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Ski Afghanistan – Bamian

Dates: 17th – 26th February 2017

Untamed Borders was the first company to run ski trips to Afghanistan. We will be back in 2017 for our 7th Afghan ski season, concentrating on skiing in the Bamian region of Central Afghanistan. Bamian now has a small ski rental shop set up by a local entrepreneur and has Afghan ski guides familiar with the mountains.

This trip will be led by an internationally certified mountain guide assisted by  local Afghan ski guides. Guests do not need any prior experience of ski touring and we know slopes suitable for all standards of skier. It is a chance to experience the incredible natural beauty of Afghanistan combined with skiing in one of the least visited regions in the world. We fly into Kabul and then we head to the beautiful and peaceful Bamian valley to ski in the Koh e Baba mountain range. We will also have time to visit the remains of the world’s largest standing Buddha statues that overlook the town and the ancient cities of Shah e Zohak and Shah e Golghola.

Afghanistan is a country slowly recovering from years of violence and neglect but it has always been a magnet for the intrepid. The rugged landscape, the ancient history crossed with tough yet incredibly hospitable people is an intoxicating mix. The chance to truly blaze a tourist trail is a rare opportunity.

Photo Gallery: Ski Afghanistan Flickr album
Date: £1700
Start Point: Kabul
End Point: Kabul
Maximum number of people: 10


Day 1 – Kabul
Friday 17th February 2017
Arrive in Kabul.
Briefing. Depending on time of arrival we will be able to arrange a city tour to some of Kabul’s more interesting sights such as the OMAR landmine museum, the ruins of Darulaman Palace and the Kabul Museum.

Day 2 – Kabul – Bamian
Saturday 18th February 2017
We fly from Kabul to Bamian – home of the Hazara people. The Hazara are a Shia minority who are ethnically related to the Mongols of Genghis Khan. They have suffered a great deal of persecution under a number of Afghan governments and only now have the opportunity to build schools and hospitals in their mountain homeland, the Hazarajat.

Days 3 to 8 – Bamian
Sunday 19th – Friday 24th February 2017
Following paths and routes explored during the past five winters we will ski the slopes of the Koh e Baba mountain range and enjoy the acres of powder on virgin routes. For the less experienced we will be working with local guides on fairly simple runs. For the more experienced we will enlist the help of a western qualified ski guide to find slopes deep in the Hindu Kush, some of which have never been skied before.
You might be met on the slopes by local men who want to join us skiing on their home made skis, assist in avalanche prevention and ski training programs or be invited in for tea by villagers. All part of the Ski Afghanistan experience.
As well as skiing we will be able to show you around the lively Bamian Bazaar, visit the remains of the giant Buddhas of Bamian, explore nearby Dragon Valley and summit Shah e Golghola (the City of Screams), left in the same state as when Genghis Khan sacked it 800 years ago.

Day 9 –  Bamian – Kabul
Saturday 25th February 2017
Fly back from Bamian to Kabul. Once in Kabul we will see any sights missed on the first day including Chicken Street and Babur’s Gardens.

Day 10 – Fly Home
Sunday 26th of February 2017
We will take you to the airport to catch your flight.
We suggest you take an afternoon flight to allow for some further sightseeing and last minute shopping in the morning.
You will be accompanied by an English speaking Afghan team leader for the entire trip and a qualified western ski guide whilst on the slopes.


The trip includes:

  • All accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch when skiing
  • All ground transport
  • Two internal flights (Kabul-Bamian / Bamian-Kabul)
  • Guiding

The trip does not include:

  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Flights to Afghanistan
  • Entrance fees
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Drinks
  • Tips
  • Ski equipment (Equipment is available to rent – please let us know in advance to ensure the correct sizes are available)

Cost – US$2650
A deposit of US$400 is required to reserve your place on this trip.
If you have any questions regarding this itinerary or about Afghanistan in general, please contact us. If you are ready to book this trip, please go to the booking form.

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Afghanistan. We can suggest routes and operators.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966
If you are bringing skis then please ensure that the carrier will take skis.
If you do want to extend your trip in Afghanistan either before or after this one please contact us for arranging something or simply for advice and suggestions.

Visas:
We do not arrange Afghanistan visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of letters of invitation to assist in your Afghanistan visa application.
If you are based in the UK or Australia then we can recommend using The Visa Machine as a visa agent.
Visit the Untamed Borders page at their website – untamedborders.thevisamachine.com.

Food:
We provide breakfast every day and lunch when skiing. We know plenty of places in Kabul and Bamian. From traditional tea houses serving kebabs and huge Afghan naan bread to International Restaurants at International prices. When there is an option, we let you make the choice of how much you want to spend.

Difficulty/comfort:
Difficulty – This is a ski touring trip, so you will need to be fit enough to walk up the mountain. You don’t need to be an expert skier, but you have to be confident and possess the basic skills.
Comfort – There is some level comfort. The rooms have en suite bathrooms and some times in the day there is hot water, not the entire day.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards and costs in Kabul cannot be compared to a guesthouse in Bamian. We consider comfort, location, design, character, security, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room.

Transport:
Unless the group is very small we take 2 vehicles for safety when driving between towns and to the ski areas. If there is a breakdown we will not be left stranded. When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel (not a laughing matter in a country that should be the setting for a live action version of the Wacky races). Your comfort and enjoyment of the journey is the first priority.

Equipment:
Surprisingly, Bamian now has a fairly well stocked ski rental shop. We advise that guests bring their own equipment but it will be possible to rent equipment if necessary. Just let us know your sizes in advance to ensure there are no problems on arrival.
A full list of recommended equipment will be given nearer the time.
We are also committed to developing responsible tourism within Afghanistan. With that in mind we ask that if guests have any old equipment that they bring it to help with the rebirth of Afghanistan’s ski culture.

Guides:
You will be accompanied by an experienced English speaking Afghan guide for the duration of the trip.
Sometimes we also provide an extra local guide. If we are a large group, we may wish to split into smaller groups for city tours to allow greater flexibility and keep a lower profile. An extra local guide enables us to do that.
In Bamian we will be guided on the slopes by a western qualified ski guide as well as the locally trained Afghan guides.

Security:
Trips to Afghanistan 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 Afghanistan, areas away from the roads do have a risk of landmines although the areas we will be taking you to ski have been cleared and the runs have been tested.As with off-piste skiing in the rest of the world there is a small but serious avalanche risk.