Black Diamond | Sajjad Husseini wins 3rd Afghan Ski Challange

Posted on 21/03/2013 · Posted in Black Diamond

 Sajjad Husseini wins 3rd Afghan Ski Challenge 2013

 Despite the general negative outlook in Afghanistan one province has been bucking the trend and recently ran the third edition of it’s annual ski touring challenge which was won by Athlete Sajjad Husseini.

Four years ago the people of the peaceful Bamian province in Central Afghanistan had never heard of skiing but a combination of the Aga Khan Foundation – a development organisation, Christoph Zuercher – A Swiss journalists who founded the Afghan Ski Challenge and Untamed Borders – A UK adventure travel company have introduced ski touring to the province.

The Aga Khan Foundation runs a program that teaches the basics of skiing as well as avalanche detection and rescue training. They have also trained a small number of guides, including Sajjad, who can take international visitors and ex-pats from Kabul skiing in Bamian province. Sajjad and the rest of the guides were given Black Diamond probes, tranceivers and shovels to ensure they keep their clients safe and can use their skills to educate villagers in remote valleys on how to spot the signs of impending avalanches.

The focal point of the ski season is the Afghan Ski Challenge. It is a classic ski touring race that includes “skinning up” a long ridge before skiing down to the finish. The combination of fitness, altitude acclimatisation as well as skiing ability mean it is a good competition which has only ever been won by local Afghan skiers.

Sajjad completed the course in 28 minutes, with the last foreign competitor coming in over two hours later. Sajjad received a commendation from the Governor Sarobi – the first female provincial governor in Afghanistan’s history and has hardly stopped smiling since his win.

Black Diamond in cooperation with Gear4guides is proud to support the ski guides of Bamian. Ensuring they have good avalanche rescue equipment to helping them to have a safe an fun future for a poor remote province deep in the Hindu Kush.

Afghan ski guides practicing with their new Black Diamond Gear: