Ski resorts draw thousands of tourists in Iran

December 27, 2018 - 9:36

TEHRAN – The snow-capped highlands above Tehran are home to some of the world’s top ski resorts which offer powder chasers refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Nestled in the foothills of the Alborz Mountains, Dizin, Tochal, Shemshak and Darbandsar are all under-two-hour drive north from Tehran.

They are elevated enough to retain their snow quite well as the season usually stretches from November all the way through to May.

Here is a look into the resorts, which are dotted across the rugged Alborz mountain range.

Dizin

Established in 1969, Dizin is the most important ski area not only in Iran but the Middle East, a region not noted for much snow except at higher elevations in winter.

Located some 120km north of Tehran, Dizin is equipped with three gondolas and 12 chairlifts. It takes around two hours to get there if the road is quite clear.

It reaches an altitude of 3,600 meters. Terrain at this resort is great for those intermediate skiers and boarders trying to move into that more advanced category.

It also offers smaller and easier hikes for skiers and boarders beginning to dabble in backcountry terrain. Overall, Dizin may be best for intermediates.

Since the resort is very busy on weekends and holidays, for those wishing to escape crowds it might be preferable to get there midweek.

The Chalous Road, in northern Karaj, will take you to Dizin Ski Resort, or from northeastern Tehran there is a route from Fasham Road on to Shemshak Road and eventually to Shemshak-Dizin Road directly to Dizin.

Shemshak and Darbandsar

Shemshak and Darbandsar are neighbors. They are situated on the breathtaking road to Dizin that starts from northeast Tehran.

Despite Shemshak and Darbandsar are both smaller than Dizin, they boast remarkable terrain on-piste and towering mountains behind.

Shemshak has two main lifts which are double chairs. Visitors will be astound with mountain vistas, and some very nice off-piste runs.

Darbandsar is a little smaller and it has a sole main lift. The resort is sloped on one side which means you are skiing on the side of the mountain a little bit.

Tochal

The smallest of the four, Tochal can be reached via a four-mile journey by cable car that leaves from the northern suburbs of Tehran. At 3963m, Tochal ski resort is the fifth highest resort in the world, ensuring a long season from December to at least April and sometimes June.

Tochal is good for convenience and price, but the better terrain may be found at the other resorts.

When it comes to comfortable accommodation, both Dizin and Shemshak have large hotels that will almost always have space. There are also several privately-owned cottages around that can be rented out. Prices for these vary on the quality of the cottage. Nightlife can be limited in resorts as most Iranians prefer to socialize at home in the evening.

AFM/MG

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