When you think of skiing, at least if you’re in Europe, your mind will often wander to resorts in the Alps or the Pyrénées. France and Switzerland are perhaps your first thought, or maybe Italy, Austria or Germany. But how about Iran? Iran, almost assuredly, was not one of your first thoughts for a place to ski. No surprises there, as it does not have a storied history of skiing. But that is exactly where Sébastien Baritussio and his friend, David Alzieu, have headed in their pursuit of fresh snow and new adventures.
Baritussio is a French adventurer and photographer, while Alzieu is a French professional freeride skier. Here on The Lab, Baritussio is providing an update on their trip, with the second instalment of his travel stories; he discusses arriving in Iran and being hopeful of adventure. You can find the first part here.
This is my first live update from Iran! So far, it has been exciting to be in a totally new environment, and everyone has been so welcoming.
We landed in Tehran in the middle of the night, successfully passed the visa requirements, and then jostled to find our local contact in a city with 15 million people inhabitants. Then we fought in extremely long traffic jams, but, after a while, there, in the distance, we finally caught a glimpse of what we had been dreaming of: snowy peaks, piercing the horizon. Suddenly we could see our goal and the rest of the journey seemed easier.
But then we had an unfortunate setback. As we were getting ready on our first day, a snowstorm hit, and raged on for two whole days. While this did mean we would have plenty of fresh powder snow to enjoy when the storm finally died down, it was frustrating to wait for so long. We had travelled a long time and were now stuck waiting for the snow to stop falling.
Although, the time spent not skiing meant we were free to meet the locals and explore the area. We were living in a tiny village, a few kilometres from the Dizin ski resort, at some 2,400 metres altitude. We quickly became friends with the local population, including ski workers and patrolmen. We even met some athletes from the Iranian national ski touring team and also the junior alpine skiing team.
We found it incredibly easy to make friends here. There is a bit of a language difference, but often that just makes exchanges funnier as communication still begins naturally.
Finally, at long last, we could strap on skis and boards and hit the slopes. The sun showed up, increasing visibility, and the fresh Iranian powder was amazing. Seen on the faces of David and me that day: large grins. We look forward to exploring more of what Mount Damavand and Iran have to offer, and will bring you more in the next post.
Stay tuned for our final update, coming to you when we have returned from this trip!
On this trip Baritussio and Alzieu are equipped with a SpidoSpeed Anthracite DLC and the Rock, LW’s digital ski instrument. When they are not writing for The Lab, you can follow Baritussio on his website and Instagram account, and Alzieu on his website here.