From flavours, colours and spices, to images of rich culture and history, how would you ordinarily associate the Middle East? Perhaps not thoughts of powder and perfect piste?
In our series, "A Winters Dream" we have re-discovered resorts in the EU and North Americas for their powder possibilities. But now we look too far away lands, curious lands, that will bring with them a chance for real adventure, exploration and creation.
Mzaar Kfardebian, Lebanon
Home to the new Freeride World Qualifier stop "Ride For Peace", Lebanon is slowly becoming synonymous with mystery and magic freeride. With a max elevation up to 2465, Mzaar can easily compete with its European brothers for snow-sure high-level slopes not to mention it's 20 chairlifts, 50 runs and 8,000 acres of terrain. With Beruit being only about an hour away, connections and transport relatively stress free. The infrastructure in the area makes tourism possible and you can find everything you need for an amazing holiday. Take your touring gear and skin up to sort out the new and exciting terrain. Head to the Mzaar tourism website for more info on how to book
Korek Mountain Resort, Kurdistan Iraq
A unique adventure, like nothing you have ever experienced, skiing in Kurdistan, beyond the crowds and the normal "mountain vibe" you associate with the Alps, for example, Korek small but quaint mountain resort will surprise you at every turn. With only a very small amount of piste accessed by a 3.7km cable car, this is an adventure for people to are happy to earn their turns. Discover new parts of the mountain that perhaps even the locals haven't with your touring gear. Head to the resort website for more info
Mt. Uludag, Turkey
Rising to 2,543 meters, Uludag is Turkey’s most famous ski resort. Accessible from the Capital Istanbul (Worth a visit while you are around), Mt. Uludag, part of the Uludag National Park, a region of stunning natural beauty, wildlife and national heritage. The resort offers a variety of accommodations, shops bars and restaurants and is very well accessed. Where mythology meets riding, Mt. Uludag has a great snow track record. Bring your powder board and skis and discover for yourself. Head to this link for more info
Float through powder few have ridden before, where few tourists have been but is slowly being discovered by intrepid travelers, those with a thirst for adventure and a discovery of the unknown. Bamyan is Afghanistan's first proper ski resort and we are over the moon it is gaining the notoriety it deserves. The area is getting the helps it deserves to allow riders to experience the mountain. The locals are incredibly friendly and very curious about the madness of backcountry riding, for the avid travelers among us, Bamyan must be skied to be believed.
From desert climbs to the high mountain peaks, Iran is home to a handful of amazing ski resorts, Dizin being one of them. With 70km of piste and plenty of slack and backcountry to discover, Dizin comes in firmly on our Middle Eastern hitlist for places to ride. Just an hour from Tehran, the mountain is well groomed, the terrain is challenging, the locals friendly and the vibe- well, totally awesome. Dizin has plenty of places to eat, drink, sleep and wind down plus steep and snow sure, what more do you need to know! Click this link to find out more
E voila, just 5 suggestions for riding in the Middle East, literally some of the globes best kept secret spots, a chance for riders to experience something out of the ordinary, push yourself and get out of your comfort zone. As much as we LOVE to ride in the Alps for example, its healthy to visit new places, perhaps resorts that don't even have the infrastructure to be called resorts; places that value your custom greatly, home to locals that are excited to meet people skiers and boarders and talk to riders about these embracing sports. Get packed, get booking (not to mention you get so much more bang for your buck in the middle east) and get on that plane to a faraway place.