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Ski Iraqi Kurdistan
Mark our words, skiing in Iraq is so incredible it’s going to become a thing. Join this ten-day ski Iraqi Kurdistan adventure and be one of the first to take a commercial ski trip in this fascinating region.
Join a qualified international ski guide in the autonomous Kurdistan region in the northern part of Iraq for some truly remarkable slopes. Experience Kurdish hospitality as you spend your next holiday adventure blazing a tourist trail – a rare opportunity indeed.
- Ski slopes on Halgard, Iraq’s highest mountain
- Try delicious traditional kebab houses
- Ski new routes and runs
- Spend time in Choman near the Iranian border
- Go sightseeing in Erbil
The three primary destinations during the trip are Erbil, Choman, and Penjwen. In Erbil, you’ll have an opportunity to explore the city including the ancient citadel that defines it, before heading north. If luck is with you from the beginning the first ski stop will be Korek Mountain Resort. There’s a ski lift here, primarily used for sightseeing, but if conditions are good, it will lead you to the first run of the trip.
The next run is the slopes at Halgurd, Iraq’s highest mountain. Though hiked extensively over the years, almost nothing you’ll see in this area has even been skied before. Making you and your group among the very first. Penjwen is roughly a six-hour drive into the mountains. You’ll spend two full days with the Penjwen Ski Club, a group dedicated to teaching winter sports to the local school kids.
You’ll be most comfortable if you have some prior skiing experience, but all ability levels are welcome. You’ll always be in the company of an English speaking Iraqi translator as well as a western ski guide. Northern Iraq is a relatively stable area, and your guides will be assessing the lay of the land and adjusting the itinerary as needed to ensure maximum safety and fun.
Enquire today to learn more.
Itinerary from the Operator
Day 1 – Erbil – Saturday 28th January 2017
Arrive in Erbil.
Briefing. Depending on time of arrival we will be able to arrange a city tour to some of Erbil’s sights including the ancient citadel that dominates the centre of the city.
Overnight in Erbil
Day 2 – Erbil – Choman – Sunday 29th January 2017
Drive from Erbil to Choman along the Hamilton Road. Built by the British it winds its way through the mountains of Kurdistan towards the Iranian border. If the snow is good enough the group will stop off at the Korek mountain resort. This resort has a chair lift. The lift is mainly used for sightseers but if the snow has been heavy then it will be possible to ski on the slopes too.
You will then continue on to Choman and overnight in simple Hotel in Choman.
Days 3 to 6 – Choman and around – Monday 30th January – Thursday 2nd February 2017
Following paths and routes explored by your guides trekking a climbing in the winters of 2015 and 2016 the group will ski the slopes of Halgurd – Iraq’s highest peak and other areas. The group will be also exploring new routes and runs. Almost all of the area has never been skied before.
Overnight in simple Hotel in Choman.
Day 7 – Choman – Penjwen – Friday 3rd February 2017
If the weather is good then a morning ski before a 5-6 hour drive through the mountains to the village of Penjwen.
Overnight in simple Hotel in Penjwen.
Days 8 & 9 – Penjwen – Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th February 2017
The group will spend two days with the Penjwen ski club exploring the area around the small border town of Penjwen.
Day 10 – Penjwen – Erbil – Home – Monday 6th February 2017
You will drive back to Erbil to connect with afternoon or evening flights home.
(please note that the above itinerary is an outline of what is to be achieved. The length of the time at the Korek ski resort, Choman area and Penjwen could change due to security issues or snow conditions)
You will be accompanied by an English speaking Iraqi translator and a western qualified ski guide for the length of the trip.
For most nationalities, a visa is available on arrival in Erbil airport. The visa is valid for Iraqi Kurdistan only and NOT for southern Iraq.
The operator provides breakfast everyday and lunch when skiing. They know plenty of places in Erbil. From traditional kebab houses to International Restaurants at International prices. When there is an option, they let you make the choice of how much you want to spend.
The operator does not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on their itineraries. Even if they wanted to, the reality is that standards and costs in Erbil cannot be compared to a hotel in Penjwen. They consider comfort, location, design, character, security, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when they make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room.
Unless the group is very small they take 2 vehicles when driving between towns and to the ski areas. If there is a breakdown you will not be left stranded. When they choose your vehicles and drivers they take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. Your comfort, enjoyment and safety of the journey is the first priority.
Guests should bring their own equipment.
A full list of recommended equipment will be given nearer the time.
You will be accompanied by a European ski guide for the length of the trip. There will also be a local Iraqi guide to translate when not on the slopes.
Trips to Iraq do create dangers of their own and whilst we want you to have as much freedom as possible we must state that the tour leader has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route the operators have chosen passes through areas which we consider to be relatively stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.
In Iraq, areas away from the roads do have a risk of landmines. The operator have experience in the region and access to maps and information about where to ski and where to avoid.
As with off-piste skiing in the rest of the world there is a small but serious avalanche risk.
Dates & Rates
Dates: 28th January – 6th February 2017
Price: From 2,450 USD
- All accommodation
- Lunch when skiing
- All ground transport
- Flights to Iraqi Kurdistan
- Entrance fees
- Lunch & Dinner
- Ski equipment
Specialists in trips to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, former Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus, this operator aims to add positive benefit to the areas visited by ensuring that whenever possible, the money goose directly to the people of the region. In their words “small scale tourism might not change the world but every path starts with a single step’.
The founders met as intrepid travel guides in the mountains of Afghanistan and bonded over a shared passion to enable other people to experience the beauty of of Pakistan and Afghanistan, lands that are often described as dangerous and inhospitable.
Working with small groups of maximum 12 people and using specialist local guides throughout, their aim is to provide authentic and original experiences for all guests. This small number allows for greater security, flexibility and access to local people and places. Each set itinerary trip is individually designed to coincide with local events or to visit the area at the best time of year.
Ski Iraqi Kurdistan
- Trip Code: AWA365
- Dates: 28th Jan – 6th Feb 2017
- Price: From 2,450 USD
- Depart: Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan
- Arrive: Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan
- Length: 10 days
- Adventure: Be one of the first to take a commercial ski trip in this amazing country