Highs and lows of skiing in Iran

Just an hour’s drive into the Alborz range, which fringes Iran’s capital Tehran, life seems a world away from the traffic jams and pollution of the capital and its day-time population of 12 million people.

“This is the only place you can find happiness, freedom and so much energy,” said Maria, a 26-year-old university student who, like many Iranians wary of government attention, declined to give her surname.

Maria would come to Shemshak, one of a handful of resorts near Tehran, every week if she could afford the $24 daily ski pass – a relatively cheap ticket by European standards but a considerable expense in a country where many people earn just a few hundred dollars a month.

Dressed in expensive ski gear and designer shades, young Iranians still believe it is a price worth paying, seeing the sport as a way to mingle with the opposite sex.

Vahid, a 29-year-old student skiing with his girlfriend said this is the only place he comes “to escape the limitations imposed on young people in Iran”.

Segregation of sexes, from beaches to schoolrooms to public buses, has increased since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution when many ski resorts were also closed for being un-Islamic.

When the slopes were reopened in the 1990s, skiers had to adopt strict Islamic rules. “There is no sign of those restrictions these days,” said Vahid, pointing to a group of girls laughing as they waited for the chair lift,… >>>

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Iranian Singles

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Meet your Persian Love Today!
Meet your Persian Love Today!