Top reasons why you should skip the Alps and go on a ski holiday to Iran

When it comes to skiing and snowboarding at the best ski resorts and off-piste skiing destinations in the world, the picturesque peaks of Iran, its highest ski resorts, and its marvelous powder fields would rarely come across the mind. It is hard to believe that Iran as the land of vast deserts also boasts the greatest untapped skiing destinations most of the passionate skiers and snowboarders have never heard of. The truth is that Iran has ski runs more challenging than the scariest ski runs in the world. Moreover, its high altitude ski resorts overshadow even the highest ski resorts in the Alps. “For experienced skiers who have ticked off many of the resorts in the Alps, exotic skiing destinations renowned for their powder hold a special allure. Kashmir, Japan, Russia, and Chile are among dream destinations but the ultimate edgy ski trip has to be to Iran”, as Guardian describes.

Here, you will find top reasons why you should skip the Alps and go on a ski holiday to Iran so that you could confidently choose Iran as your next ski destination and enjoy your Iran ski holiday.

Table of Contents:

Iran is a mountainous country

Iran is a mountainous country and different mountain chains cover over 50 percent of the land. The highest peak in Iran is Mount. Damavand (5610m) that is just 285m shorter than Kilimanjaro as the highest mountain in Africa. Alborz and Zagros are the two outstanding mountain ranges of Iran embracing hundreds of summits higher than 4000m. They also embrace over 20 high ski resorts with excellent snow conditions, great terrains, and amazing landscapes.  Avid skiers and snowboarders have this great chance to enjoy the well-groomed pistes of Iran ski resorts or seek for more adrenaline skiing through the steep slopes perfect for backcountry skiing.

go on a ski holiday to Iran as a great mountainous country

Iran is a mountainous country

Iran has high ski resorts

Iran’s high altitudes overshadow some of the highest ski resorts in the Alps. They enjoy the perfect snow condition and the best views of the Alborz and the Zagros Mountains. There are plenty of high altitude resorts and off-piste areas in Iran; therefore, you could ideally choose ski resorts that sit around 3000m or higher.

Tochal ski resort as the highest ski resort in Iran boasts slopes starting from an altitude of 3850m and ending at an altitude of 3550m.

Dizin Ski resort as the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran sits at an elevation of 2650m (8694 feet) in the Alborz Mountains.

Shemshak ski resort as a great mogul ski resort enjoys the high altitude of 3050m, and Darbandsar ski resort as a perfect place for backcountry skiing has pistes sitting at an altitude of 3150m.

Alvares ski resort, Sahand ski resort, Pooladkaf ski resort, and Yam ski resort are also the other high ski resorts in Iran offering easy areas with groomed terrains safe for on-piste skiing as well as fresh backcountry opportunities perfect for freeride skiing and snowboarding.

Iran enjoys the long ski season

Iran enjoys long ski season beginning in late November and ending in early May; however, it might last until the end of May or even June depending on the snow condition.

If you want to try the Persian powder, the best period for skiing in Iran is from early January to late March. Moreover, it is better to go skiing from Saturday through Wednesday to avoid crowded ski resorts as Iranian weekends are on Thursdays and Fridays. Iran’s best ski resorts are also overcrowded during the Nowruz, Iranian new year (March 19 to April 3).

Iran is a backcountry paradise

High- altitude ski resorts and untapped off-piste areas covered in light dry powder make Iran a backcountry paradise for adventurous skiers and snowboarders. Mount. Damavand, as the highest peak (5610m) in the Middle East and Iran, is one of the most thrilling off-piste skiing areas in the world. Moreover,  Iran will offer lesser-known ski resorts perfect for freeride skiing and snowboarding if you are confident in tackling black runs, moguls, and steep slopes. Since locals stick to the marked slopes, plenty of fresh tracks at ski resorts await free-riders. Dizin, Shemshak, and Darbandsar as the best ski resorts near Tehran have suburb off-piste areas accessed by lifts.

