140 kilometres per hour on ice and snow

When the starting pistol sounds for the Glacier Bike Downhill, more than 200 people jump on their bicycles and tackle the ski slopes from Mittelallalin to Saas-Fee. Mountain bike guide Kyle Harris explains. “Before the starting pistol fires, a deathly quiet reigns. Nobody moves. The only sound is the icy wind swirling around us and the thumping of my own heart. The atmosphere is electric as we wait for the moment. ...

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“We have an understanding, the glacier and I”

By the time Thomas Zurbriggen has finished his work, the glacier piste in Saas-Grund looks just like any other ski run. But below the perfect corduroy lies ice. This is the story of how Thomas creates an immaculate piste on top of a glacier. The snow cracks under the snowcat’s caterpillar tracks. The vehicle comes to a sudden, jerky halt, shaking the cabin and the driver inside. Thomas pushes the accelerator ...

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A new chapter in an eventful story

The Walliserhof Grand-Hotel & Spa celebrates its reopening in December 2019. This is a glimpse at the storied history of one of Saas-Fee’s iconic establishments. She frantically tightens her bright, chiffon sarong around her hips and adjusts her beach hat. Then she wipes a bead of sweat from her lip, takes a deep breath, and plunges back into the Walliserhof events hall, a tray full of cocktails in one hand. ...

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When life gives you lemons

Ski cross athlete Fanny Smith on her life, successes, and how she grew to be a fighter. Or: how to deal with life’s obstacles and find the right mindset. A conversation over a cappuccino. Sunlight bathes the Mischabel Chain in gold as we cross the road. For a split second, she looks up, wistfully almost, at the snow-covered Allalin. She wants to be up there, skis on her feet and ...

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Carpe diem with WanderFritz!

Fritz Hegi has been hiking all over Switzerland for the last 15 years. Over the last six he has become known as WanderFritz, the author of four hiking books. On chatting to him, it is clear that hiking is just one small part of a greater philosophy of life. WanderFritz was born in a soup pot in Bern. Six times a year, journalist and Mr. Glückskette, Roland Jeanneret, invites friends and ...

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ICARUS 2.0

He’s unstoppable, unyielding, tempestuous. A professional snowboarder, a musician, and a free spirit. Acknowledging no limits, accepting no norms, no hurdles can slow him down. Pat Burgener has flown to the sun and beyond – and kept his wings intact. Pat Burgener was born in Lausanne in 1994, the middle child of three brothers. Max, Pat, and Marc-Antoine – three sons whose parents expected them to play one sport and one ...

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The Parkitect

Every autumn, the world’s leading freeski and snowboard stars paint an ephemeral dance of freedom in the skies above Saas-Fee. The Stomping Grounds founder Charles Beckinsale tells us more. Saas-Fee is a quiet place. Unhurried – idyllic, even. In summer and early autumn, it’s mostly seniors, families and 35 plus-ers strolling through the streets, hiking through the surrounding woods and filling up sun terraces. Then all of a sudden, come early ...

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Saas Valley wildlife

Hunters and gamekeepers sound like they should be on opposite ends of the spectrum. After all, their occupations serve conflicting purposes. But, actually, they are closely connected. Saas Valley chamois, marmots, eagles, bearded vultures, roe deer, red deer, field and mountain hares, badgers, foxes, grouse, and martens… They all have one thing in common: Helmut Anthamatten, the Saas Valley’s gamekeeper for the last 33 years. His job is to protect ...

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At the end of the world and at the very centre of it

Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Carl Zuckmayer fled to Switzerland, and eventually ended up visiting Saas-Fee. What was to become his lifelong love for the place struck him like a thunderbolt in 1938. “As you reach village level, you round a corner and all of a sudden come face to face with the mountains. It’s a view like no other. You're standing at the end of the world ...

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