Skiing Beyond Boundaries: Tour Extension in Iran

Modern skiing, or skiing as we currently know it, came to Iran around 1930, roughly 85 years after the first current ski competitions took place worldwide.

2 Days Tour
Add a skiing adventure to your current itinerary and ski at one of Iran’s resorts.


  • Dizin (Tehran)
  • Shemshak (Tehran)
  • Tochal (Tehran)
  • Polad kaf (Shiraz)

Two groups of individuals helped introduce modern skiing; first, the Germans arrived in Iran to build the national railroads. Seeing how the Alborz range filled with snow, the Germans brought their skis and spent winters touring Iran and skiing.

Then, it was Iranian students who learned the sport as they were studying abroad, usually in France or Switzerland. One of the most prominent students was Dr. Abdollah Basir, who went abroad to France in 1929. While abroad, he learned not only how to ski but also how to make skis.


Skiing Today in Iran

Iran has two mountain chains: the Alborz Mountains and the Zagros Mountains. Our trips to the Alborz Mountains offer many peaks over 4.000 m. The highest lift rises to 3.960m and offers a vertical from 1.000-2.000m. As if this wasn’t enough, the terrain is excellent for ski touring, and we can reach fantastic skiing by taking short walks from the top of the lift.

Situated in the Alborz mountain range near the peak of Damavand (a giant dormant volcano 5,600 meters high), the Dizin ski resort is Iran’s highest altitude. Coming in at 3,550 meters (almost 14,000 feet) and getting around seven meters of snow yearly, Dizin is the largest ski resort in the Middle East.

Located in the northern mountains of Tehran in the Gajereh region, Dizin is approximately 115 kilometers (1.5 hours) away from Tehran and roughly 71 kilometers from Shemshak. Dizin’s location offers the most extended ski season in Iran, lasting from the beginning of November through late May, while its size offers skiers many ski trails. There are difficult patches with moguls and little hills for jumping, a straight steep slope jumping and a beginner’s course from which one can watch other skiers perfect their acrobatic skills.

Shemshak is located 57 kilometers (45 minutes) northeast of Tehran. The ski season here is slightly more variable and typically ranges from the end of November through the beginning of April. One will find Iran’s best skiers on these pistes as Shemshak hosts the nation’s most challenging and steepest slopes. While this is not a place for the timid, Shemshak continually draws many foreign and domestic tourists because of its varying weather and proximity to Tehran. During the winter, the ski trails are lit with amber lights, providing an exciting and beautiful scene that gives skiers the freedom to ski well into the night.

Often referred to as the birthplace of modern skiing in Iran, Ab Ali is also home to Iran’s first mechanical ski lift (installed in 1953). Located 75 kilometers (1 hour) east of Tehran and with a relatively short ski season, from the end of December to the end of March, Ab Ali is no longer known solely for its slopes. Thermal spring water (high in calcium bicarbonate) is bottled and shipped around Iran. The Imam-Zade Hashem Holy Shrine, among other tourist attractions, helps to distinguish this region from Iran’s other ski areas.

Mount Tochal is a mountain in the Alborz range and a ski resort adjacent to metropolitan Tehran, Iran. The hill has a 12 km long ridgeline. The highest peak, also called Mount Tochal, is at an elevation of 3,964 m (13,005 feet)

Pooladkaf ski resort, the second international ski resort in Iran, is located in the South of Iran, 85 km from Shiraz and 15 Km from Sepidan. It was established in 2002. The ski resort’s elevation is 2850 meters from the sea level; the peak, however, is 3400m. There is a gondola lift with a length of 2100 m and also surface lifts. The hotel restaurant is under construction, but there is already a tiny guest house, one restaurant with traditional foods and fast food beside the resort and one coffee shop at the gondola’s top station. In the nearby village called Komehr, there are also some accommodation facilities like a motel and some villas with reasonable facilities.


Recommended read: Iran's biggest secret: skiing's great

Sick of the braying hordes of Meribel and Val d’Isère? Looking for a more exotic ski holiday? Then, head for Tehran. Comedian Dom Joly finds beautiful peaks and great powder in the heart of Iran.

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