Damavand, Dena, Alamkuh, Zardkuh, and Binalood are also among the highest summits of Alborz and Zagros mountains and they will provide the most thrilling off-piste adventure experience in Iran. However, the best way to seek fresh powder, avoid avalanche risk, and ensure maximum safety is to ski with a professional guide who knows all about skiing in Iran. Since the rescue operation takes longer in Iran than in the Alps, be cautious and well-equipped to avoid breaking a leg when enjoying off-piste skiing in Iran.

Top reasons why you should skip the Alps and go on a ski holiday to Iran

Iran is a backcountry paradise for adventurous skiers and snowboarders

Iran has deep powder for skiing

Iran Mountains offer perfect powder rivaling that of the Rockies. Huge snowfalls through the winter turn Iran Mountains into the powder paradise. Skiing powder snow usually begins in January and ends in late March or April depending on the weather conditions.  Dizin ski resort and complex is one of the best ski resorts for skiing powder snow. That is the place where adventure lovers enjoy the super dry snow perfect for backcountry skiing.  Since locals prefer skiing within the groomed pistes, free-riders have the opportunity to enjoy the fresh snow and deep powder runs especially from Saturday through Wednesday when the pistes are mostly empty.

Iran is a cheap ski destination

Though skiing in the best of the Alps ski resorts would cost you a lot, it is still possible to ski on a budget and enjoy this exciting winter sport by choosing a different ski destination. Iran as a cheap ski destination will provide value for your money. While the prices of lift passes in many resorts are high, a lift pass will not cost you more than €30 a day in the best ski resorts of Iran. Renting skiing and snowboarding equipment such as goggles, boards, skis, helmets, technical clothes, and boots is also cheaper than that in the European ski resorts. One day rental for equipment packages varies from €20 to €50 depending on the type of equipment you are renting and how long you are renting it for.

Iran offers affordable ski hotels and chalets

You can always find budget-friendly hotels, hostels, apartments, and chalets in Iran. Booking standard hotels in the main cities will cost you about €30 per night while booking hostels will cost you approximately €8 to €15. Though booking hotels or renting apartments in cities far from ski resorts is more budget-friendly, you can still afford ski-in-ski-out hotels such as Dizin hotel and Shemshak hotel costing you 45 to 100 and enjoy watching the picturesque peaks of Alborz while spending the night in a mountainous area mostly covered with snow.

It also makes sense to rent chalets if you are traveling with a group of 6 to 16 people. Dizin ski chalets are located within a walking distance from the skiing area and they will cost the group €150 to €300 per night depending on the group size and the day of the week (chalets are more expensive during Iranian weekends).

There are also luxurious hotels for travelers whose priority is not the budget but the splendor of the lodging. Labeled as the coolest ski hotel in the world, Barin hotel is a stunning work of modern Iranian architecture. That is the right place for skiers and snowboarders to relax in the warm comfort of its cozy rooms and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Alborz Mountains.

Top reasons why you should skip the Alps and go on a ski holiday to Iran

Iran is a cheap ski destination

Iran has international ski resorts

The International Ski Federation has recognized Tochal, Dizin, Darbandsar, and Shemshak ski resorts suitable for hosting global competitions and international league championships. The ski resorts offer different runs for alpine, cross country, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding. That is why they annually welcome many adventurous skiers, snowboarders, and even non-skiers from around the world and let them enjoy various winter sports. However, Iran ski resorts are not confined to winter sports and they offer a variety of other activities. For instance, Dizin ski resort as a year-round recreation center hosts grass skiing competitions in summer.

Iran boasts high ski resorts near Tehran

Dizin, Shemshak, Darbandsar, Tochal, Khor, and Abali are the best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran, the capital of Iran. Fortunately, they are not off-the-radar resorts and it takes a maximum of three hours to get to the high ski resorts near Tehran.

Tochal ski resort as the highest ski resort in Iran is located right in the city and it takes about 15 minutes to get there from Tajrish square in the north of Tehran.

