A British-based ski company better known for its well-serviced chalets and apartments in the French Alps than for organising ski holidays to what might be considered exotic destinations is to offer packages to Iran next winter.
Mountain Heaven boss Nick Williams visited and skied Iran with his son in spring 2016 after UN sanctions against the country had ended and international trade became possible again. He had hoped to offer holidays for small guided groups there last winter, but faced logistical problems.
“We did not run the trips last year because although we had a lot of interest getting a visa was very complex,” said Nick, “However as Iran now has an embassy open in London, it’s much easier for 2017-18.”
Iran is home to about 20 ski areas and is famous for having some of the highest ski slopes in the world, and some of the best powder snow.
The former Shah of Iran was a keen skier and invested in what was then modern lifts and resorts in the 1960s and 1970s prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979. He even represented Iran himself in international competitions.
Following the Revolution winter sports had a mixed reputation. Reports are varied and many written by right wing media in the West without first hand experience but it appears that snow sports were initially banned as too decadent and ‘unIslamic’ in the 1980s but since the turn of the century have been more accepted and even supported by some religious clerics in the country as being enjoyed to ‘the glory of god.’
Mountain Heaven’s 2018 Iranian Ski Experience tours will both be hosted by Nick Williams and the first will be between the 3rd March to the 12th March and second between the 11th March to the 20th.March.
The price for the experience is £1300 including accommodation (based on 2 people per room) most meals together with all guides and entrance fees.
The price excludes flights to and from Iran, lift passes, insurance and visa charges.
“During the trip not only will we be skiing in three different resorts (Shemshak , Darbansar and Dizin) but we will also be looking around Tehran and the world heritage site of Esfahan,” said Nick, “It will be a truly wonderful experience in this fascinating country.”