An unusual sports event is taking place next month in the beautiful mountains surrounding the Bamiyan valley in the second Afghan Ski Challenge. Anything but a regular ski touring race, the aim is to bring the joy of skiing to a region that is suffering from decades of war and the destruction of its world famous cultural monuments.
Arc'teryx is proud to support the second Afghan Ski Challenge.
Bamiyan, once known worldwide for its giant Buddha statues, is now a poor region in Afghanistan - despite its unspoiled nature and mountains as high as 5000 m. It has been untouched by the war since 2001, still, after the destruction of the antique statues, the amount of tourists visiting shrank from 150,000 year to almost none.
Thanks to the northern exposition and a very dry climate, it offers perfect skiing conditions. Last year, a small team formed from employees at Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper and local ski enthusiasts from Afghanistan decided to found the Bamiyan Ski Club and launch the first Afghan Ski Challenge - a backcountry ski touring race in the remote Bamiyan region.
Without working mobile phones or mountain rescue facilities, with poor medical facilities and very rustic accommodation, ten local participants learned how to ski and competed in the race. This year, it will be the first race with international competitors. Non-locals are required to pay an entry fee of $500, which is donated to local sports and educational projects in Afghanistan.
Arc'teryx is happy to be one of the main supporters of this event that brings some sports spirit into a battered region. "150 years ago, the British brought skiing to Switzerland. Now the Swiss bring skiing to Afghanistan."
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