Dizin, Darbandsar, and Shemshak are the three neighboring ski resorts great for one-day ski trips. It takes less than three hours to get to each of the three neighboring ski resorts. Dizin, Shemshak, and Darbandsar are challenging enough for adrenaline-seeking skiers and snowboarders. Therefore, passionate skiers can enjoy deep snow and steep slopes while snowboarders can enjoy the bumpy mogul runs.

After a long day skiing on the slopes near the capital, you have enough time to visit Tehran as well. Dedicate one day (or more) to sightseeing in Tehran, because it has great palaces, museums, cafes, street foods, bazaars, parks, and mountains to entertain you for hours. Golestan palace- as the only UNESCO site in Tehran-, Museum of national jewelry, Iran archeological museum, Si-e-Tir street, Pol-e-Tabiat (nature bridge), Tajrish Bazaar, Tehran Grand Bazaar, Darband, and Darakeh are just some of the many attractions you would love to visit in Tehran.

Iran offers a different après-ski culture

After spending an exciting day hitting the slopes, it is time for a memorable après-ski experience. Though there are many Après-ski drinks, foods, and activities to enjoy in most of the alpine ski resorts, après-ski culture is a bit different in Iran.  Since drinking alcohol is forbidden, you should not drink wine or beer in Iran. Fortunately, Iran has a strong après- ski culture that is not limited to a drink or two after skiing and you will find many other activities and things to do instead.

go on a ski holiday to Iran and enjoy Iranian's apres-ski culture

Experience different après-ski culture in Iran

Many slope-side cafes and restaurants offer foods and drinks that take the chill out of your bones and warm you up from the inside. Ash (Persian thick soup), Adasi (Persian lentil soup), a cup of tea or coffee, and different kinds of Persian foods and fast foods whetting your appetite are some of the après- ski foods and drinks you could enjoy while appreciating the precious moments chatting with your Iranian friends.

Regarding your après-ski outfits, you can look fashionable just like any other place; however, do not forget to observe dressing codes in Iran. Relaxing in spas is another way to enjoy the pleasures of après-ski. For instance, Alvares ski resort is one of the largest ski resorts in Iran and it takes about 30- minute drive to reach Sarein spa where you could relieve muscle soreness after a day skiing on the slopes. Since ski resorts are mostly close to the main cities of Iran, you have this great chance to enjoy sightseeing as well. Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Yazd are the main Iranian cities to absorb you with fantastic UNESCO world heritage sites.

Iran is famous for Iranians’ hospitality

Travel to Iran not only to experience the thrill of the steep slopes but also to discover the remarkable hospitality Iranians are famous for. Iranians are among the most welcoming people on earth. It takes no effort to have a conversation with them and learn about their rich history, know their ideology, or hear their life stories. After skiing all day long, it is likely to be invited by your new Iranian friends to drink some tea or eat some Persian foods such as delicious Ghormeh Sabzi, scrumptious Fesenjoon, or Succulent kebabs and Joojeh Kebabs. The kindness of Iranians will enrich your Iran ski holiday experience and it will make you positively change your point of view. Once back home, you may also love to share your memorable experiences with your friends and families for encouraging them to visit Iran as well.

Ski in Iran and explore Iran’s culture and nature

Iran enjoys great historical and cultural heritage sites. It has 22 cultural sites and 2 natural sites registered by UNESCO. Since ski resorts are mainly close to the cities, it is easy to organize cultural visits to explore the cultural face of Iran as well.

The outstanding architecture of mosques and bazaars, delicious foods, picturesque nature, and friendly people are the attractions that you will enjoy when traveling to Iran.  Visit Persian gardens in Shiraz, wander around Naqsh-e-Jahan square in Isfahan, admire the awesome architecture of Jameh mosque in Yazd, and stroll around Golestan palace in Tehran to have an unforgettable trip to Iran.

While off the slopes you will experience an amazing culture, you have the chance to discover other exotic adventures as well. Rock climbing, ice climbing, desert trekking, canyoning, paragliding, and birdwatching are the adventurous activities you can enjoy to enrich your Iran travel experience.

