't give access to the park. The park doesn't have its own lift, so things have got busy in the past with a combo of park skiers and racers using the same lift, but so far this summer the queues have been non-existent. At the end of the day, you take the same t-bar to the top of the ski area and ski down to the funicular station.
This should go without saying, but the Saas-Fee glacier is pretty gnarly, so you do NOT want to leave the marked runs in summer. The best spot for a beer after skiing is the Felskinn Restaurant at the bottom of the funicular, which has both more friendly staff and more reasonable (by Swiss standards) prices than the restaurant at the top station. The town is pretty quiet in summer, but there's plenty to do beyond skiing, with great bouldering and sport climbing, mountain biking, tennis, beach volleyball and more. I could go on and on here because I've skied in Saas-Fee since I was 5 years old, but I won't. Feel free to hit me up if you have any questions!