An Unknown White Destination
Winter Activities in Iran
April 2016, Middle of Norway - In a very nice sunny day we reached a 1300 m top by skinning on fresh snow. In such a lovely weather many people were at the top. When they found out that I am Iranian I could see the surprise in their faces. They asked a question which I have gotten used to since I have moved to Norway: “how is it to be on a snowy mountain for you”? I explained the geography of Iran, the existence of 4000 and 5000 m mountains, the variation in the climate and the possibilities to do skiing and ice climbing in the country. The reaction was “surprise”! The surprise of the existence of mountains and snow in Iran, and the strange feeling that such fact is unknown to many people in Norway.
9 months later, January 2017, North of Iran - I was waiting behind the gate of Dizin, the largest ski resort in Iran, located 70 km north of Tehran. Entering the resort with professional camera had become prohibited. I started negotiating my intention with resort managers over the phone: “I’m traveling all the way from Norway to capture winter activities in Iran”. While I was waiting for managers’ decision, I saw two Swedish guys and we had a quick chat. They were staying in Iran for only one week and just for skiing. Very satisfied of skiing in tree-free terrains, they wanted to use the remaining two hours, so I wish them an enjoyable day. After a while I finally got permission to enter with my camera. I just had one hour, so without exploring the bottom, I took the lift directly to the top which has astonishing views of Damavand, the highest mountain in the Middle-East with 5619 m height (the above photograph).
The typical image of Iran is of heat that melts any snowflakes or ice falls on it. The little-known real picture of the country, however, has a great potential to make the land a destination for winter activity enthusiasts. Until then, explorers can ski on rarely touched slopes or hit the ice in quiet mountains of Iran.