Adventure travel company Untamed Borders took the first commercial overseas tour group to ski in Iraq in January, the Guardian reported today.
Six skiers paid $2,400 to travel to Mount Halgurd in Iraqi Kurdistan to ski in a resort that is only a three hour drive from Mosul – where Iraqi forces are currently leading an operation to drive Daesh out of the city – and 500 kilometres north of Baghdad.
The group skied Choman, Korek Mountain and Mount Halgurd, visited Penjwen and stayed with a local family. Untamed Borders have also organised tours to Uzbekistan, Somalia and Afghanistan.
Speaking to the Guardian, James Willcox, co-founder of the company, said: “You have all the usual issues of skiing, but also need to avoid landmines, and unexploded ordnance from the 1980s near the Iraq-Iran border.”
“You can’t get too close. But we work with local partners, guides in the area who know this, who know the areas you can’t ski for various reasons. We also use GPS, so if there’s a whiteout you don’t stray from where you’re meant to go.”