Pictures | A ski festival brings hope of peace in Afghanistan

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It is not all bad news in Afghanistan. Away from the media glare, Afghans enjoy Bamyan’s powder snow as they burn some calories on skies and snowboards.

Afghanistan has its own winter adventures, and a ski festival is one of the most important ones. Known as the Winter Olympics in local vernacular, the festival not only hosts ski lovers but also the country’s national athletes. 

Less publicised in international media, young Afghans have developed a keen interest in winter sports – and they are experimenting with different types.

Away from the regional and global political dramas and far away from the hustle and bustle of Kabul city, the country’s winter sports athletes are in Bamyan this month. The province’s geography and climate are ideal for the sport and it provides the necessary security for them.

This year the winter games were organised by the Ski, Skate, Curling and Snowboarding Federations, with financial assistance from two private companies.
This year the winter games were organised by the Ski, Skate, Curling and Snowboarding Federations, with financial assistance from two private companies. (Courtesy of: RTA)
At least 150 male and female athletes were part of the games, representing Bamyan, Kabul, Panjsher and Maidan Shahr.
At least 150 male and female athletes were part of the games, representing Bamyan, Kabul, Panjsher and Maidan Shahr. (John Salangsang/Invision / Courtesy of: RTA)
Bamyan lacks man-made ski turfs, huts, lifts and gondolas. Yet the athletes are determined to trek up to high mountains and descend with great speed.
Bamyan lacks man-made ski turfs, huts, lifts and gondolas. Yet the athletes are determined to trek up to high mountains and descend with great speed. (Courtesy of: RTA)
New to the sports, these athletes started training with self-made skis and snowboards. But now they have the right gear to practise professionally and aim to compete in international games.
New to the sports, these athletes started training with self-made skis and snowboards. But now they have the right gear to practise professionally and aim to compete in international games. (Courtesy of: RTA)
The Afghanistan National Snowboard Team will take part in a snowboarding competition in Pakistan at the end of this month.
The Afghanistan National Snowboard Team will take part in a snowboarding competition in Pakistan at the end of this month. (Courtesy of: RTA)
Skiing in Afghanistan date back to the 1960s during the Zahir Shah’s reign.
Skiing in Afghanistan date back to the 1960s during the Zahir Shah’s reign. ()
The country’s tourism organisation established Afghanistan’s first ever skiing area at Chowk-e-Arghandabe. With the help of a German ski fan, the country’s only ski tow rope was installed in 1967.
The country’s tourism organisation established Afghanistan’s first ever skiing area at Chowk-e-Arghandabe. With the help of a German ski fan, the country’s only ski tow rope was installed in 1967. (Courtesy of: RTA)

Source: TRT World

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