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Ski Touring in Afghanistan
For those ski adventurers looking for a new and exciting place to hit the slopes, this ski trip to Bamian in Afghanistan should be on your list. Concentrating on the skiing in the Central Afghanistan region of Bamian there are slopes suitable for all levels and no prior experience of ski touring is required.
You’ll benefit from the expertise of your internationally certified mountain guide along with a number of Afghan ski guides. Bamian even has a small rental shop now run by a local entrepreneur. The guides are familiar with all aspects of the mountains which allows you to relax into the incredible natural beauty that is Afghanistan.
This is one of the least visited regions of the world – which makes it perfect for adventurers. You’ll fly into Kabul and head straight for the Koh e Baba mountain range. You’ll get to know the Hazara peoples, a Shia minority, who have suffered years of persecution. You’ll hear their stories and discover how they are finally being permitted to build hospitals and schools.
- Visit the worlds largest standing Buddha statues which over look Bamian
- Explore the ancient cities of Shah e Golghola and Zohak
- Visit the OMAR land mine museum, the Kabul Museum, and the Darulaman Palace
- Ski virgin routes deep in the Hindu Kush
- Get invited home to tea by local villagers
- Assist in avalanche prevention measures
- Summit Shah e Golghola (The City of Screams) – an ancient city left exactly as it was after Ghenis Khan sacked it over 800 years ago
The ancient history, rugged landscape, and the tough but beautifully hospitable people make Afghanistan a magnet for intrepid adventurers. This is a complex country that is slowly recovering from years of neglect and violence. Be among the few who take the time to understand the challenges and blaze a new trail (down the slopes!)
This is ten days of skiing and exploration that you’ll never forget. You’ll be accompanied at all times by an English speaking local guide as well as a western ski guide while on the slopes.
Day 1 – Kabul
Briefing. Depending on time of arrival we will be able to arrange a city tour to some of Kabul’s more interesting sights such as the OMAR landmine museum, the ruins of Darulaman Palace and the Kabul Museum.
Day 2 – Kabul – Bamian
We fly from Kabul to Bamian – home of the Hazara people. The Hazara are a Shia minority who are ethnically related to the Mongols of Genghis Khan. They have suffered a great deal of persecution under a number of Afghan governments and only now have the opportunity to build schools and hospitals in their mountain homeland, the Hazarajat.
Days 3 to 8 – Bamian
Following paths and routes explored during the winters of 2011 – 2014 we will explore the slopes of the Koh e Baba mountain range and enjoy the acres of powder on virgin routes. For the less experienced we will be working with local guides on fairly simple runs. For the more experienced we will enlist the help of a western qualified ski guide to find slopes deep in the Hindu Kush, some of which have never been skied before.
You might be met on the slopes by local men who want to join us skiing on their home made skis, assist in avalanche prevention and ski training programs or be invited in for tea by villagers. All part of the Ski Afghanistan experience.
As well as skiing we will be able to show you around the lively Bamian bazaar, visit the remains of the giant Buddhas of Bamian, explore nearby Dragon Valley and summit Shah e Golghola (the city of screams), left in the same state as when Genghis Khan sacked it 800 years ago.
Day 9 – Bamian – Kabul
Fly back from Bamian to Kabul. Once in Kabul we will see any sights missed on the first day including Chicken Street and Babur’s Gardens.
Day 10 – Fly home
We will take you to the airport to catch your flight.
We suggest you take an afternoon flight to allow for some further sightseeing and last minute shopping in the morning.
You will be accompanied by an English speaking Afghan team leader for the entire trip and a qualified western ski guide whilst on the slopes.
Bamian lay on one of the silk routes and was an important religious site for the Gandharan Empire that included Takht e Bhai and Taxila in Pakistan. The cliffs overlooking the town are riddled with large numbers of caves in which Buddhist monks lived and worshipped. They were often highly decorated with Buddhist motifs including large statues of the Buddha. The giant Buddhas of Bamian were completed in the 6th century AD and stood 55 and 37m high respectively making them, for nearly 1,500 years, the highest standing Buddha statues in the world.
In the 11th century, Buddhism was replaced by Islam in the region, Bamian became less important and the Buddhas fell into disrepair. The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the legs of the largest Buddha in the 17th century and the Persian, Nadir Shah fired canon at them in the 18th century. Despite this the statues retained their world renowned status until March 2001 when the Taliban used artillery, anti-tank mines and finally dynamite to destroy the Buddhas over a month long period .
Even without the Buddhas themselves, the valley of Bamian is still striking, the ruins of 2 forts guard the entrance to the valley and at sunset the rock takes on a beautiful hue. It is also possible to climb into the caves and view the valley from where the largest Buddha’s head would have been.
Visas: We do not arrange Afghanistan visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of letters of invitation to assist in your Afghanistan visa application. Food: Accommodation: Transport: Equipment: We are also committed to developing responsible tourism within Afghanistan. With that in mind we ask that if guests have any old equipment they would like to donate please bring it to help with the rebirth of Afghanistan’s ski culture. Guides: Security: In Afghanistan, areas away from the roads do have a risk of landmines although the areas we will be taking you to ski have been cleared and the runs have been tested As with off-piste skiing in the rest of the world there is a small but serious avalanche risk.
We provide breakfast every day and lunch when skiing. We know plenty of places in Kabul and Bamian. From traditional tea houses serving kebabs and huge Afghan naan bread to International Restaurants at International prices. When there is an option, we let you make the choice of how much you want to spend.
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards and costs in Kabul cannot be compared to a guesthouse in Bamian. We consider comfort, location, design, character, security, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room.
Unless the group is very small we take 2 vehicles for safety when driving between towns and to the ski areas. If there is a breakdown we will not be left stranded. When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel (not a laughing matter in a country that should be the setting for a live action version of the Wacky races). Your comfort and enjoyment of the journey is the first priority.
Suprisingly, Bamian now has a fairly well stocked ski rental shop. Whilst we do advise that guests bring their own equipment it is possible to rent equipment. Just let us know your sizes in advance to ensure there are no problems on arrival.
A full list of recommended equipment will be given nearer the time.
You will be accompanied by an experienced English speaking Afghan guide for the duration of the trip.
Sometimes we also provide an extra local guide. If we are a large group, we may wish to split into smaller groups for city tours to allow greater flexibility and keep a lower profile. An extra local guide enables us to do that.
In Bamian we will be guided on the slopes by a western qualified ski guide as well as the locally trained Afghan guides.
Trips to Afghanistan 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 we 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.
We do not arrange Afghanistan visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of letters of invitation to assist in your Afghanistan visa application.
We are also committed to developing responsible tourism within Afghanistan. With that in mind we ask that if guests have any old equipment they would like to donate please bring it to help with the rebirth of Afghanistan’s ski culture.
In Afghanistan, areas away from the roads do have a risk of landmines although the areas we will be taking you to ski have been cleared and the runs have been tested
As with off-piste skiing in the rest of the world there is a small but serious avalanche risk.
Dates: 17 – 26 Feb 2018
Price: 2,450 USD (400 USD deposit required to book your place)
Start Point: Kabul, Afghanistan
End Point: Kabul, Afghanistan
Maximum number of people: 10
Full details of this trip will be released shortly. To register your interest make an enquiry so that full details can be sent to you as soon as they are released.
“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 Touring in Afghanistan
- Trip Code: AWA276
- Dates: 17 – 26 Feb 2018
- Price: 2,450 USD
- Start: Kabul, Afghanistan
- End: Kabul, Afghanistan
- Length: 10 days
- Adventure: Ten days of skiing and exploration that you’ll never forget in one of the least visited regions in the world: Afghanistan.