ALBORZ SKI REGION
Darbandsar is a village in the heart of the Alborz Mountains of Iran, 60 km away from the capital and north east of Tehran province. The village is situated in the slope of the southern part of the Central Alborz mountains with various altitudes. The average height is approximately 2600m above sea level.
Darbandsar is also the name of the ski resort which was created after Iran’s revolution. Darbandsar village became famous in Iran as the piste is owned by a private company. The company built the length of the ski slope as well as buying a new lift system for the ski resort, which, by the way, is more up-to-date compared to other ski resorts in Iran. Winter time is the busiest time of the year, with Tehranians coming to ski. It’s generally even busier at the weekends, (which is Thursday and Friday in Iran). Due to this influx of visitors, the main road, (Fasham-Shemshak), is usually packed full of cars at this time.
Apart from the ski activity in winter, the region is a perfect destination for other activities like trekking and mountain biking during other seasons. A lot of high mountains above 3000 m surround this village with plenty of canyons and spring water, flora and wildlife. Darbandsar is located in the Alborz Markazi protected area which makes this region one of best places to visit for those who live in the capital and would like to spend their weekend in northern Tehran in the central Alborz Mountains.
The highest point of Darbandsar is 2650m, a mountain above the ski resort which locals call Mahmoud chal peak. There are also a few very high mountains around Darbandsar such as MT Kolonbastak 4150m, Sarakchal 1 (4120m), Sarakchal 2 (4150m), Sarakchal 3(4210m), Abak 3500m, Sichal peak 3960. These mountains are famous among Iranian climbers as locals enjoy hiking in them during the spring and summer season. From these mountain peaks you have amazing visibility of many other high-altitude mountains in the central Alborz region. It’s perfect for photography at the end of spring when the mountain peaks have just a little snow on them and the lower parts are green. There are no hotels or other accommodation for travellers at Darbandsar. The only lodging facility in the region is Shemshak’s tourist hotel which is located in Shemshak village 6 km away from the ski resort of Darbandsar. There are a lot of private houses mostly belonging to locals. It could be an alternative choice for those who would like to stay in a private accommodation to be in touch with people and locals in the region. Another option is Meygon tourist hotel which is located in Meygon town, 10 km away from the south of Darbandsar. It takes about 20 minutes to reach through the mountain road of Fasham.
Darbandsar and the region around is a 4-season destination for adventure travellers who would like to spend a few days of their holiday in Iran in the central Alborz mountains. Below are some possible activities that are available in this region.
Adventure Iran created a number of trekking tours around this village from a moderate level of difficulty up to more challenging and strenuous levels, which start from the beginning of spring (April) up to the end of autumn (November). Shemshak wall and Abak mountain are the ones to choose for those who would like to have moderate levels of a trek during spring, summer and the beginning of autumn. Kolonbastak mountain is another choice with quite a challenging level of difficulty. For those who are looking for an even more challenging trek, the famous ridgeline trek of MTS Sarakchal-Kolonbastak is a 15 km trek above 4000m, just perfect for summer trekking. The above trek is the most popular trekking tour we can offer you during the non-ski season. Also, for those of you who are interested in hiking on snow during autumn or winter we offer a different trek which is safe for winter trekking in the snow region of the mountain. This video, (Shemshak Winter Trek), is one of our treks which we perform during the winter season. The scenery in the mountains is spectacular and you will have an amazing view of many high mountains of Central Alborz above the peaks. From most of these peaks, in addition, you will have a stunning view of MT Damavand from the west side.
Darbandsar Trekking Photo Gallery
Mountain Biking Activity
The region is also perfect for cyclists who would like to spend a few days of their holiday in the region. There is a paved road from Darbandsar (2600m) that connects you to the second station of Dizin ski resort (3300m). The length of this cycling road is about 15 km which is only ascending cycling and would be the ideal road during spring, summer and the beginning of autumn before the year’s first snowfall coming in November. For those of you who would like to do mountain biking in the dirt road or single tracks, there are different treks in the region which are best at the end of spring and summer time. Alongside of our special mountain biking tour that we created in the region, you may also do mountain biking in the three pistes of Shemshak, Darbadsar and Dizin during the summer time. The highest point of Shemshak piste which you can peddle is 3050m. In Darbandsar piste you can ascend up to 3500m with your bicycle followed by an amazing ride downhill from the peak all the way down to Darbadsar village.
The other option would be Dizin piste, the biggest ski resort in Iran where there are many tracks all going in different directions; an excellent place for mountain biking. The lifts do not operate during the non-ski season for these pistes which means this service is not available to carry your bikes up.
Also, there are other choices in the region for mountain biking in central Alborz mountains. If you would like to extend your mountain biking trip in the region, there are a couple of famous trails as well. You can continue your cycling trip in Iran towards the direction of either the north or south. From Darbandsar, you are able to cycle towards Mt Damavand and crossing Lar National Park to have an even more challenging Mountain Biking. For those of you who would like to have moderate cycling, you can continue your trip from Darbandsar towards the north by crossing the Alborz Mountains and Hyrcanian UNESCO forest all the way down to reach the Caspian Sea. There are various routes for this trip which takes a few days.
Shemshak Mountain Biking Photo Gallery
Lar National Park Mountain Biking Photo Gallery
The ski season generally starts from December and finishes around April. Sometimes, when we have a good snowfall, the season can be extended till May. As we explained before, Dabandsar Ski resort is one of the most popular ski pistes of Iran and it’s not far from the capital. You can also ski in the two other pistes of Shemshak and Dizin when you are in Darbandsar village. Darbandsar piste boasts the best and newest lifts and gondola in Iran.
Off piste skiing and Ski Touring
Ski touring is one of the most exciting adventure activities that you can have in the north of Tehran in Alborz ski region. From Darbandsar peak you can have a breath-taking downhill in off piste to another village called Jirood & Dorood. Also, many locals do ski touring between Dizin and Darbandsar pistes which is quite challenging. In the Shemshak region, in addition, there is a popular canyon for locals which is an ideal place for ski touring. You will need a ski instructor or local guide with excellent experience if you would like to do off piste ski or ski touring in Darbandsar ski resort.
As well as all the above activities, in the south of Darbandsar, only 4 km from the village, there is a famous canyon called Hameloon which is a hub for Iranian ice climbers in the winter, located off the beaten track. At the beginning of the canyon there is a big wall and a waterfall which is frozen during the winter season. Local climbers use this ice wall for ice climbing in the winter.
Below are some of Adventure Iran’s videos showing various activities during different seasons in this area.
Shemshak Winter Mountain Scenery
will publish soon
A life style in Shemshak