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Off-piste skiing in Iran – a different experience

 

 

When first thinking about it, it might appear to be an absurd idea to go to a totalitarian state in the Middle East to go backcountry off-piste skiing. But this is a trip that will give you an unbelievable skiing experience and new insights of a different culture. Iran is safe for travelling and offers great hospitality and kindness from the Iranians. Apart from superb skiing you will experience an exciting culture and quite a few prejudices will be questioned and answered.

There are two mountain chains in Iran, the Alborz Mountains and the Zagros Mountains. Our trips go to the Alborz Mountains offering many peaks over 4000 meters. The highest lift goes up to 3960 meters and offers a vertical from 1000 to 2000 meters. As if this wasn't enough the terrain is excellent for ski touring and by doing short hikes from the top of the lift we can reach amazing skiing.

When we first started to look at this area we found that there were no maps available. We have therefore created our own maps. During our first trip to the area we collected a lot of waypoints by using GPS. Among them you find mountain peaks, lift stations, steep slopes, deep ravines and other important places that we then exported into Google Earth. This gave us pretty detailed maps using satellite pictures with extra coordinates in important places and a great advantage to complement our local knowledge about these mountains.

Program:
The program is flexible and will give you 6 days of skiing. As always, we look for the best snow and weather on sight when planning your week.

Day 1
Flight to Teheran and transfer by taxi to Dizin where we will start our week.

Day 2
We start in Dizin, the largest skiing area in Iran situated 123 km from Teheran in the Gajereh region. The area has a long season, it's possible to ski from November to May. Skiing is on altitude above the tree border. This is where we spend our first day. We can use the lift and go off-piste skiing. The area offers beautiful formations to play among.

Day 3
The second day of skiing will also be spent in the Dizin area where we continue to explore the area close to the lift system in Dizin. If it is required by the snow situation we will hike a short distance to get good snow. On this trip we want you to have ski-touring bindings and climbing skins for your skis so we can reach the best skiing in the area. We will however only walk on short tours and you do not need any previous experience from ski-touring. Your mountain guide will teach you what you need to know.

Day 4
Shemshak is the second largest ski area and was founded back in 1958. It is situated on an altitude from 2550 meters to 3050 meters and the skiing is steeper than in Dizin. To reach Shemshak we take the lift up to Dizin and go by taxi to Shemshak. The day ends by taking a taxi back and a final run down to the hotel in Dizin.

Day 5
We do a ski tour from Dizin to Darbandzar. On our way we have a beautiful view and can see as far as Mt Damavand, a sleeping volcano and the highest mountain in Iran. (See the pictures to the right.) The tour gives us a long beautiful run down to Darbanzar where we take a taxi back and finish the day with a final run down to the hotel in Dizin.

Day 6
This will be our final day in Dizin. There are many nice runs left to do. Some can be reached from the lift system, others by a short hike. There are also runs that end in Dizin village from where we can take a taxi back to the hotel. After a day of skiing we take a taxi to our hotel in the northern part of Teheran for a final day of skiing in Tochal.

Day 7
This final day we have full flexibility to explore within the frames of God's will (insha'Allah). Our plan is to go to Tochal, situated 10 km north of Teheran. A gondola goes up to 3963 meters and a few lifts up here offer high altitude skiing. Tochal is the 5th highest skiing area in the world and the season reaches from December to May. From the top we have a view over Mt Damavand as well as over the city of Teheran.
You can, if you prefer, leave your skis standing and explore the city during this final day. It is all up to you.

Day 8
Transfer to the airport and flight home.

Group Size: Minimum 5, maximum 6.
Guide/Guest Ratio: Max 1:6

Equipment
We recommend semi-fat skis with ski touring bindings and climbing skins. We will use the lifts as far as possible but there will most likely be some ski touring. We recommend skies with a waist of approx. 90-95 mm and ski touring bindings, for example Dynafit or Plum.

Security
This is an area where we cannot count on getting help from a mountain rescue team to the same extent as in the Alps and therefore have to be extra careful when it comes to how and where we ski. The basic security system is based on the knowledge and experience of the mountain guide. We also bring equipment that we normally don't carry such as satellite phone, extra medical equipment on all tours in the area. We also have a doctor in Sweden that can be contacted for medical advice if needed.

Today Iran is a stable country for travelling. At Mountain Guide Travel we stay updated on the situation in the region and before take-off we make a thorough tuning with the embassy and the ministry of foreign affairs to make sure the conditions for a safe journey are favourable. Should a conflict in the area occur so that we cannot guarantee the safety of our guest and staff we reserve the right to cancel the trip. If so you will get your money back or have a possibility to rebook your trip to some of our other trips. Please check the rules for cancellation with your local travel agency when it comes to flights and visa.

Local traditions and laws
Alcohol is prohibited so there will be no hangovers standing in the way for great skiing. All women have to wear veil to cover their hair. In the skiing areas a hat or hood is accepted. In the bigger cities and in public places it is of great importance to follow the local traditions and laws.  

Flights to Teheran
The flights are not included in the price but we can help you find a local contact that will be able to arrange flights and visa.

Included in the price:
• Guiding by authorised mountain guide (UIAGM/IFMGA) all week (6 days skiing)
• All security equipment for off-piste skiing (transceiver, shovel, probe)
• Transfer to/from airport in Iran
• Hotel with breakfast 7 nights (the price is based on staying in a double room, single room can be arranged at an additional charge)
• Magnificent backcountry off-piste skiing in a different culture.

Not included in the price:
• Flights to/from Teheran
• Lunch and dinners
• Fee for the visa application
• Ski passes (approx. 12 euro/day) and insurance for off-piste skiing

If you are a group of people we can arrange trips according to your request. Please contact us on info@mountainguide.se for more information.

 

 

 

 


Number of days: 
Price:  On request min 5 persons


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Stewardesse at Iran Air.      Photo: Andreas Bengtsson


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Important to follow local rules, religious and others.    Photo: Andreas Bengtsson

Jonas Elde in Dizin.     Photo: Andreas Bengtsson

Mats Rylander in Dizin.     Photo: Andreas Bengtsson

Per Wester in Dizin. Photo: Andreas Bengtsson