Afghan Ski Challenge 2013
Two hundred and thirty kilometers northwest of Kabul, and 2,500 meters above sea level sits Bamiyan, a high mountain village, host to the third annual Afghan Ski Challenge. This is a ski touring race that brings together local and international athletes to promote tourism in the war-afflicted region. As an equipment sponsor, we are looking forward to providing all participants with weatherproof shells to manage the course's challenging weather conditions.
Bamiyan, world renowned for its thousand-year-old statues of Buddha, was once a hot spot for tourists following the silk route. Although it is not directly in the war zone, the number of tourists visiting the area has fallen from previous levels due to the destruction of the statues and other cultural attractions. It is however a hidden mecca for ski touring – untracked mountains ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 meters with plenty of accessible northern exposures and a very dry climate – the perfect conditions for powder snow and backcountry skiing.
Three years ago, a small group of Afghan ski enthusiasts (Aga Kahn Foundation) and employees of a Swiss newspaper (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) founded the Bamiyan Ski Club and organized a small, local ski touring race. Thus, the Afghan Ski Challenge was born, taking athletes through the Koh-e-Baba Mountains in central Afghanistan. Local participants train in a recently founded ski school led by a Swiss ski instructor and a mountain guide. We'd like to extend our congratulations to all participants in this growing community.