What is believed to be the first ski lift to operate in Afghanistan for more than four decades has begun operation.

The lift is the latest development at the Bamyan ski area, located 100 miles west of the country’s capital Kabul.

The rudimentary ski lift, like many of the early ski lifts in North America and Europe, utilises a motorbike engine to pull a simple cable lift. The bottom pulley wheel is fixed in an upturned wheelbarrow.  The lift is reported to have been created by an American family who live locally.

The lift is the latest development since the creation of the annual Afghan Ski Challenge, originally established by a Swiss journalist in 2011 and now organised by the Banyan ski Club, which is a ski touring race over 1.8 miles.

Afghanistan is mountainous and in the winter snowy. The Hindu Kush mountain range reaches a height of 7,492 m (24,580 ft) at Noshaq, Afghanistan’s highest peak. Of the ranges extending southwestward from the Hindu Kush, the Foladi peak (Shah Foladi) of the Baba mountain range (Koh-i-Baba) reaches the greatest height: 5,142 m (16,870 ft). The Safed Koh range, which includes the Tora Bora area, dominates the border area southeast of Kabul.

There is known to have been at least one ski area operating in Afghanistan before the Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979 and the USA began supporting the Taliban in their fight against the Russians beginning four decades of chaos.

The Sari Pul ski area at Chowk-e-Arghande operated 10 miles south of Kabul and had two simple rope tow lifts which served a steep, short slope. For those lifts a Chrysler car engine provided power and the lifts are believed to have operated for about a decade from 1967.