(persia digest) - Iran is the country of four seasons. You can experience cold, snowy days as well as warm and sunny weather on the same day. You can walk in its rainforests or reflect in its hot, dry deserts. If you travel to Iran in the winter, you can visit the largest resort in the Middle East for skiing and other winter sports. On the same day and within a few hours, you can travel to Kish or Chabahar in the South and swim in the sea or ride a jet ski. These are some of the advantages of traveling to Iran, enjoyed by few countries.
Ski resorts in Iran
There are 25 ski resorts in Iran, 14 of which are listed as international sports complexes. There are at least five standard ski resorts in Tehran.
Dizin and Shemshak resorts date back to 53 and 57 years ago respectively, attracting many international tourists as well as diplomats and ambassadors resident in capital.
Dizin is the major ski resort of the Middle East with standard slopes and facilities. It is located in northern Tehran (Gajereh area), at a distance of 123kms driving on the Chalous road and 71kms from the Shemshak road. Its altitude ranges from 2650 to 3600 meters and it is best to ski here from late November to late May. The resort has two hotels, 19 cottages, six restaurants, two parking lots, and a clinic. The facilities include ski lifts, gondola lifts, chairlifts, and snow groomers. Grass skiing is available at this resort in the summer.
Shemshak ski resort, located 57kms northeast of Tehran, also has similar facilities, such as chairlifts, ski lifts, snow groomers, two hotels, four restaurants, a parking lot, and a clinic. This resort has yellow electric lights along the slopes which allow you to ski at night. The best skiing season at this resort is from late November to early April.
Tochal is the most crowded ski resort and the nearest one to north Tehran at a distance of merely 5kms from Tajrish Square. This international resort is the highest in Iran, with three gondola lift lines, three chairlift lines, and one ski lift line, adding up to 7500 meters in total, competing with the longest gondola lines in the world. Tochal has three separate pistes which can be used over eight months of the year. Tochal is among the best equipped resorts in Iran, with tennis courts, archery, bungee jumping, skating, and paintball. Mountain climbing and hiking are also available. The resort has a hotel, two restaurants, two parking lots, and a clinic. Tochal Hotel is one of the world’s highest in altitude, hosting large numbers of skiers annually.
Ab-Ali ski resort is located 75kms east of Tehran on the Harāz road. It has three ski pistes, each with gondola lifts, chairlifts, and ski lifts, and a snow groomer. Tennis, horse riding, paragliding, and hang gliding are other sports that can be practiced here. The resort has a hotel, restaurant, parking lot, and clinic.
Darband-Sar is the newest international ski resort in Tehran, located 60kms northeast of the capital. It has a well-equipped, professional ski school. There are also a chairlift and two t-bar lift lines here. Darband-Sar has a snow groomer, restaurant, parking lot, and clinic.
There are other ski resorts in Iran which are not well-known even to Iranians. For instance, Khvoshaku ski resort is located in Razhan village, 34kms from Urmia. It is the largest and snowiest ski resort in the Middle East and has mountains with good slopes and beautiful natural sights. However, due to infrastructural problems, it remains unknown at the international, national, or even provincial levels. This resort is located in a touristic region on the border of four countries, and can attract tourists or host national and international competitions. With an area of 50,000 m2, Khvoshaku ski resort can also offer grass skiing in the summer - a capacity not exploited yet. Investment in this resort will be highly profitable. In addition to a ski lift and snow groomer, it has a hotel, restaurant, parking lot, and clinic.
Alvars ski resort is located 24kms from Sareyn, Ardabil. It is 3200 meters above sea level and, therefore, covered in snow six to eight months in the year. It is equipped with ski lifts and chairlifts, and has a parking lot and clinic. Ardabil Province is a cold, mountainous region in northwestern Iran with suitable climatic and geographical conditions for winter sports. This area enjoys all the infrastructures required for winter sports, such as a ski resort, the snowy mountainside of Sabalan for hiking, winter mountain climbing, snowmobile riding, the possibility to build ice hotels, together with numerous hot springs. Still, this region is not known to international tourists as its capacities are not effectively introduced.
