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Ski Afghanistan

$647
six left

Join us on the backcountry ski trip of a lifetime.  Ski the untouched powder of Afghanistan, in the remote and spectacular mountains of the Koh-e Baba range.

Running throughout January to March 2020, you can either join a group of four, six, or request tailored trips as a pair or individual. See below for full payment terms and conditions. 
 
The price for these trips start at £2680 ($3450) per person for group trips.  Deposit of £500 ($640) to reserve a space.
 
Any questions? 
Please email us: explore@ishkar.com

What?

A rare and pioneering week spent back-country skiing in Bamiyan, Afghanistan - one of the least-visited and most historic corners of the planet. Be guided around the remote and spectacular corners of the Koh-e Baba mountain range by one of Afghanistan’s national ski champions. 

This is a chance to meet inspiring people, ski untouched mountains and make your own mind up about what this fascinating country has to offer.

Where?

The Koh-e Baba mountain range lies across the way from the ancient mineral streaked Hindu Kush, soaring above the lowlands of Bamiyan, Afghanistan.   

When?

These are 10 day trips that will take place in January - March 2020.  Please contact us for further information, and understand which precise dates are available.

Who?

The trip is open to all keen skiiers.  You will need to be fit enough to walk up the mountains and have some experience of back-country skiing, but our guides will be on hand to give one-to-one tips and show you the routes through the mountains. You have the choice to join a group of 4-6 people, or organize even smaller private groups tailored to your needs.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

A non-refundable deposit of £500 ($640) will secure your place.  The total for the trip starts at £2680 ($3450). Prices are higher for groups of two or individuals. Contact us for more information. 
 
The second instalment of the balance needs to be cleared 60 days before departure. This will allow us time to ensure that all arrangements are confirmed in the country ahead of time.  

SKI AFGHANISTAN

This is a rare and exciting opportunity to have an adventure of a lifetime back-country skiing in Bamiyan, Afghanistan - one of the most beautiful, least-visited and historic corners of the planet. Afghanistan’s national ski champions will guide you to the most remote and spectacular corners of the Koh-e-Baba mountain range.  Say good-bye (for this year at least!) to overcrowded ski resorts, chair lifts and shops, and ski untouched powder in a part of the world that few even know is possible to travel to.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Untouched powder

Ski in untouched powder in the heart of Afghanistan's mountains, and experience what skiing was like in the days before ski resorts.

Bamiyan Buddhas

Explore the hundreds of caves which pockmark the cliffs next to the famous Buddha niches, and visit historic sites dating back to the times of Genghis Kahn.
(Photo courtesy of Neil Silverwood - www.neilsilverwood.com)

Pioneering routes

Discover new routes through the mountains, and create tracks where few have skiied before.

Personal guide

Have one of Afghanistan's national ski champions as your personal guide. Learn about his experiences establishing Afghanistan’s first ever ski club and training to qualify for the Winter Olympics.

'Apres-tea'

Sip tea at the end of the day whilst looking back and admiring your new tracks in the pristine snow.

OUR DESTINATION

Bamiyan on the map.
Bamiyan on the map.
Bamiyan lies between the ancient mineral streaked Hindu Kush mountains and the soaring sharp peaks of the Koh-e Baba. Bamiyan’s valleys are full of ancient ‘Qala’ - mud brick fortresses and crumbling ruins dating back to when Genghis Khan laid ruin to the region. Bamiyan is a safe and peaceful part of Afghanistan, populated by the Hazara people, viciously persecuted by the Taliban during their rule. We will be flying directly into Bamiyan avoiding the parts of Afghanistan which draw international headlines.

Ski with champions

Sajjad Husseini & Alishah Farhang

Explore the mountains of Afghanistan with one of the country’s ski pioneers - Sajjad Hussani and Alishah Farhang.  As national representatives for the sport, they are founding members of the Bamiyan Ski Club - Afghanistan’s first and only ski club.   

Enthusiastic about spreading their love for skiing in their home country, Alishah has also created the first ski lift, fashioning it out of a wheelbarrow, a rope and a motorcycle.  

For a glimpse of skiing in Bamiyan, watch the trailer for a new documentary about Sajjad and Alishah's attempt to qualify for the winter olympics.

