Ski Iran

The idea of skiing in Iran may seem a contradiction given the country’s international reputation as a regime not keen on decadent Western leisure concepts and also geographically as a hot, oil rich desert nation.

Dig below these stereotypes however and you find a nation which is keen to ski, particularly its wealthier citizens (as in most nations) and geographically with high mountains that have allowed the country to build some of the world’s highest ski lifts and slopes in its high Alborz mountains.

Iran is also blessed with up to seven metres (21 feet) of light, dry powder snow each winter and conditions between snowfalls are generally sunny.

Indeed Iran has at least 25 ski areas – more now than ever before, several of them among the world’s 20 highest in terms of their top lift heights. An extremely mountainous country, Iran has over a million square kilometres of highland terrain.

However skiing did exist in the country for nearly 50 years before the Islamic Revolution, reportedly introduced by German railway engineers working on contracts in the country in the early 1930s.

Tochal is one of Iran’s best known ski areas with a base not far from the capital Tehran (60km/37 miles) away and rising to include one of the world's highest lifts at around 3850m. An eight kilometre (five mile) long three-stage gondola lift which the Iranians say was the highest and longest in the world when it was built, the Télé Kabiné Tochal, accesses the slopes.

One of Iran’s biggest resorts, Dizin, was created by the Shah in the late 1960s on the French purpose-built resort model of the time. Located a few hours north of Tehran it has nearly 1000m of vertical right up to 3600m and the ubiquitous concrete apartment blocks. It has recently had a complete overhaul of its lifts and offers a very 21st century ski experience now.

The modern history of skiing in Iran is difficult to piece together accurately. It appears that immediately after the Islamic revolution in 1979 skiing was seen as a decadent Western symbol (the fondness of the former Shah for the sport clearly counted against it) and ski areas were closed for up to five years before another take on skiing began to be accepted – that it was an activity of human endeavour to the glory of god and not such a bad thing.

Reports of skiing in Iran through the later 1980s and 1990s talked of a people who loved to ski but where strict Islamic laws meant men and women had to ride on separate chair lifts on gondola cabins and ski on sexually segregated pistes. However Iranian skiers who know their country’s skiing have disputed whether this was ever happened and say it was more likely Western media propaganda.

The most recent reports suggest Iran has been investing in building new lifts, creating new ski areas, that the Iranian people are exceptionally welcoming and hospitable and that while there are certain standards in the relationship between men and women on the slopes which seem conservative in Western society, they are rarely if ever really oppressive or enforced.

In an unusual twist Iran has been a major venue for grass skiing competitions in the summer in recent years – an activity that was briefly popular in Europe in the 1970s and ‘80s it involves descending grassy summer slopes on kind of giant roller blades with mini tank tracks on them.
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Iran: latest snow conditions round-up

Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in Iran. Fresh snow is forecast at 11 resorts. Powder is reported at 0 resorts and 0 are reporting good piste conditions.

Recent Eyeball Snow Reports for Iran

All resorts

Ski resorts of Iran, alphabetically

Resort
snow depth
top and bottom

on-piste

off-piste

Last Snow

Next 9 Days
0–3 | 3–6 | 6–9
snow (cm)
Next 5 days weather forecast.
Freezing level (m)
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri

(2399m — 2649m)

snow report yesterday

13 cm
yesterday
14
5
14
light snow clear clear part cloud clear
Mid station 2524 m
1650m 650m 850m 900m 450m

(3055m — 3195m)

snow report today

36 cm
today
4
4
4
light snow clear clear light snow clear
Mid station 3125 m
0m 0m 700m 300m 0m

(2638m — 3558m)

snow report today

19 cm
today
46
10
46
mod snow clear clear light snow clear
Mid station 3098 m
1450m 600m 1100m 1000m 0m

(2649m — 3599m)

snow report today

17 cm
today
42
10
42
mod snow clear clear light snow clear
Mid station 3124 m
1450m 450m 900m 800m 0m

(4147m — 5671m)

snow report 2 days ago

5 cm
2 days ago
5
1
5
light snow clear clear part cloud clear
Mid station 4909 m
1400m 750m 1050m 1050m 550m

(2810m — 3231m)

snow report yesterday

39 cm
yesterday
4
1
4
part cloud snow showers clear part cloud clear
Mid station 3020 m
1400m 1650m 1150m 1150m 600m

(2915m — 3295m)

snow report today

27 cm
today
1
13
1
light snow clear clear light snow clear
Mid station 3105 m
0m 0m 550m 0m 0m

(2374m — 2655m)

snow report yesterday

32 cm
yesterday
4
3
4
snow showers snow showers clear part cloud clear
Mid station 2514 m
1500m 1700m 1300m 1300m 550m

(2549m — 3049m)

snow report today

19 cm
today
45
10
45
mod snow clear clear light snow clear
Mid station 2799 m
1450m 650m 1150m 1000m 0m

(2594m — 2979m)

snow report today

10 cm
today
9
6
9
light snow clear clear mod snow clear
Mid station 2786 m
1700m 750m 850m 600m 0m

(1771m — 3901m)

snow report today

15 cm
today
29
7
29
mod snow clear clear light snow clear
Mid station 2836 m
1600m 750m 1100m 1050m 350m