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27th February 2012
The 7km Afghan Ski Challenge is due to take place in early March in Bamiyan's Koh-e-Baba Mountain Range
The Afghan Ski Challenge is a 7km downhill race over ungroomed and powdered slopes that traverse the frozen Band-e-Amir Lake and mountains as high up as 5,000m. Located approximately 180km west of the capital city Kabul, the second free-ride ski race is set to commence on 2 March 2012.
The race was set up last year to promote skiing and tourism in the Bamiyan Province and was founded by the region's first ski club – the Bamiyan Ski Club. The first race in 2011 saw only ten local competitors; this year will see a number of international contenders too.
Entrants must contribute $500 with the exception of Afghan Nationals who can compete for free. The proceeds will support the promotion of skiing and education projects in the Bamiyan region.
Unburdened by the war since 2001, Bamiyan is the first province in Afghanistan with a tourist board. The board is encouraging winter ski tourism as well as summer activities in the national park.
Guest houses are popping up in the region although facilities remain basic; there is no mountain rescue service nor avalanche warning systems and local medical facilities are basic. Mobile phone service is also intermittent.
Last week on the myWanderlust forum a debate developed from one member asking whether it's OK to recommend places which may be deemed as dangerous to other travellers. Let us know what you think on the forum
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Also known as 'Wacky Races on Ice'...
Afghanistan travel guide, including map of Afghanistan, Afghanistan travel advice and when to go to Afghanistan
Half a century after Eric Newby wrote the definitive Afghanistan travel book, Lianne Gutcher visits the Panjshir Valley to meet his local sidekick
Visitor numbers to Afghanistan have increased by 100% compared to last year
Foreign and local climbers have recently scaled Afghanistan's highest mountain. Could this be the beginning of a tourism revival?
Afghanistan's first national park in Band-e-Amir, is already attracting 2,000 visitors each weekend, three years before it even becomes official
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