It was a four day holiday weekend in Switzerland for Easter. The prime ski season at most areas is winding down (quite literally melting as the weather warms for spring) so we took our co worker’s advice and booked an Airbnb in Saas-Fee from Friday to Monday. Saas-Fee is one of the higher elevation ski villages known for still having good snow later in the winter. We were not disappointed!
We arrived Friday afternoon during a snow storm, which gave 5ish inches of fresh snow for skiing. The village is relatively small and easily walkable from one end of the main street to the other within ten minutes. There are tons of restaurants, shops, and bars to keep you busy when you aren’t on the slopes. During our visit we enjoyed dinner Friday at Ristorante Don Ciccio, Sunday at Restaurant Bristol and had a great time for the Saturday aprés-ski party at The Larix.
The ski resort has a few cool things I’ve never seen before. First, to get up to the top of the mountain you take two long cable cars followed by an underground furnicular that they call the “Alpine Metro” which was kind of like a subway that takes you up inside the mountain. To get to the top it took us at least 45 minutes but it is pretty amazing how fast they can get you from 1,800 m (5,900 ft) at the base of the village to 3500 m (11,500 ft) at the top. Second, because the pistes at the top of the mountain resort are on a glacier and the glacier is moving, you cannot install permanent lift systems. Instead, they have “t-bars” or “poma lifts” (if you’re curious, here’s a description). True Jessica style, I fell down trying to get on at one point and a very sweet old Swiss German man helped me stand up and get on safely. Our conversation on the ride up was limited but I managed to use some of my high school German skills with him and say thank you 🙂 Not surprisingly if you know my ability to get myself lost or in stupid situations, this was not the first time that an elderly Swiss German man would help me out for the day. At the end of the ski day I found myself on what I thought was the “easy way down” the mountain (while Andrew took the direct and more advanced route) and instead hesitated in front of a sign saying “for good skiers only.” As I stood there considering whether I felt like braving it, an elderly man skiing by, stopped next to me staring at the sign and gave his sage advice, “You should not do this.” Clearly he should know, so I hopped on the lift and took a series of gondolas down the mountain and joined up with Andrew who had already been at aprés-ski for an hour 🙂
Third, the glacier we were skiing on was massive and had amazing features. The pistes were literally surrounded by visible crevasses and glacier ice. Certainly important to stick to the piste for safety purposes and wow was beautiful!
Andrew and I finished the weekend by stopping midway on our drive home in Leukerbad at the Walliser Alpentherme. Again, we aren’t allowed to take pictures inside these places since you cannot take your phone in but if you check the link and look at the photos … the views were incredible from the thermal baths! It was the perfect way to treat our tired muscles after skiing and, well … it’s just relaxing 🙂
So, March was a busy month of weekend travel and skiing. I think I can speak for Andrew and I both to say that we have been so thankful to have these opportunities in Switzerland. It really is amazing to look back over the past four weeks and think about all we have seen and done. We both work hard during the week and our weekday life is truly not that exciting (which I do not bore you with on the blog). We are fortunate to get to be weekend warriors and explore all this country has available within a couple hours drive of our home in Lausanne. But the fun isn’t over (it never is, is it?), next up: Our good friends Kim and Cody will be visiting from SF this upcoming weekend as they do a Swiss vacation before a work trip to Ireland. So excited for their arrival and to show them around 🙂