Several travel companies have announced they’re offering ski tours to destinations previously considered ‘off the ski map’ this coming winter.   

Untamed Borders, which specialises in winter and summer trips to this type of destination has organised trips to Afghanistan for eight seasons now, and will be back in the Kurdish north of Iraq for the second time this coming winter after an initial trip at the start of this year (pictured top and below).

The area does have one basic ski area with a chairlift, Korek, which is included in the tour, along with participation in Iraq’s first ever ski touring race due to be staged this winter, but the ski area rarely has enough snow for the lift to serve conventional ski runs.  So this is very much a ski touring trip with Untamed Borders having identified some great ski touring terrain.

Full details of the trip, in late January 2018, including costs, practical, logistical and security issues are available here.

The company is also organising several ski trips to Afghanistan (pictured below), also ski touring with previous ski touring experience required, in February and March 2018.

Since the lifting of sanctions Iran’s much more developed ski industry is getting more international exposure.  There are around 20 ski resorts in the country including several with international standard facilities including chairlifts and gondolas.  Some also have ski slopes that are amongst the highest in the world and the country has a great reputation for high quality powder snow.

British tour operator Mountain Heaven, which normally organises holidays in the French and Swiss Alps, is running two trips to ski Iran in March and a second company, Snoworks, is offering an off piste and all-mountain skiing holiday in partnership with Mountain Heaven.  The pictures below were taken by Mountain Heaven director Nick Williams on a research trip to ski Iran last year.

The Snoworks itinerary combines 4 different ski resorts (Dizin, Shemshak, Darbandsar and Tochal) that offer lift serviced skiing with backcountry elements that include ski touring, the trip is open to confident off-piste skiers who are experienced and comfortable in all kinds of terrain.

The Mountain Heaven experience requires less advanced skiing ability and is open to adventurous travellers looking for a different ski holiday experience with some Iranian culture thrown in and is open to those who just want to ski on groomed Iranian pistes.

Director of Snoworks Courses, Phil Smith, said: “Skiing in Iran offers a true adventure, combining amazing culture and unforgettable skiing experiences. We’ll be flying into Tehran with a city stopover before heading high up into the Alborz Mountain Range north of Tehran. Skiing in Iran is little known outside of the country, but there’s an immense mountain range, largely untapped. The off-piste will be mostly lift accessed with the use of skins when access further off-piste is needed.”