Iran is lucky with many mountains over 3,000 meters many of which become snow bound in the winter months. The two main mountain ranges are the Alborz, 900 km length and the Zagros, 1,600 km length and both have decent snow coverage above 2,000 m. The two ranges have these conditions in slightly different times of year. Which means ski touring opportunities can be extended throughout one season. Most of this terrain is unspoiled and has not been skied. This is a great opportunity for Ski Touring enthusiasts to discover a very large area for potentially endless new adventures. Please be aware, regarding altitude, fact that practically all of our tours are above 4,000 meters due to guaranteed availability of snow in any normal year.
There are 4 best-known locations for ski touring in Iran.
1. Mt Damavand (5,610 m) – Central Alborz Mountains
The cone shaped volcano and elegantly majestic mount Damavand, the highest mountain in Middle East is one the most popular spots for Ski Touring in the country. There is also the Dobarar mountain chain near Mt Damavand; it is the best place for ski touring and acclimatization before ascent to Mt. Damavand peak. With the high volume of snow and easy access, just one and half hours’ drive from Tehran makes this mountain one of the great destinations for skiers who come from around the world. The best time for ski touring for Dobarar and Mt Damavand is March, April and sometimes May when we have good snowfall.
2. Around Dizin, Shemshak and Darbandsar Ski resorts – Central Alborz Mountains
There are 3 main ski resorts around Tehran. They are located in north of the capital city right in the heart of central Alborz mountain range. These 3 skiing options offer a choice and easy access for short ski touring holidays in Iran. It is only one and half hour driving (70 km) on mountain roads to reach the heart of Iran’s ski resorts. 2 of these resorts are fairly close to each other and one can ski mountaineer from one to the other. In the wintertime we usually have excellent snow coverage, sometimes there is over 2 meters in the higher altitudes. There are many 4000m peaks surrounding the three resort. The base elevation of all 3 starts above 2500m. There are hotels, villas and local home stay facilities available around these resorts. Everything is nearby and our clients can get a chance to acclimatize. The ski season, depending on early snowfall, generally starts from the beginning of December and goes to late March, but in good years like the winter of 2019 the runs were open until mid-April. The best season for Ski touring for Dizin, Darbandsar and Shemshak is January to April.
3. Alam Kooh (4850 m) – Central Alborz
In the north of Iran south of the Caspian Sea within the Alborz range, there is a sub range with the called “Takht-e Soleyman Massif”. The area is home to more than 160 peaks over 4,000 m. There are some excellent trails through this range that make it a perfect location for ski touring. Alam Kooh is second highest peak in Iran and is in relatively remote area in the heart of Alborz. The route is about 200 km of mountain roads and it takes between 5 to 6 hours from Tehran. Because of the high altitude, low temperatures and heavy snowfall; winter access is dangerous and requires special skills. Therefore the best time of year is after the winter season in April and May.
4. Zardkooh and Chelgerd areas (4,220 m) – Zagros Range
Zardkooh range and peak are located in the central Zagros mountain range. This is the winter playground and ski touring center for the inhabitants of the historical city of Esfahan, Iran’s old capital city. As it’s only 3 hours away, this could be a very good excursion for those visiting Esfahan in the winter. We can also lodge you much closer if preferred or as the tours include, at the town of Chelgerd. January and February are the ideal time for ski touring in this area.