In 2009, the Aga Khan Foundation came to Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Province with the idea of implanting a ski culture. Ample snow, 16,000-foot mountains and crushing poverty made it an intriguing prospect for economic development purposes.
Although still very much in fledgling form, snow sports are now beginning to take off. This week marked the one-year anniversary of the inaugural Afghan Ski Challenge, put on by Swiss ski journalist Christoph Zurcher (see video footage of 2011’s “competition” above).
It’s tough to say whether Zurcher will ever succeed in cultivating a commercial skiing industry. So far, he has brought in a small, but welcome, trickle of tourism dollars, a number of global publications have reported this week.
Listen to the story on Public Radio International.