The chance to truly blaze a tourist trail is a rare opportunity - this is one of them. Ski touring in Iraq is as exciting as it is unusual for skiers looking to truly get off the beaten track
Ski Iraq – it’s perhaps not the most obvious place to discover exciting ski tour terrain – but that’s what makes it so exciting. The 2021 season will be the fifth year our partners will have taken skiers to the northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
For a country more associated with deserts, Iraq has some great mountainous terrain in the northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region which you will explore with a qualified international ski guide.
Using the experience built up over the years on skiing and climbing trips to Iraq, your hosts have identified areas that offer some great ski touring terrain.
Guests should have some prior experience of ski touring and be able to make their turns in all conditions to make the most of this rare chance to ski Iraq.
Starting in Erbil and you’ll head straight to the peaks around the town of Choman near the Iranian border. Here you can expect to find the best and most reliable snow.
In addition to the ski touring, the trip is being timed to coincide with the Choman Winter Festival and Iraq Ski Rally.
The Winter Festival started in 1952 but was stopped under Saddam, however it has restarted and now includes a fun ski touring race designed for people of mixed abilities.
Iraq has some major problems at the moment but in the far north of the country security is good and it is possible to experience some of the famous Kurdish hospitality amongst the peaks.
This ski Iraq tour is a chance to truly blaze a tourist trail is a rare opportunity. Make an enquiry for full details and check out a post from the 2017 tour here.
Why you'll love this adventure
- A truly unusual place to ski tour
- Challenge your mindset and perceptions of Iraq and its people
- A chance to take part in the Choman Winter Festival and Iraq Ski Rally.
14 February 2021
22 February 2021
This trip can be tailor made for your perfect travel dates. Please make a booking enquiry for more information.
Choman is a 3-4 hour drive from the capital of Iraqi-Kurdistan, Erbil. In addition to the ski touring, the trip has been timed to coincide with the Iraq Ski Rally. Finally, you may or may not stop off at the Korek Mountain ski resort. Yes, there is a real ski resort with a gondola and everything. The only problem is that it has been built in an area with very unreliable snow. If in 2021 there is a heavy snowfall then you'll aim to have a day skiing here as well.
Lunch when skiing
All ground transport
Entry to the Iraq Ski rally (worth US$100)
Flights to Iraqi Kurdistan
Lunch & Dinner
There is not a uniform accommodation standard on this itinerary. The reality is that standards and costs in Erbil cannot be compared to a homestay in Choman. The organisers consider comfort, location, design, character, security, historical interest and whether the money being spent will go into the pockets of the local community when making choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room in Erbil.
In Choman guests will stay in a communal room.
Breakfast is provided every day and lunch when skiing. The organisers know plenty of places in Erbil. From traditional kebab houses to International Restaurants at International prices. When there is an option, you have the choice of how much you want to spend and where.
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.
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.
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 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.
In Iraq, areas away from the roads do have a risk of landmines. We 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.
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 travel guides in the mountains of Afghanistan and bonded over a shared passion to enable other people to experience the beauty of Pakistan and Afghanistan, lands that are often described as dangerous and inhospitable.
Working with small groups of a maximum of 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.
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