By Afshin Majlesi

Nine Iranian places where the slopes are less skied

November 29, 2020 - 18:22

For most powder chasers and snowboarders the idea of an off-piste paradise normally conjures up thoughts of the Alps, Alaska peaks, or those in Japan.

Many would not consider looking to the Iranian mountainous resorts, which their altitudes overshadow those of even the highest ones in the Alps.

Amongst uppermost are Dizin, Tochal, Shemshak and Darbandsar, all situated within some 100 kilometers of the capital city and up to international standards.

 Below-the-radar resorts?

Experienced skiers and snowboarders recognize the clear benefits of below-the-radar resorts which could be cozier with fewer powder-chasers, shorter lift lines, and more reasonable tickets and lodging.

Fear of robust coronavirus pandemic has made us more cautious and isolated than before with dictations of strict lockdown and social distancing. For some, this is the winter to heat a pot of soup and play a board game by the fireplace to elude the public!

Here are nine under-the-radar resorts that offer plenty of challenge amid a winter of social distancing; a good time to avoid crowds and hang with the family when there is not a wealth of other amenities or activities attracting avid skiers off-slope:


Surrounded by amazing landscapes and natural sceneries, Pooladkaf is Iran’s south-most ski resort. It is located near Sepidan, a leisure place for wealthy families from Shiraz. Imagine that it’s only 300km away from Kuwait which has a subtropical desert climate; mild winters and very hot summers.

Created during the sixties, an industrial group ‘Pooladkaf’ manages the resort since 2000. The group invested a lot to develop the resort and attract more tourists. Even-though Pooladkaf stays relatively small, it offers a large choice of activities: skiing, snowmobile riding, restaurant, horse riding, après-ski, hotel, mountain bike, and hiking.

Pooladkaf is the fifth biggest ski resort in Iran, after the famed Dizin, Shemshak, Darbandsar, and Tochal ski resorts.


At the heart of Zagros mountain range, 200km away from Isfahan, the village of Chelgerd, home of the Bakhtiari tribe, has a lot to show.

Chelgerd ski resort is a popular destination for skiers and tourists from Isfahan and Share Kord. The ski area is tiny and at the snow front, small slopes give easy access to beginners. An old snow groomer is driven by the manager who does its best for grooming the slope. The main building located at the snow front hosts a gym with: Wrestling mat, fitness machines, a ping pong table, and showers.


This ski resort is named after a nearby city of the same name which is located at an elevation of 2500m in the Zagros mountain range. The city is renowned for its tough winter and heavy snowfalls.

Expert skiers from Isfahan come here to practice when they don’t compete in bigger ski resorts of Shemshak, Darbandsar, or Dizin.

The resort is equipped with a rope tow for beginners, a ski lift, and two-seat chairlifts which gives you access to a hipline. From the summit, you can reach numerous off-pistes trails.


This ski resort is situated in northwest Iran in the Sahand mountain some 50km away from Tabriz.

According to locals, you can sometimes ski until June in this freezing resort. For beginners, a rope tow and a green slope are located just a few meters away from the main building. For expert skiers, two ski lifts give fast access to the summit.

The vertical drop and steepness of the slope are good reasons for visiting this small ski resort. In the main building, you will find a restaurant and a rental ski shop.


Khoshakoo ski resort is situated in northwest Iran with Urmia as the nearest city. The resort is equipped with two ski-lifts. Khoshakoo is a haven for paragliding as well.

The resort is a famous spot for “Tubing”, using old inner trucks’ tubes. Surely one of the most dangerous sport on earth.


Located in Ardabil province, northwest of Iran, Alvares ski resort is well-known for its tough winters, “cool” summers, beautiful landscapes, the quality of its dairy products (butter, doogh, ashe, honey…), and its numerous hot springs.

The small town of Sareyn (8,000 inhabitants), located 20km away from the resort, is famous across Iran for its spas where travelers come from all over the country to relax. The resort is equipped with a two-seat chairlift, a rope tow for beginners, and a “Pisten Bully” snow groomer.


The specificity of this resort is its proximity to the cities of Zanjan and Hamedan.

Kids, elders, women, men… Everyone comes with enthusiasm to gather and ski together. Bijar ski resort is equipped with a ski lift and a snow groomer.

Nestled at 2,000m above sea level, the nearby town of Bijar, located in Kurdistan province, is famous worldwide for the quality and the beauty of its handmade Persian carpets.

Tarik Dareh

Tarik Dareh ski resort, which is known for being windy, is situated some 10km away from Hamedan.

The resort is equipped with a ski-lift, and a two-seat chairlift, serving both sides of the valley. Its slope is also served during summer for grass skiing.

Though it bears a great potential for ski touring and off-piste skiing, the staff are reluctant to let skiers going off the trails following a huge avalanche a few years ago.


In southwest Iran, about a hundred kilometers north of Shiraz, stands the small ski resort of Kakan. It can be reached within 20 minutes drive from the city of Yasujm, and the resort is settled next to the protected area of Dena, which concentrates more than 40 summits higher than 4000m!

The ski area can be summarized as having two ski lifts (one is out of order) and two rope tows. The surrounding area is a heaven for ski touring as well.