Shemshak is the second largest ski area in Iran after Dizin and came into operation in 1958. It includes two ski lifts, three dish teleskis and two Hammer teleskis. The slopes lie at an altitude of 2550 m to 3050 m above sea level. The resort includes two main slopes each with a chair lift that apex at the top and several lifts. There are also lighting facilities for night skiing.
Shemshak has catered to more advanced skiers while Dizin has drawn beginner and intermediate skiers. The slopes are quite steep and many of the runs are mogul runs.
Shemshak is about 55 minutes drive from Tehran, 10 km from middle-slope parking of Dizin, and 5 km from Darband-Sar ski resort.
If you are only skiing for the day, ensure that the taxi driver takes you all the way to the ski hire shops near the entrance (as the main road is quite steep). Look out for the Super Star burger outlet, about 100 m down from the ski field entrance.
There are rumors of public transport (savaris and minibuses), although these do not seem to depart from Tehran's Eastern Bus Terminal as suggested by the most recent edition of the Iran Lonely Planet. A knowledgeable young local may be able to assist.
Shemshak is compact enough to get around on foot, although the main village road is a little steep and can get covered in ice and mud. Good footwear is advised.
You're obviously here for the snow, right? Shemshak is far less crowded than Dizin, although is smaller and caters more to more advanced skiers (and some snowboarders).
Trail maps seem rather scarce, although a number of websites have produced their own (see, for example, snow-forecast.com).
Skis, boots and poles are available. Quality varies widely, so it pays to look around first. Surprisingly, the smaller rental operators closest to the main entrance seem to have better equipment and prices.
Options are fairly limited, although there are "Boof" and "Super Star" fast food outlets. They are along the main road that passes the main entrance of the ski field.
A small bakery is located between these two fast food outlets, although it tends to only operate until around the early afternoon.
Alcohol is illegal in Iran, so a crowded tea den constitutes the extent of the public après ski scene.
However, your experience may vary considerably if you are staying in Shemshak for a while and meet some younger Iranians.
- Sierra Shemshak, Shemshak (Downtown). 07:00-24:00. Sierra Shemshak is a commercial and residential complex beneath the ski resort. They offer fast food and a gourmet restaurant and cafe on the third floor with a beautiful balcony. It's great for both winters and summers.
There is only one official hotel in Shemshak:
- Shemshak ITTIC Inn (The Shemshak Hotel), Fasham Rood Bar Ghasran (Located along the main road from the ski field, about 400m downhill and up a set of icy steps), ☎ , , fax: . Check-out: 14:00. The hotel has a range of rooms from comfortable singles and twins to more expensive "suites". Bathrooms are clean and equipped with Western-style toilets. Prices may be somewhat negotiable in quieter times, but bookings are advised, especially if you intend to secure one of the only two single rooms. The hotel's service seems to vary depending on who is on duty.
Some travel guides also discuss the possibility of apartment rental in Shemshak. Given the large number of apartments (completed or under construction) this would be a better option for larger groups. Local agents do not seem to advertise, although reputable travel agents in Tehran may be able to assist.
- Sierra Shemshak. After a long day of hiking and a nice meal on the balcony at the Balcony, it is hard to leave the peace and quite for smog and traffic. Sometimes the owners of the residential units are willing to rent out their units. Call +98 21 265-27676 and ask them if anyone has a furnished unit for rent.
A few taxis will hopefully loiter at the ski field entrance at around 15:00, although be prepared to bargain hard (you are effectively captive purchser after all). With some luck, you may befriend some of the locals and find someone going back to Tehran that afternoon.
Further 15 minutes up the road you reach the top of the slopes of the ski resort in Dizin.