weekend away - Dizin
Written by Brian Johnston
Deep in the Alborz Mountains north of Tehran, Dizin is Iran’s premier ski destination, a high-altitude resort known for its glorious powder snow and extended ski season.
Iran’s best-known and largest ski resort is one of the world’s highest, sitting at 2,650m above sea level, and with its top lift reaching 3,600m. This gives it abundant snow – an average of 2m at its base – and a long ski season often extending into May, perfect for powder hounds suffering withdrawal symptoms after the close of the European season. Its altitude also gives Dizin spectacular scenery of seemingly endless mountain ranges and the dramatic peak of the semi-active Mt Damavand volcano.
Established in 1969, Dizin features the purpose-built concrete buildings of 1960s ski resorts, which provide a plentiful supply of rental apartments and chalets, as well as two major hotels. At weekends, wealthy Tehranians flock here, as much to sit in the cafés and flaunt their latest designer winter wear as to ski.
The resort features three main gondolas and a host of smaller lifts that link over 20 runs. The absence of trees and the wide, interconnected, and relatively gentle slopes make this an ideal resort for beginner and intermediate skiers. A ski school of some 80 instructors is on hand for those wanting to perfect their skiing or snowboarding technique, and several rental shops in the village provide clothing and equipment for those who arrive without.
Incidentally, skiing in Dizin isn’t confined to the winter months. It’s a notable grass-skiing venue in summer, and has hosted international grass-skiing competitions.
Qatar Airways has two flights a day from Doha to Tehran
Dizin is 124km from Tehran on the recommended route, the Chalus Road via Karaj. A quicker route (72km), often used by day-trippers, heads along Shemshak Road via the smaller ski resort of Shemshak, but is often closed by rock slides or snow. Check conditions and the weather forecast before departure.