Top reasons why you should skip the Alps and go on a ski holiday to Iran

Tehran has suburb off-piste areas accessed by lifts

Skiing in Iran in a nutshell

Ski holiday in Iran will give you a memorable experience of Iran’s highest ski resorts, off-piste areas, affordable ski-in/ski-out hotels, cozy mountain cafes, deep ravines, steep slopes, chest-deep powder, and cheap lift tickets. It has slopes higher than that of the most famous ski resorts and ski runs more challenging than the scariest ski runs in the world. Compared to the European ski destinations, Iran has less developed infrastructures; however, Iran ski resorts boast long ski season (late November-mid May) and untapped skiing areas. Skiing in Iran will also allow you to enjoy sightseeing and visiting UNESCO world heritage sites in Tehran and other main cities of Iran.

Whether you are a beginner or a passionate skier or snowboarder questing for backcountry skiing, Iran has various offers to delight you with a unique ski experience. If you wish to skip the Alps and ski in a lesser-known ski destination, all you need to do is to get your Iran visa and pack your bags to go travel to Iran.


Dizin ski resort, the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran

Dizin ski resort is the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran recognized by the International Ski Federation. Dizin ski resort offers different runs for alpine, cross country, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding. The resort is located 70 km north of Tehran and it has well-groomed terrain for newcomers, marked slopes for avid skiers and unmarked fresh tracks for free-ride skiers and snowboarders looking for ski touring in Iran. The appealing winter weather, a great number of sunny days, and the pleasant summer weather have made Dizin a perfect winter-summer resort in the Middle East. Here, you will find more about Dizin ski resort as one of the highest ski resorts located near Tehran, the vivid capital of Iran.

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Dizin International ski resort

Dizin ski resort was recognized by the international ski federation as a standard place for holding ski competitions and official tournaments. The resort was announced suitable for skiing in 1966; however, it officially started its operation from 1968. As one of the best ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran, Dizin international ski resort provides year-round recreation activities for passionate skiers, snowboarders, and non-skiers from around the world.

Dizin ski resort, the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran

The picturesque view of Mount. Damavand from the upper slopes of Dizin ski resort, Tehran (Photo by Ninara [CC BY 2.0])

Dizin ski resort elevation

Dizin sits at an elevation of 2650m (8694 feet) in the Alborz Mountains and has more than 20 ski pistes. 4 gondolas, 3 chairlifts, and 9 surface lifts make the slopes accessible for skiers and snowboarders. The highest lift reaches an altitude of 3600m ( 11,811 feet) which is much higher than many European and even North American ski lifts.  High altitude slopes of Dizin ski resort provide an incredible view of Mt. Damavand as the highest mountain in the Middle East. Dizin is also a good place for acclimatization before skiing on the slopes of Mount. Damavand.

Snow quality at Dizin ski resort

Perfect powder at Dizin ski resort reveals the snow quality and rivals that of Rocky mountain skiing areas. Since the snow is well retained and most of the lifts run, Dizin annually welcomes many skiers and snowboarders from around the world. It also allocates the biggest terrain area to skiing to make Dizin ski resort a perfect weekend ski destination, especially for the young Tehranis.

Dizin ski resort, the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran

Dizin ski resort, Iran (Photo By Ali Majdfar [CC BY-SA 2.5])

Off-piste skiing at Dizin

Dizin ski resort has the best variety of terrain and it boasts a maximum of 850m vertical drop. Though it is a piste-based skiing area and more Iranians prefer the groomed route, it has untapped steep slopes, deep powder snow, and off-piste tracks suitable for freeride snowboarders and skiers seeking for long runs and backcountry skiing experience. Dizin resort offers green, blue, black and double black diamond runs to exhilarate experienced skiers and boarders.  Moreover, one can hire ski instructors or experienced guides to reach off-piste skiing areas. To avoid risks, it is highly recommended that you attempt off-piste skiing along with qualified and well-equipped backcountry guides.

Ski season at Dizin ski resort

Dizin ski resort enjoys long ski season due to its high altitude. The highest lift reaches up to 3600m exceeding many of the Alpine resorts. As a result, the ski season lasts longer than that in European ski resorts. Dizin ski season typically starts from late November and ends in early May. However, for those who do not want to risk it, the safest time to plan ski vacation is in January and March. It might get too cold in Dizin, but it rarely hits the very low temperatures one might experience in some of the greatest ski destinations in the world.

