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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Afghanistan

  • Holiday bookings suffered a major blow after a Taliban attack destroyed the area's only tourist hotel. But after Swat was recaptured from the Taliban last year, the government made strides in restoring the resort to its former glory.
  • Once known as the Switzerland of Asia, Pakistan's restive Swat Valley is today better known for battles between Taliban militants and Pakistani security forces. Reporters Without Borders calls it the "Valley of Fear."
  • A seven-day ski competition funded by Norway just ended in the Malam Jaba area. The Norwegian ambassador to Pakistan was even in attendance. Some 8,000 skiers and ski fans turned out.
  • Iran may be facing deepening isolation over its nuclear program, but on the slopes outside Tehran, skiers shrug off suggestions of an escalating crisis. Here, a snowboarder navigates the slopes in Shemshak, 50 kilometers northeast of Tehran.
  • Escaping the capital's smog and urban sprawl, well-off Iranians flock to the country's main winter resort of Dizin to enjoy near-perfect skiing conditions at one of the world's highest ski resorts.
  • Best known for its historic Buddha statues, which were destroyed by the Taliban 10 years ago, Afghanistan's Bamiyan Province has a fresh attraction it hopes will draw in tourists.
  • Traveling to the slopes in Bamiyan is a risky business due to the security situation, although the central Afghan province itself, around 130 kilometers west of Kabul, is relatively safe.
  • Not to be outdone, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (above) is trying to get in on the act. It's just been announced that Russia's Vneshekonombank plans to invest $345 million to build a luxury ski resort in the volatile North Caucasus republic.
  • The resort should be built in the village of Veduchi at an altitude of 1,800 meters. (That's Veduchi's Mt. Diklo-Lam above.) The resort will boast a number of elite hotels, chalets, and even a helipad.

Dangerous Downhills: Ski Resorts You'll Never Visit

Published 14 March 2012

Planning your next ski vacation? Feeling adventurous? Don't let a little unrest get in the way of your rest and relaxation. As it turns out Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and (soon) Chechnya offer offbeat getaways for those unafraid of a little risk while on the piste.


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