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Fall Skiing: Saas Fee, Switzerland

Features
posted: 04/28/2004

Beta: In the fall, town is sparsely populated with locals and teenage race rats in training. Espresso-addled skiers pile into two trams and an underground train leading to the T-bar on the Mittelallalin Glacier. The gate chasers head for their lanes and the locals to the backcountry above the T-bar, where they ski with views of the Matterhorn. Lunch is potato rösti and a stein in a revolving restaurant at the top of the train line.

Opening Dates: The glacier is open year-round except for three weeks in June (when the locals head for the beaches of the Côte d'Azur).

Snow: Snow falls on the glacier all year. Could be freshies in the fall. Terrain: Situated at 12,000 feet, the glacier offers 121/2 miles of short steep shots, groomed and ungroomed. Hire a guide for a two-hour tour up 13,212-foot Allalin, above the T-bar, then ski the 800-vert, 45-degree nose.

Deals: The "Mischabel Week" package, roughly $250, offers seven nights in a two-star apartment, plus tram passes-and mini-golf! (saas-fee.ch)

Plan B: Join a free pick-up game of soccer on the Astroturf fields near the base of the trams.

Nightlife: Order a marg from the ski-bum mixologists at the Popcorn Bar, a snowboard shop that turns into a smoky pool hall at night. Info: saas-fee.ch, 41-27-958-1858

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