Dizin ski resort, the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran

Dizin ski resort, Iran (Photo By Ali Majdfar [CC BY-SA 2.0])

Ski accommodation at Dizin ski resort

Hotels, chalets, restaurants, and parking lots are the amenities provided for the visitors’ comfort. Hotels in and around Dizin ski resort invite mountaineers, skiers, and snowboarders to shake the fatigue from their limbs and enjoy watching the picturesque peaks of Alborz.

Dizin Hotel as a ski in-ski out hotel is located within walking distance from the skiing area and it provides good facilities for skiers and snowboarders. Gajareh hotel is also a five-minute drive away from Dizin resort. For those skiers who prefer traveling on a budget, chalets are perfect. Since it takes a maximum of 3 hours to go back to Tehran, it is also possible to head back to Tehran and stay at one of the hotels or hostels that suits you best. Check Dizin ski resort website to find the price and availability of rooms and make the best room booking possible. The website also informs you of Dizin ski tours and lets you see Dizin ski resort map.

Dizin ski resort, the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran

Ski accommodation at Dizin ski resort, Iran (Photo By Ali Majdfar [CC BY-SA 2.0])

Ski rental at Dizin

If you do not have ski gear, it is possible to rent ski and snowboard equipment at Dizin. Though you cannot expect to find the latest skiing and snowboarding equipment, you can rent proper ski gear by paying a reasonable price.

Après-ski at Dizin ski resort

Après-ski culture in Iran ski resorts is different from other ski resorts in the world. Since drinking alcohol is forbidden in Iran, you cannot drink wine or beer. However, après-ski culture is still strong. Dizin ski complex has different restaurants in the area and on the piste. The restaurants offer a variety of foods to cater to your needs. Therefore, you can enjoy having many Après-ski drinks and foods and socializing with your new Iranian friends at Dizin restaurants.

Dizin ski resort, the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran

Après-ski at Dizin ski resort

Dizin snow forecast

Since Dizin ski resort is located high on the mountains, our advice is to check the weather before booking a tour to Dizin ski resort or making a plan to have a single day trip to Dizin as one of the best weekend ski resorts located so close to Tehran, the capital of Iran.

Summer activities at Dizin ski resort

As an international standard resort, Dizin complex is not limited to winter sports.  Dizin resort is a year-round recreation center offering various summer activities.  Grass skiing, tennis playing, mountain climbing, hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding are some of the summer activities at Dizin. In summer, Dizin turns into an important grass-ski center. In 2015, the grass skiing world cup was held on the summery slopes of Dizi ski resort and the international competitors coming from the best grass skiing countries in the world took part in the event.

Dizin ski resort, the first and the biggest ski resort in Iran

Enjoy long ski season at Dizin ski resort, Iran

How to get to Dizin?

Dizin is located approximately 123km north of Tehran from the Chalus road, and 70 km from Shemshak road that passes by Semshak and Darbansar ski resorts along the way. It is a shorter distance from Shemshak road; however, with the slightest snowfall the road is closed. Then, we suppose that it takes longer to reach Dizin via the old Chalus road. The best way up for tourists is to take a taxi from Tehran. There are taxis from Tajrish Square (Tajrish subway station) and it takes about 2 hours and a half -if not being stuck in a traffic jam- to get to Dizin winter and summer resort.

Dizin ski resort is an ideal place for winter sports, but it is not the only ski holiday destination around the capital. Shemshak, Darbandsar, Khor, Tochal, and Abali are also the other top ski resorts and off-piste skiing areas near Tehran.  The winter is getting closer and the peaks will start to whiten. So, it is time to skip the Alps and go on a ski holiday to Iran for skiing on the highest slopes of Iran, mostly located near Tehran.

Location map for Dizin ski resort

From: Tajrish Metro Station, Tehran

To: Dizin ski resort, Alborz