(Courtesy of Daniel Etter and 'Where the Light Shines' https://www.wherethelightshines.film/  https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/where-the-light-shines/id1474253177)

Group travel at its best

People relax after completing the gruelling Afghan Ski Challenge.
People relax after completing the gruelling Afghan Ski Challenge.
One of the best things about going on an ISHKAR trip is the group of people with whom you travel. 

Our trips attract informed and adventurous people from all around the world. Some of you will be drawn by the prospect of skiing in the remote wilderness, others will be drawn by the chance to learn about a fascinating and poorly understood part of the world. What unites everyone is the same curious spirit and desire to get far away from the typical tourist tracks. 

We get to know everyone who applies to our trips over the phone. In this way we can curate groups guaranteed to enjoy sharing this extraordinary experience together. 

TRIP DETAILS

The price for these pioneering trips start at £2680 ($3450) per person on a group trip.  If you are interested in a more personal option, please feel free to get in contact with us to discuss more options.    A deposit of £500 ($640) is required in order to secure your place.
 
The trip includes five days of guided skiing inclusive of all food, travel and accommodation whilst in the country. Equipment is available to hire at an additional cost if required. We will be travelling with local people who know the region inside out providing access to areas rarely seen by tourists.    
  
These trips are expected to fill up fast.   
  
Email to apply now: explore@ishkar.com


TESTIMONIALS

You will be pioneering our first Ski trips to Afghanistan. However, here are some testimonials from members of our Bamiyan tour in September 2019:


A young boy tries his hand at skiing (Courtesy of Daniel Etter and 'Where the Light Shines' https://www.wherethelightshines.film/)
A young boy tries his hand at skiing (Courtesy of Daniel Etter and 'Where the Light Shines' https://www.wherethelightshines.film/)
The trip organisation and guiding was superb and I've certainly made some friends for life by sharing such a rich experience together.  Very highly recommended.
Glen Wilde, Entrepreneur
The podium for the gruelling Afghan Ski Challenge is brought in by donkey. (Photo courtesy of Bamiyan Ski Club)
The podium for the gruelling Afghan Ski Challenge is brought in by donkey. (Photo courtesy of Bamiyan Ski Club)
This trip ruled.
Nick Curran, Film-maker
People gather to watch the ski champions compete in the race. (Courtesy of Daniel Etter and 'Where the Light Shines' https://www.wherethelightshines.film/)
People gather to watch the ski champions compete in the race. (Courtesy of Daniel Etter and 'Where the Light Shines' https://www.wherethelightshines.film/)
Can't tell friends enough about our journey with ISHKAR in Afghanistan.  Would jump at going on another ISHKAR trip without hesitation.  If you are thinking about it, don't.  Just go.
Annette Widitz, Union Industrial Officer

FAQs

Is it safe in Bamiyan?   
  
Visiting Afghanistan is not like other travel destinations and we need to take extra precaution with security. We will be flying directly into Bamiyan, a stable and peaceful region, avoiding the parts of Afghanistan which draw international headlines. Whilst we want participants to have as much freedom as possible, our local guides have the final say if we need to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. If there is an extra expense incurred due to the change of itinerary then you may be asked to bear part of that cost. We take advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), but also from NGO’s working in the country, as well as local people.  

Do I need to be fit?     
   
Yes. There are no ski lifts in Afghanistan. This means that every day you will be walking up high mountains at an altitude of between 2500 and 3500m. While our deliberately small group sizes allows us to cater to less experienced skiers, this trip is really more suited to competent skiers who have had some experience in ski touring.    
   
Do I need ski equipment?   
 
No, ski equipment is available for hire locally, at an additional cost, however you are more than welcome to bring your own.   It is mandatory to carry avalanche kit including a transciever.  If you do not have your own, this can be hired with ease from the Bamiyan ski club on arrival.
   
Do I need to be an expert skiier?   
 
No. We can tailor the ski routes to your level, however we do recommend you have some experience skiing off-piste. That said you will be skiing in high mountains and in remote mountain valleys far from any villages, so you do not to be confident in your own capabilities. This skiing is a far cry from resorts in the Alps.  

Will we have a guide?    
   
Throughout the trip, you will be accompanied by an extremely competent local guide who speaks fluent English and knows the mountains like the back of his hand.  

Do the guides have formal qualifications?
Yes, they are qualified ski guides and have first aid and trauma qualifications specific to skiing.  Additionally they know the Koh-e Baba mountains extensively and therefore know the areas of risk and will ensure that all routes are well within your capabilities.

