Iran is a vibrant nation offering a plethora of amazing things to do. But what comes to your mind when you think of a skiing vacation? North America, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Japan maybe, or even India? Has the Middle East, or more specifically Iran, ever crossed your mind as a skiing destination? Did you know that skiing is one of the oldest sports in Iran? Yes, you read it right! Although Iran is better known to be a desert country, its mountainous areas, featuring high peaks and slopes, are one of the country’s best-kept secrets. As the international sanctions are being a little relaxed these days, Iran is emerging as a skiers’ paradise. With picturesque mountain slopes offering magnificent views of the surroundings and state-of-the-art facilities, Iran will make your skiing experience exciting as well as fulfilling. So, if you are an adventure junkie considering an off-beat location for your skiing holiday, we have compiled a list of the best ski resorts in Iran.
1. Darbandsar Ski Resort
Located in the Tehran Province, it is the second-largest ski resort in Iran, after Dizin. This resort is only at a distance of one hour from eastern Tehran and is easily accessible by road. It is right in the middle of the Alborz Mountain Range near Mount Damavand. The winter sports area is situated between elevations of 2,650 m (8694.2 ft) and 3,150 m (10334.7 ft), which means the challenge is not going to be an issue here. They also have some slopes for off-piste skiing and snowboarding. Beginners can take coaching lessons in skiing here as well. There are a total of five skiing lifts available, the highest one of which goes right up to the top at the height of 3,150 m (10334.7 ft). The best part is that even in peak season, there are comparatively fewer people here.
Darbandsar Ski Resort
Address: Darband Sar, Tehran Province, Iran
Website: Darbandsar Ski Resort
Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 8:30am - 9pm; Tue: 8am - 9pm
2. Dizin Ski Resort
About 43 miles (69.2 kilometers) north of Tehran, this ski resort in Iran is considered to be the largest one in the country. Dizin Ski Resort is located in the Alborz mountain range and is one of the 40 highest ski resorts in the world, the highest ski lift at Dizin reaches up to the altitude of 3,600 m (11811 ft), the highest point in the resort. This place accommodates thousands of people each year, and their ski area includes four gondolas, three chairlifts, and nine surface lifts. If you are a beginner to skiing, you can explore their lower slopes at the height of 2,650 m (8694.2 ft) above sea level. Owing to the resort’s high altitude, the skiing season here lasts from December to May.
Dizin Ski Resort
Address: Alborz Province, Iran
Website: Dizin Ski Resort
Opening hours: 8am - 4pm (daily)
3. Shemshak Ski Resort
Another ski resort situated in the Alborz mountain range northeast of Tehran is Shemshak Ski Resort. This one is the third-largest ski area in Iran that features two chairlifts and three surface lifts. The lowest point of this resort is at 2,550 m (8366 ft) whereas the highest point is at the height of 3,050 m (10006.5 ft) above sea level. One of the major highlights of this resort is the availability of night skiing facilities. Shemshak has always been suitable for advanced skiers as the slopes here are pretty steep and hence, difficult. The ski season here generally lasts for four months (December to late March).
Shemshak Ski Resort
Address: Shemshak, Tehran Province, Iran
Website: Shemshak Ski Resort
4. Sahand Ski Resort
Located near the city of Tabriz in northwestern Iran, Sahand Ski Resort is on the northern slopes of Mount Sahand. With two chair lifts and one surface lift, the winter sports area here is situated between the elevations of 2,915 m(9563.7 ft) and 3,295 m (10810.4 ft). Catering primarily to the beginners and intermediate skiers, they have a ski school to teach you all the nitty-gritty of the sport. Moreover, if you are not carrying your own skiing equipment, there is also a place in the resort where you can rent the same at an affordable price. The skiing season here is usually between January to mid-March.
Sahand Ski Resort
Address: Bostan Abad, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran
Website: Sahand Ski Resort
5. Yam Ski Resort
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Also known as Payam Ski Resort, this is a pretty skiing resort located in Marand in the East Azerbaijan Province of Iran. Situated in the northern foothills of Mishodaghi Mount, this is one of the oldest ski resorts in Iran, which are still operational. The lowest point of this resort is 1,800 m (5905.5 ft) above sea level and the highest point stands at 2,855 m (9366.8 ft). This family-friendly place also has plenty of facilities for snowboarding and snow tubing, apart from just skiing. If you are a beginner, you can take a crash course in their ski school to learn the basics of the sport. The skiing season here is generally between January to the end of March.