Chelgard ski piste in Kuhrang is located 85kms from Shahr-e Kord, Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari Province. It is 800 meters long and is sunny on most winter days. Kouhrang 1 Dam and waterfall are located near the ski resort and attract many tourists. This resort offers facilities such as ski lifts, restaurants, a snow groomer, hostel, parking lot, and clinic.
Sahand ski resort is located 39kms southeast of Tabriz. Skiers can use this resort for six months a year. The depth of powder snow here reaches four meters in some areas. However, it is not susceptible to avalanches and offers a good environment for all winter sports. This resort has facilities such as lifts, a snow groomer, hotel, restaurant, parking lot, and clinic.
Dena ski resort in Kakan is located 18kms from Yasuj. The effective length and width of this resort are 1500 and 600 meters respectively. A drag-lift line is used here. The resort offers facilities such as a hostel and restaurant. The best time for skiing here is late December to late March when the depth of the snow reaches 3.5 meters. This resort is located 2850 meters above sea level. A festival for building snowmen and skiing is held here every year.
Pooladkaf is another large ski resort in Iran, located 80kms north of Shiraz. As it enjoys a cool weather, water springs, and natural meadows, this resort is appropriate for summer sports such as grass skiing and cycling from mid-spring to summer, and winter sports from mid-fall to early spring. The resort is open in all seasons due to its unique climate. It offers facilities such as gondola lifts, ski lifts, bull wheels, motor sleds, off-road cars, paddle boats, a ski school, ski equipment rental, cycling routes, horse riding, hotel, restaurant, and café. The resort is at an altitude of 2850 meters above sea level. Of course, one can ascend to the summit of the resort, 3400 meters above sea level, using gondola and ski lifts.
Fereydun-Shahr, located 180kms west of Isfahan, is the highest ski resort on the Iranian Plateau. The lowest part of this resort is 2630 meters above sea level, reaching 3000 meters at the highest point. On average, about 200 tourists on week days and around 3000 lovers of winter sports on weekends visit this resort. It offers facilities such as a ski lift line, restaurant, parking lot, and clinic.
Papai ski resort in an area of 22 hectares is located 24kms from Zanjan on the Zanjan-Bijar road, providing a good opportunity for skiing. This slope has a length of 600 meters with an average slope of 22 degrees. It is equipped with a lift, snow groomer, café, and parking lot. Its ski school has 17 instructors. Night skiing is also available at this resort.
Khor ski resort is 2800 to 3000 meters above sea level, located in Alborz Province near Amir Kabir (Karaj) Dam. It can host 1300 skiers daily and has facilities such as ski lifts, snow groomer, restaurant, and parking lot.
Alvand or Tārik-Darreh ski resort is located 10kms from Hamedan. This resort offers facilities such as ski lifts, chairlifts, snow groomer, restaurant, hotel, parking lot, and clinic.
Shirabad ski resort is located 38kms from Mashhad and is snow laden during most months of the year. It is the only ski resort in eastern Iran. The area of this piste measures 45 hectares, with a length of 1200 meters and altitude of 2700-2900 meters above sea level. It offers facilities such as a ski lift, hotel suites, restaurant, café, parking lot, and clinic.
Piyām ski resort (Yām) is located 15kms from Marand, north of Tabriz. The most significant feature of this resort is its short, quick access via the Tabriz-Marand transit road. It is sunny most winter days with stable atmospheric conditions and appropriate relative humidity for residence and skiing. It offers a ski lift, restaurant, parking lot, covered gazebos, and clinic.
Shāzand ski resort is the only one in Markazi Province, located in Shāzand, 45kms from the provincial capital Arak. This high region has an early winter and heavy snowfall. The resort is approximately 1200 meters in altitude and 5kms in length.
Firuzkuh ski resort is located 2kms from Firuzkuh. The only facility in this resort is a ski lift line.
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