The strict "Islamic" behavior and dress codes, which include no contact between men and women and a headscarf for women, are allowed to slip at resorts such as Dizin. One problem facing enforcement is the lack of religious police who can actually ski.
Iran – Been There

Will your next ski holiday be in Iran?

Photo by Scott Peterson

Iran – Been There Will your next ski holiday be in Iran?

“I will take you to a hotel in Shemshak,” says my taxi driver in Iran. But he can’t because he has never been there and Shemshak’s only hotel, discovered after many hairy circuits on icy roads, is closed for business at 3am.

Minty Clinch
Minty Clinch Travel Writer

Still, if you need to sleep in a taxi in sub-zero temperatures, oil-rich Iran, with its money-no-object heating agenda, is the place to do it. A grey dawn reveals an ancient pulley system to take luggage up and rubbish down, plus a cheerful receptionist to book me into the huge royal suite, the only available accommodation. It does not strike me as fit for a king but I do not allow tasteless decor to spoil fried eggs for breakfast followed by a long day’s sleep in preparation for.... well, what exactly?

I rise early, but the news is bad. In Iran, compulsory holidays celebrating the deaths of long forgotten prophets are imposed at least once a week. With pleasure curtailed in the interests of worship, the lifts are closed. No matter: an SUV is ready to take me tobogganing in gently falling snow. By the time the mountain re-opens the next morning, the snow cover is perfect.

For three glorious blue-sky days, I plunder the powder, an activity scorned by Tehran’s winter sports peacocks, male and female, who prefer to display dodgy technique on benevolently groomed pistes. Whichever way you take them, the runs are not the longest or the steepest but, as they are way above the tree line, they are snow sure and you can go wherever you like.

In perfect conditions, I ride the retro lifts again and again and again, leaving reluctantly when the resort closes at 4pm.

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The Tochal ski area is connected by the Tochal Telecabin gondola lift to Tehran, making it one of Iran's most popular ski resorts. Skiing was introduced to the country by Germans working on building its first railroads in the early 1930s. Photo by Henry E Iddon / Alamy

Henry E Iddon

Henry E Iddon

Agency
Alamy

The Tochal ski area is connected by the Tochal Telecabin gondola lift to Tehran, making it one of Iran's most popular ski resorts. Skiing was introduced to the country by Germans working on building its first railroads in the early 1930s.

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