Do I need to have received avalanche training prior to departure?
No, although it would be beneficial if you do already have some understanding.  Your guides are qualified to give you training on arrival should you require it to make sure you are up to date.

Why travel with us?   
     
We are proposing a different new travel experience. With years of experience and a network of fantastic contacts, we want to show people Afghanistan we know. This trip will be about meeting inspiring people, visiting extraordinary places and experiencing a true adventure in one of the world’s most beautiful and yet least visited regions.   
   
The stories we see in the news about Afghanistan tend to have a single-minded focus on the conflict. While this violence is still a daily reality for many Afghans, there are also stories we rarely hear: tales of ancient history, rare wildlife and truly unique scenery. Tourism is not the answer to all of Afghanistan’s problems, but it can help a little. We want to put money directly into local pockets and encourage a sense of pride by treating Afghanistan as a desirable place to visit.  

    
Where can I see the exact itinerary?   
  
We are not publishing our itinerary online for security reasons. We will give further information about the itinerary to those of you travelling and a select few others. Please note that the exact itinerary is subject to change.   
  
What is included in the cost?   
  
The cost includes domestic flights (from Kabul - Bamiyan and back), all accommodation, guiding, transport/transfers in Afghanistan, breakfast, lunch and dinner, entrance fees. It does not include international flights into and out of Afghanistan, visa fees, insurance, equipment hire, excess luggage charges, cameras, alcohol, additional food and drinks, medical expenses, tipping.  
  
When do I need to book?    
  
As early as possible. We will be offering a few trips, with the option of booking as part of a group of 4 or as part of your own private trip. A deposit of £500 will secure your place and the final balance needs to be paid 60 days before departure. This is to allow us time to ensure that all arrangements are confirmed in the country.  
  
How easy is it to get a visa?   
  
Very easy. You will need to apply for a one-month tourist visa. We will advise you on how to do this.    
  
Do I need special travel insurance?   
  
You will be expected to have full travel insurance that covers the region and the snowsports in remote areas. If you are unsure if the policy covers you we can suggest the specialist insurance providers.  We use Battlefaceand highly recommend it. 
  
Will I be able to travel on my own?   
  
We will stay as a group for the duration of the trip. However, where possible we will break into smaller groups.   
  
Can I explore Kabul?   
  
We do not recommend travelling independently to Kabul. However, if this is something you are interested in do let us know so we can advise you on what to do/see and how to do it.   
  
Can I explore further into the mountains?  
 
Yes, for the intrepid we can organise an extended trip up to 4000m, to visit the frozen lakes in the high mountains. This additional add on, includes a stay in a local house in a nearby village and the chance to camp at altitude.  Please contact us for more information explore@ishkar.com .  
  
Do I need any vaccinations?   
  
We suggest confirming all boosters of Hepatitis A; Poliomyelitis; Tetanus; Typhoid and MMR. However, please also check with your doctor what you might need.   
  
What do I need to bring?   
  
We will send you a more detailed handbook before leaving, including recommended reading and clothing.  Ski equipment is available for hire locally, at an additional cost, however you are more than welcome to bring your own.  
  
Where will we be staying?   
  
We will be staying at a local hotel which is comfortable, warm and has Wifi. There will be an option of a shared and single room.    
  
Can I come on my own?   
  
Yes of course. Individuals and small groups are equally welcome. Personally, we also think this could be the perfect trip to experience with a friend, parent, child, or partner!  
  
What is the food like?   
  
All meals are included. Afghan food can be enjoyable and hearty, but we must warn you this is not the culinary capital of the world! There are vegetarian options in most places but please consult us if you have very specific dietary requirements.  
  
When do I need to book my flights?   
  
If you are thinking of applying please email us at explore@ishkar.com and we will send you the flights you need to book. We advise booking them as soon as you have confirmed your place on the trip.   
  
Can I book even if I don’t live in the UK?   
  
Yes of course. You will just need to arrive at Kabul airport in time to catch the domestic flight.   

Exploring the mountains of Koh-e Baba on skis (Photo courtesy of Neil Silverwood - www.neilsilverwood.com) 
Exploring the mountains of Koh-e Baba on skis (Photo courtesy of Neil Silverwood - www.neilsilverwood.com) 
The foothills of Koh-e Baba mountains whilst Daniel Etter filmed 'Where the Light Shines'
The foothills of Koh-e Baba mountains whilst Daniel Etter filmed 'Where the Light Shines'