TEHRAN - Iran has long been an international destination for avid powder chasers during winter, while - in total contrast - its arid and semi-arid climate reaches sweltering levels in summer. Maybe not the first that comes to mind, snow-capped mountains above Tehran are home to some of the world's best ski resorts where powder hounds can enjoy famous Iranian hospitality.
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Amongst uppermost are Dizin, Tochal, Shemshak and Darbandsar, all situated within some 100 kilometers of the capital city and up to international standards.
The resorts also cater to desires of domestic holidaymakers and sightseers who seek to escape from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.
Being quite high, the ski areas retain their snow quite well as the season usually stretches from November all the way through to May.
Here is a peek into the four ski resorts dotted in the Alborz mountain range.
Located some 100km north of Tehran, Dizin is by far the biggest resort in Iran equipped with three gondolas and 12 chairlifts. It takes around 2 hours to get there if the road is quite clear.
It is the liveliest of the cited resorts and is where the locals go to unwind on their weekend. If one is going to stay overnight up on the mountain, it may be the best place to do so.
Dizin reaches an altitude of 3,600 meter and therefore boasts more than a one kilometer of vertical difference. Terrain at this resort is great for those intermediate skiers and boarders trying to move into that more advanced category.
It also has smaller and easier hikes for skiers and boarders beginning to dabble in backcountry terrain. Overall, Dizin may be best for intermediates.
Shemshak and Darbandsar
Along the way to Dizin, on a road that starts from northeast Tehran, one can find two resorts are located next to each other; Darbandsar and Shemshak. They are around 90 minutes from Tehran while Dizin is another 35 minutes on from Shemshak when the road is open.
Despite Shemshak and Darbandsar both being quite a bit smaller than Dizin, they boast remarkable terrain on-piste and towering mountains behind the ski areas that will leave avid backcountry goers licking their lips.
Shemshak has two main lifts which are double chairs. While they are quite slow, they take you quite high up the mountain and open up some nice intermediate runs on-piste and some very nice off-piste runs.
Darbandsar is a little smaller than Shemshak with just one main lift. It is sloped on one side which means you are skiing on the side of the mountain a little bit.
The smallest of the four resorts, 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.
... Payvand News - 01/31/18 ... --