The Middle East, in spite of unusual indoor places like Ski Dubai is not exactly on the main track of international ski sites and resorts like Cortina in Italy or Aspen. But the Middle East has some stunning and relatively unknown locations worth hitting. Ever think about skiing Iran? Or sliding down slopes in Lebanon?
Historically, however, ski resorts in countries like Iran, Mzaar Kfardebian in the mountains of Lebanon; and numerous sites in Turkey and Iran are great locations for skiing. One new website brings it all together.
Up to now, no one platform information site has been available for comprehensive data on ski resorts, weather and snow forecast and snow- cover information; as well as information on ski professionals (ski / snowboard instructors, mountain guides) ski schools, restaurants, hotels and other businesses connected with skiing.
Meet David Bloch and his Natural Born Skier ski resort website.
Bloch, 40, was literally born on skis: “My parents met on the ski slopes of the Alps, and I wore my first set of skis at age one,” says Bloch, who has competed in Alpine and Telemark or “free heel” skiing for over 10 years on the World Cup circuit.
A passionate lover of the outdoors and its environment, with a MSc Degree in Environmental Studies, Bloch decided to put together a comprehensive skiing information web site in 2007: and established his company, Natural Born Skier, in Sion, Valais in the heart of the Swiss Alps.
“Natural Born skier bares the fruit of over five years of ideas, implementations, programming, research and development on all aspects involving skiing” says Bloch.
The website Bornskier.com was officially launched during a trade-show in Munich, Germany, on January 26, 2014. Although still a “work in progress” bornskier.com already has data on more than 4,400 ski resorts worldwide. This includes ski slopes and resorts in the Middle East and nearby locations like Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan is very interested in developing its ski resorts, located in the Caucasus Mountains north of the capital, Baku,” he tells Green Prophet: “They have mountain summits as high as 4,480 meters there,” says Bloch.
In addition, nearby Iran (would you know!) has about 20 ski resorts scattered over its mountain ranges; including several near the capital, Teheran. Bloch hopes to have the website completed by mid Spring.
For people with special needs Born skier gives data on locations and ski instructors most suited for those suffering from various physical impairments, including the blind, hemophilia, the obese, cancer patients and other serious diseases, as well as physical and mental handicaps: “It’s most important to match a ski instructor to suit a person’s disability, as well as having medical facilities available to deal with these people,” Bloch says.
The environmental aspect of skiing is very important to Bloch as natural ski slopes are often situated in very picturesque mountain locations: “The situation of ski lifts can greatly affect the natural beauty of a mountain location.
“I have skied in places like New Zealand where skiers are taken to the top of the ski slopes in helicopters so as to disturb the environment as little as possible,” Bloch adds.
The use of mechanical snow machines is also an issue, as more and more ski resorts use them due to global warming. “Mechanical snow machines create a different snow mixture than occurs naturally. This often results in increased soil erosion,” he adds.
Read more on skiing issues in the Middle East:
Ski slope photos courtesy of Natural Born Skier