Yam Ski Resort
Address: East Azerbaijan Province, Yam, Tabriz - Marand Highway, Iran
Website: Yam Ski Resort
6. Abali Ski Resort
The first-ever mechanical ski lifts in Iran was installed at Abali Ski Resort. Sitting at a distance of about 35 miles (56.3 kilometers) northeast of Tehran in Abali city, this mighty skiers’ paradise features one cable car, five platter lifts, and three button lifts to carry skiers to the elevation of 2,650 m (8694.2 ft). The lowest ski run here lies at 2,400 m (3862.4 ft) above sea level, whereas the highest point is at 2,800 m (9186.4 ft). It is suitable for both beginner and expert skiers, as well as snowboarders. The skiing season here is from December to March.
Abali Ski Resort
Address: Tehran Province, Mosha, Haraz Road, Iran
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
7. Pooladkaf Ski Resort
Inaugurated in 2002, the Pooladkaf Ski Resort in southwest Iran is a fairly new establishment. With the base elevation of 2,810 m (9219.2 ft) and a top elevation of 3,231 m (10600.4 ft), this resort features 8 ski runs, 1 gondola, and 3 chairlifts. Snowmaking and night skiing are also possible here, which is why it is one of the most popular ski resorts in the country. Snowmobiles and ATVs are available here too. At the top station of the gondola, there is a small guest house, a restaurant, and a coffee shop. The skiing season here is from December to the end of March.
Pooladkaf Ski Resort
Address: Fars Province, Iran
Website: Pooladkaf Ski Resort
8. Tochal International Ski Resort & Complex
Situated to the northwest of Tehran in the affluent neighborhood of Velenjak, Tochal International Ski Resort & Complex is a fool-proof skiing resort in itself. It features the famous Tochal Telecabin, one of the longest gondola lift lines in the world. The lift line begins at the altitude of 1,900 m (6233.6 ft) and carries people up to the height of 3,740 m (12270 ft) near the main ridge of Mount Tochal. The fifth highest resort in the world, Tochal entertains skiers from November to the end of May every year.
Tochal International Ski Resort & Complex
Address: Tehran Province, Iran
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 8am - 2:30pm (closed on Mon)
9. Shirbad Ski Resort
For those looking to go on a family skiing adventure, Shirbad Ski Resort is a great option to explore. This family-friendly skiing complex also offers snowboarding, snow tubing, and mountaineering opportunities, apart from mere skiing. If you fancy a leisurely stroll among snowy mountains, this place won’t disappoint you as well. The lowest point of this resort is at the altitude of 2,700 m (8858..3 ft) from the sea level, while the highest one is at 2,900 m (9514.4 ft). Supporting all levels of skiers, this resort boasts a ski school, a restaurant, and a clinic, among other facilities. The best time to visit this resort is between mid-December and late May.
Shirbad Ski Resort
Address: Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran
Website: Shirbad Ski Resort
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 9am - 3pm; Fri: 24 hrs (closed on Sat)
10. Kakan Ski Resort
Only about 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) from Yasuj city in the Fars Province of Iran, Kakan Ski Resort, also known as Dena Ski Resort, is situated at the foothills of the Zagros Mountain range. It is a small resort offering a single slope, two ski lifts, and two rope tows. There is a small restaurant at the bottom of the resort, but there are no lodging facilities on site. So, people wanting to ski at this particular establishment need to go back to Yasuj city where they can find ample accommodation options. Take your own skiing equipment along as the resort doesn’t have any renting facilities. In January and February every year, the annual winter festival is held in Kakan.
Kakan Ski Resort
Address: Kakan, Yasuj-Eqlid Rd, Fars Province, Yasuj, Iran
Make the most of your Iranian skiing adventure
If you’re thinking of skiing in Iran this season, there are many great options to explore for skiing enthusiasts. The best part is that you don’t have to be an expert skier to book your adventure at these resorts; most of these places have skiing schools as well. So, when you decide to go to Iran on your skiing vacation, make sure you go through all the facilities offered by these resorts and then make a wise choice! Also, before you leave this dazzling country, you should know what to buy as a souvenir to remember this colorful destination.
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